It might be a little bragging to call us a group of veteran journalists. After all, many of us have only a couple of years’ experience in the field. Nevertheless, I somehow felt I had the heart of an old journalist, and I could sense it in many of my SUSI teammates.
Evidence? During the first week’s lectures and discussions about trusted news and media literacy, we were lamenting the declining trust and respect for the profession, complaining about the underpaid condition of young journalists, competing with each other over the adverse social and political conditions in which our reporters are working, and struggling hopelessly to seek a remedy from one another’s experience.
On the contrary, Dr. Kristy Roschke, our first week’s session leader, is much more energetic and optimistic. She and her colleagues have been trying very hard to explore innovative ways to restore people’s trust and respect for serious journalism. Calling the professional community to shoulder the responsibility of news literacy education, show the public their best practices and to enhance transparency and trust, Kristy helped us to see new possibilities and also skills for actual application.
During the morning session on Friday, we reviewed what had been learned and discussed in the past days. Many shared their takeaways, reflections and also doubts. Facing our hesitation and anxiety, Kristy used the metaphor of Harry Potter’s fight against Voldemort to depict the challenges global journalists are facing now. And she said the SUSI scholars here in Phoenix should probably have the determination and courage as the Order of the Phoenix to bring back value for truth and justice. Although we did not have all the solutions, Kristy’s concluding remark was inspiring: her enthusiasm and faith touched her audience.
There was one more important moment worth remembering: First Friday night. Thanks to the advice of Dawn and Alma, we went to the First Friday Art Walk in downtown Phoenix. We mingled with numerous artists, young performers and residents, wondering how come the empty streets had suddenly become so crowded and lively. Phoenix showed us a different spirit of arts and life. Luckily we are here in this first week of June. Cheers, dear friends!