A studio audience of 20 students listened intently behind us in the jPad lounge in Johnston Hall as Jordan Abudayyeh, a senior in the college, expertly moderated the hourlong program. It focused on complex issues facing journalists since the terrorists attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, including: Reporting on stories from the Middle East. Balancing national security concerns against the public’s right to know. Which stories are told and which ones are ignored? The challenges faced by embedded journalists. Has the public become desensitized to their reports?
The production also featured video "cut-ins" from broadcast journalists with considerable international experience: Catherine Herridge of Fox News, Lara Logan of CBS News, Martha Raddatz of ABC News and Mara Schiavocampo of NBC News. Their personal stories served as case studies for us to discuss on the program.
I very much enjoyed hearing Foley and Jones talk about their experiences overseas and appreciate their courage and passion for reporting from the front lines. Never wanting to be a foreign correspondent, I had my fill of conflict journalism as a Newsday staff writer reporting in Lower Manhattan that fateful day on 9/11. I want no parts of being near constant gunfire in another country, much less being held captive for 45 days like Foley.
Meanwhile, I also enjoyed witnessing so many Marquette students practicing their journalism during the taping. They did all the pre-production research, interviews, set design and graphics, and all the camera work, audio and editing during the program, said Julie Rosene, the college's event coordinator and a key adviser to their efforts. Post-production should be finished soon, after which it will be available for viewing on the college's website and, hopefully, on a local cable station in Milwaukee. There are plans for a new "Diederich Ideas" each semester.
I look forward to each and every one – and hope to have the chance to participate again.