Juneau, Alaska (KINY) A former CNN producer who grew up in Juneau talked with college students about the state of the news media on News Engagement Day at the University of Alaska Southeast.
Chuck Thompson discussed citizen journalism, the rise of social media, the national media bias, the phenomenon of fake news, and the President's feud with the media at the 90 minute event Tuesday.
Journalist Peter Bale also spoke about a new project being pursued by Wikipedia for a news page based on citizen journalism.
Thompson said journalists are still extraordinarily important. He admitted trends show young people are less interested in news and most get their news from social media platforms. He said no matter what a journalist can be objective even though they all have a different vantage point, "A story is never complete, it has a beginning a middle and an end. Journalism is inherently imperfect. You try to get as perfect as you can but you never quite reach it."
Thompson told the students that good journalism gets people talking. "People's interests are very local. You need to keep an open mind, check your facts, and be confident in yourselves."
Two of the bigger stories Thompson helped cover for CNN were the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 and Malaysia Flight 370 that disappeared in 2014.
Thompson said fake news has been around since the country began, 'There is evidence of that sort of news from the early media in this country. It was opinion driven and not about news gathering. Social media, and technology have kind of taken those problems and taken them into hyper drive."
He also described the President's feud with the media as dangerous and troubling, "It is crazy, I do try to be a dispassionate observer of all the stuff that goes on and understand the motivations behind them, I do understand the frustrations the public has with traditional media, I think some of the concerns are grounded. I think the way the President is going about it is particularly grotesque and irresponsible. He does represent a segment of the population that has some justifiable suspicions about the source of news that they are getting. I don't think that he's right, I disagree with him. I do think there is a value to considering what people on his side of the debate are thinking about."