The role of journalism in contemporary times was the focus of a talk by Los Angeles Times Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Davan Maharaj with Cal State San Bernardino students recently.
“Young journalists need to know the wider landscape of what’s happening in the journalism community, but also they’re the witness of what’s happening now in the first draft of history, and they can use this as they develop to have a point of reference … to know what’s happening now and the press’s role in it,” said Maharaj.
The event was held Feb. 9 in the university’s John M. Pfau Library.
Terry Ballman, the dean of CSUSB’s College of Arts and Letters, introduced Maharaj and gave a brief explanation on the current relationship and ongoing collaboration between the Los Angeles Times and the Coyote Chronicle, the university’s student newspaper.
In addition to the writers and editors from the Coyote Chronicle, the audience included communication studies students from other classes.
“I love when different groups of students get together and participate in an event that’s different,” said Ballman. “Oftentimes students are in classes where we learn about theory, and that’s fine, but it’s always important that we have a connection to the real world.”
Maharaj discussed current topics and trends, such as utilizing social and digital media as a resource, journalism’s role in delivering accurate and ethical news, handling criticism in regards to “fake news” and the blame on media in present-day discourse.
Maharaj also talked about how he started off in journalism and his experiences throughout the years, giving students a perspective of what it’s like being a professional journalist.
“I think it’s imperative for student journalists and students in general to become active in searching for truths,” said Loydie Burmah, a master’s student and the editor-in chief of the Coyote Chronicle. “Mr. Maharaj said that journalism offers a ‘passport into people’s lives.’ As a reporter, when allotted opportunities to expose falsehoods, connect and educate, our empathy is enhanced.”
Many students asked questions relating to advice for young journalists who are currently writing for a publication or media, are interested in entering the field in the future, and what to expect in the future.
“I loved the questions from the students, there was a lot of engagement and back and forth,” Maharaj said. “I thought the questions were very smart, and any time that you can share ideas and information, it’s a success.”
The publisher’s visit was part of the Times’ ongoing investment in youth journalism initiatives in San Bernardino that include a seed grant to launch a community news section in the Chronicle and support Cajon High School’s involvement in High School Insider.
For more information about the ongoing collaboration between the Coyote Chronicle and the L.A. Times, contact Mariam Betlemidze at email@example.com. You can read the Coyote Chronicle newspaper on campus from designated newsstands, view the digital print version on issuu.com/coyotechronicle, and online at coyotechronicle.net.
For more information on Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication and visit news.csusb.edu.
(In the photo: Davan Maharaj, Los Angeles Times editor-in-chief and publisher, speaks to students at California State University, San Bernardino on, Feb 9. Photo: Corinne McCurdy/CSUSB)