Guest Speaker Professor Amos Gelb talks to Communications Class about Reporting for the Public Good

By Daniel Temple

September 10, 2008

“All reporting is for the public good!”

These words, bellowed by Professor Gelb, resonate with the class of students.

“I’m all for reporting for the public good,” Gelb counters “but it carries danger that people don’t even realize.”

Gelb, a professor at George Washington University, is in from Washington D.C to talk about civic journalism as well as an exciting opportunity to study at George Washington University.

He starts off his lecture by immediately challenging the student’s beliefs on the limits of reporting. Citing the recent media coverage of Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin, Gelb poses the question of where do we draw the line at reporting for the public good?

As students begin to discuss their own opinions on the matter, Gelb brings up another question “How exactly do you even define ethical good?” As students slowly ponder the subject, Gelb dims the lights and begins to present a short film on the issue.

In the film, a team of people, in lieu of an incident where citizens failed to help an elderly man in a serious medical condition, decided to stage an accident and report on how the people around them reacted. What started as a project on civilians helping each other quickly turned into an insight into racial sentiments. As the film ends and students begin to adjust their eyes, Gelb makes the point that sometimes civic good and reporting can be a very grey and blurry line.

“The problem I have with reporting for the public good is this,” Gelb remarks “Sometimes it can all be very slippery.”

With a few minutes remaining Gelb quickly launches into his program at George Washington University. The semester in Washington gives students full credit hours as they learn to become more professional journalists. They study, learn and take a hands-on approach amidst the political hotbed of D.C. Gelb tells students about his role and about the wonderful internship opportunities that students obtain.

“I’m like the gatekeeper for upcoming journalists,” he says “We have kids working all over the place. From CBS, XM Radio, Fox and NPR to National Geographic, the Smithsonian and Hispanic Newslink.”





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One Comment on “Guest Speaker Professor Amos Gelb talks to Communications Class about Reporting for the Public Good”

  1. andersj Says:

    Hobie, it is good to see you continuing to post content. Now you should learn how to pull a still frame off the video and also use a still photo in the layout, along with the writing and the embedded video

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