Ryan Macleod – 1851 Staff
Students from Professor Marie Franklin’s journalism and media ethics classes spent an afternoon at the New England Newspaper and Press Association’s annual convention in Natick on October 9. The convention included panel discussions on social media in the newsroom, relationships between the police and the press, and a live interview of Phil Balboni, the Co-Founder and CEO of GlobalPost, employer of beheaded journalist James Foley.
The first panel, Social Media in the Newsroom, was moderated by Anne Brennan, the Digital Editor of the Cape Cod Times. She discussed the Boston Marathon Bombing with panel member Adrienne Lavidor-Berman, the Social Media Editor of the Boston Globe.
“We spent a long time getting our newsroom comfortable with social media, so when a catastrophe happened we were able to cover it,” said Lavidor-Berman.
The Boston Globe had many staff members either running the marathon or at the finish line when the bombs exploded. Lavidor-Berman said their tweets were made into a live blog that constantly updated the website, providing up-to-the-second coverage of what was happening in Boston.
The second panel, Police and the Press, featured Deputy Police Chief Stephen Xiarhos of the Yarmouth Police Department. Xiarhos was vocal on his opinions on how the press and the police’s relationship should be.
“Come out with what you can and build relationships,” said Xiarhos. He also said, “When we make a mistake come after us,” citing when police withhold information from the public.
Xiarhos further discussed the controversial topic of police brutality and the videos that are posted and shared around the Internet. “It looks horrible to hit, tase, or shoot someone but we can do it if deemed necessary,” said Xiarhos.
After the convention Cristobal Martinez, senior, said, “I liked the Police and the Press panel. It showed how police officers conduct business and relate to the press and public.”
The final panel was a live interview conducted by Bill Cole of the Associated Press with Phil Balboni, the Co-Founder and CEO of GlobalPost. The interview focused on James Foley, the recently deceased journalist who was beheaded on camera by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, more commonly known as ISIS. Foley was a reporter for GlobalPost when he was abducted in November 2012 when he was returning from Syria towards the Turkish border.
Balboni was passionate when discussing Foley, who was also a friend. Balboni defended Foley saying, “There are reckless journalists, but Jim was not one.”
However, on August 12th, after searching for Foley for two years, an email was received saying Foley would be executed.
In response to the email Balboni said, “I didn’t believe that they would execute him.”
Students said they had great insight from this final speaker.
“Learning about James Foley’s situation, where if you want the truth you need to put yourself in dangerous situation,” said junior Sarah Wright.
“The interview was touching and heartfelt,” said senior Kaitlin Quinn. It was interesting to hear so much about what happened from someone with firsthand experience.”
“As a teacher of journalism, I’m always looking for ways to immerse my students in the field,” said Professor Franklin. “Attending the NENPA conference is the ultimate connected learning experience.”