Journalists: Watchdogs for Truth
"Robust, independent, conscientious journalism is vital to the continued
welfare of a free society," says John R. McClelland, Associate Professor
of Journalism for Roosevelt University and IWPA's keynote speaker for its
Saturday, May 15, awards banquet. "It's no accident that 'the press'
is the only business even mentioned, much less given high-level protection from
government, in the Constitution, right along with the people's freedoms of religion,
speech, assembly and petition in the First Amendment."
"Even so, journalism's ability to be a credible watchdog of government and other institutions is dependent on a public that wants to be informed, knows how to evaluate information and opinions, and understands the essential (if imperfect) service provided by tens of thousands of hard-working, honest journalists."
Prof. McClelland believes, "Journalists get criticized for concentrating on 'negative news' when things go wrong in life, rather than noting the many things that go well. Similarly, the field's critics jump on the errors and scandals with little or no attention to the vast amounts of good work. Our missions in journalism education and in professional associations include making people in and out of the field aware of its importance, its vulnerabilities and failings, and its successes."
Professor McClelland received his B.A. in communications, news-editorial sequence, from the University of Illinois in Urbana and his M.A. in journalism from Ohio State University. He began his journalism career with the Daily Courier in Champaign, and worked at a variety of newspapers as city editor, feature editor, and news editor. Since 1989, he has taught at Roosevelt University's Chicago and Schaumburg campuses such courses as reporting, editing, new media and technology, precision journalism, and media overview. He is also author of a chapter on visual imagery in Women in Mass Communication, published in 1993.
Program details: Saturday, May 15: 11:00 a.m. registration and viewing of winning entries for the member contest and high school journalism contest; 11:30 a.m. lunch; 12:45 to 1:15 p.m. speaker and discussion; 1:15-3 p.m. awards presentation.
Parking is available at the Grant Park Underground. The El stop is right outside the door. Call the IWPA hotline at 312/458-9151 to make your reservation. Nonmembers welcome. Cost (includes lunch): IWPA members, their invited guests and full-time students $35; nonmembers $45. Payment (cash or check) may be made at the door. Please note any special meal requests (vegetarian, for example) when making reservations.