Oaks Neighborhood Dinner explores role of free press

Students, faculty and staff discussed the state of journalism and its function in America.

A Pew Research Center report released Sept. 25 revealed that two-thirds of Americans believe the news media take sides when covering political and social issues. And it was with that statistic in mind that the Oaks Neighborhood centered discussion at its second community dinner Oct. 2 on the role of a free press in America.

Oaks residents were invited to dine with faculty and staff to talk about the state of journalism, the First Amendment, the role of reporters and how people consume their news. Dinner conversations fit the neighborhood’s overarching theme of Emerging Adulthood, which has a particular focus on political engagement, information literacy and thriving.

“The press finds itself being attacked by people of all political persuasions, so it felt like a good time to sit down and talk about how our students view reporters and journalism,” said Colin Donohue, faculty director of the Oaks, director of student media and instructor in Communications. “Journalism is essential to a free society, and we hope students were able to talk about its function, its importance and, of course, its area for improvement.”

The faculty and staff joining students for dinner were Glenn Scott (associate professor of communications), Kelly Furnas (lecturer in communications), Titch Madzima (assistant professor of Exercise Science), Teresa LePors (assistant librarian and coordinator of library research and scholarly services), Julie Justice (assistant professor of education), Madison Taylor (development writer), Alexa Boschini (assistant director of publications) and Owen Covington (director of the Elon University News Bureau). Junior Anton Delgado, the managing editor of The Pendulum, was also an invited guest.