JMC Professor Calls for Ethical, Responsible, and Balanced Communication Practices

by  Robert Rucker, Director School of Journalism and Mass Communications

It was great to see yesterday so many people in my building and all across SJSU so excited about the election outcome, especially for Prop 30. Even individuals whose candidates or issues did not prevail were quite engaging and respectful. Everyone seemed a bit more upbeat and hopeful again about the future.

JMC School alumni who went on our very successful 2009 Inauguration trip also responded and urged me to tap into our innovative thinking again, in a much different way, with a timely learning opportunity the country now needs. Dr. Michael Cheers and I, who organized that DC trip, agree that SJSU is the ideal place NOW to host a national town hall discussion. A timely news peg would be the Republican Party’s post election need to expand and include more women and ethnic cultural groups. Recently former RNC Chairman Michael Steele told me the GOP must do that to survive, but he said we can’t be naive…We must first find a way to develop trust within those communities.

Local and national media could build on this town meeting with follow-up special focus reporting. This would be a most appropriate way to react to some of the ugliest national reactions from Election 2012. (Beware…rough language) when you see:

Racist Tweets:

Sad..but true, this stuff still exists in America. We should lead a more positive and informed approach.

JMC is all about ethics, responsible and balanced communications. We don’t need Oprah to lead more constructive national dialog. Our 2009 cross country trip through the landmarks of the Civil Rights Movement slowly captured national attention by reminding or educating many generations about the hard struggles that led to the first African-American President. A new effort triggering a national discussion could provide the major political parties and the entire nation with helpful new insights on how to relax, understand, value and embrace diversity that is growing in America.

I plan to pitch this dynamic idea to the media, and will ask for your help in showcasing how we can do this at SJSU. Stay tuned.