Whose Truth? Journalism, Democracy, and the Digital Era

Picture of a Black man wearing a black bandana and long, sleeved shirt holding a sign that reads "Black skin is not a crime". He is also holding an American flag in one hand. In the upper right corner is a WWU blue ribbon with the Alumni Association logo.

Thursday, October 8, 2020
12:00-1:00 p.m. PDT




Check out this video to watch the Whose Truth? Journalism, Democracy, and the Digital Era.


Brought to you in partnership with the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean's Lecture Series and the WWU Alumni Association
The mainstream news media have, for decades, produced coverage that has reinforced racial stereotypes and mostly ignored the communities in which Black, Indigenous, and People of Color live. Some cases of racial violence have made headlines, but journalists have covered these cases as isolated incidents rather than as symptoms of a larger and more insidious problem.  
Those troubling patterns of coverage began to shift during the protests over the 2014 killing of Black teen Michael Brown, Jr. at the hands of a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. News coverage, for the first time in decades, started covering racial violence as evidence of systemic racism.  
This shift in news narratives coincided with widespread access to and adoption of digital platforms that allowed people with less power to speak back and to organize in unprecedented ways. #Ferguson was the most-used hashtag in the first decade of Twitter.  
Dr. Paqui Paredes Méndez, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the WWU Alumni Association invite you to join us as Dr. Carolyn Nielsen presents research from her book Reporting on Race in a Digital Era using analysis of news coverage alongside in-depth interviews with journalists to illustrate how journalism is evolving and to highlight the obstacles that remain. This presentation will address the journalism’s problematic past, contemporary challenges, and potential for change.

Carolyn Nielsen

Carolyn Nielsen has taught in Western’s journalism department since 2004. She teaches newswriting, reporting, advanced reporting, ethics, a research seminar, and a course called Diversity, Mass Media and Social Change. Her research focuses on the intersection of newsroom sociology, technology, and coverage of race and immigration.  

Paqui Paredes Méndez

Dean Paqui Paredes Méndez is a native of Galicia, Spain, where she lived until she completed her degrees in teaching and English at the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela. She graduated with a doctorate in Spanish literature from the University of Kansas in 2002, and joined Western’s faculty in Fall 2002. Dr. Paredes taught language, literature, culture and phonetics courses in Western’s Department of Modern and Classical Languages, which she chaired from 2012 to 2018. In 2015, Dr. Paredes received Western’s Peter J. Elich Excellence in Teaching Award. 

Contact Susanna Glatz, Administration and Communication Assistant, College of Humanities and Social Sciences for this event. Feel free to email at glatzs@wwu.edu if you have any questions or comments. WWU is an equal opportunity institution. For disability accommodation, please contact Susanna.