In the second evening of the IMPACT speaker series, three prominent journalists addressed ACS community members to talk about their experiences in media and how things have changed since they started their careers. Moderated again by ACS Trustee Mikey Muhanna '03, the panelists were Youmna Naufal, media producer and host of the TV show Y Chats, Paula Yacoubian, Media Trainer, Journalist and current Parliament candidate, and Anne Barnard, New York Times Beirut Bureau Chief.
All three journalists agreed that there has been a huge shift in what is ‘news’, the way it is reported today and most importantly how ‘fake news’ has become so prevalent. Each of these shifts require the reader to be more diligent about where they get their news, and discerning for themselves, if it is true or not. The audience learned that journalists were taught to ‘report on the story, don’t be the story’ but now most journalists have their own platform and work on the personal aspect to the story.
When asked what it takes to be a journalist, the obvious answer was ‘knowing how to write a sentence’ but the guests offered other advice as well. Read and watch the news. Then read anything. Anne told the audience to “be creative and rigorous about what you know and how you know it.” She quoted Finley Peter Dunne’s fictional character Mr. Dooley, by saying that journalism should “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” Youmna advised that people must strive to “be inquisitive versus curious” and go after the truth. Wanting to tell the story and having the passion to story tell is very important as a journalist too. Paula said there is a credibility crisis in the news and wondered aloud whether journalism was a worthwhile profession during these times.
Audience members engaged with the panelists about social media: What should a school teach and when? What age is appropriate to use it? How has it affected your job? Youmna summed up the topic of journalism and Lebanon well with her quote “Being in Lebanon is a citizen’s nightmare but a journalist’s dream. Our neighbors are great because they always provide news.”
The ACS Impact Series is a regularly scheduled evening of community leaders about their stores and the impact their journeys can have on others. Supported by both the Head of School and Development & Alumni Relations Offices, speakers are invited to provide insight on a common thread and aims to create a rich experience for both the speakers and audience.