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journalism

Open Mic Roc is a locally based, online black publication, with news, interviews, opinion pieces, and a platform for discussion.

Recently, Open Mic has covered the debate over La Marketa in the City of Rochester. On Thursday, the staff sat down for an interview with Mayor Lovely Warren, a sign of growing respect for what Open Mic is doing.

On December 27, the staff published a piece that included a graphic with the words, "You're pretty for a black girl." The story was about microaggressions: what they are, how they impact people, and how to recognize them.

This hour, we explore the work that Open Mic is doing with members of its staff:

"Post-truth." "Fake news." It's a new world of information and misinformation, and for journalists, it's about to get even more challenging.

President-Elect Trump has shown consistent hostility to news organizations. Considering that, is this a moment of reckoning for the entire industry? Why do so many Americans profess such rancor to the press? How might that change? Our guests:

Should newspapers make political endorsements? While endorsing candidates has been a long-held tradition for many newspapers, this year’s presidential election has reignited the debate about the role of editorial boards.

Dozens of publications -- including some Republican-leaning papers -- have endorsed Hillary Clinton. Far fewer have endorsed Donald Trump. USA Today, which has never before endorsed a presidential candidate, published an anti-endorsement of Trump. But how much influence do endorsements (or anti-endorsements) have in shaping voters’ opinions?

We examine the ethics of endorsements and the role of newspapers in American politics. Our guests:

  • Julie Philipp, senior engagement editor for the Democrat and Chronicle
  • Sean Carroll, executive producer for 13WHAM-TV
  • Howard Owens, publisher of The Batavian and the Wyoming County Free Press

Assemblyman Bill Nojay's suicide has raised questions about possible fraud charges he was facing. Should the public have access to that information? The Democrat & Chronicle says yes. It's unusual for someone accused of a crime to die before the criminal complaint or indictment can be unsealed.

We talk to the D&C's reporting team of Gary Craig and Steve Orr, who broke the story about possible fraud charges. They not only explain why the newspaper is pushing for public release; they take us through the extraordinary events of Friday that led to their initial story.

Then we discuss suicide prevention with Kristina Mossgraber, events coordinator with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Rochester chapter. She shares her own story, and discusses resources for suicide prevention.

Seventy years ago this week, the New Yorker published "Hiroshima," arguably the most important piece of journalism in the 20th century.

Reporters had covered the atomic bombings in Japan, but none had focused on victims' stories. John Hersey used an extraordinary 31,000 words to tell the story of six people who had survived the bombing of Hiroshima. The piece, titled simply "Hiroshima," went viral decades before viral was a thing.

We consider the piece in many ways: How effective was Hersey's story-telling, which was narrative in style without inserting himself into the piece? How does it affect our understanding of the bomb's impact? Would modern journalists be afforded an opportunity to tell a story with that kind of depth? And are there are other pieces of journalism that rival it? Our guests:

  • William B. Hauser, professor emeritus of history at the University of Rochester
  • Eric Grode, regular contributor to the New York Times culture section and director of the Goldring Arts Journalism Program at Syracuse University
  • Mari Tsuchiya, senior library assistant at the University of Rochester

The image of Omran Daqneesh, a five-year-old Syrian boy who was covered in dust and blood after aerial bombardment, has captured the world's attention. Why, some have wondered, did it require a stunning photo to finally force the world to consider the plight of the Syrian people?

There's not an easy answer, but we're reminded of the power of photography. In particular, we're reminded of the value of professional photojournalists at a time when many news staffs are making cuts.

Our panel discusses the power of photography to make change, and the value of trained professionals. Our guests:

  • Max Schulte, Democrat & Chronicle lead photographer
  • William Snyder, four-time Pulitzer Prize winning photographer and chair of the photojournalism program at the Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Jenn Poggi, former deputy director of the White House Photo Office and RIT visiting professor

NPR is eliminating online comments, joining a handful of other major news organizations to make the change. One major reason is that NPR finds Twitter and Facebook to be where the conversation has naturally gravitated to. But let's face it: online comments sections can occasionally become hives of nasty ad hominems, and worse.

So is this a wise decision? Or does it limit audience interaction? Our guests discuss it:

There's been a public debate about sexist language used by broadcasters and print reporters at the Olympic Games. From descriptions of gymnasts who look so calm they "could be at the mall," to deflecting credit to husbands and male coaches, journalists have been under the microscope. Critics say these Olympics demonstrate the double standards and casual sexism that exist in day-to-day life. Others argue that we're being too sensitive. Our guests discuss it:

  • Barbara LeSavoy, director and assistant professor of women and gender studies at SUNY Brockport
  • Patti Singer, clean living reporter for the Democrat and Chronicle who spent more than 10 years covering professional sports for several newspapers

"I know a married man and father of two who bought a twenty-one-room motel near Denver many years ago in order to become its resident voyeur. With the assistance of his wife, he cut rectangular holes measuring six by fourteen inches in the ceilings of more than a dozen rooms. Then he covered the openings with louvred aluminum screens that looked like ventilation grilles but were actually observation vents that allowed him, while he knelt in the attic, to see his guests in the rooms below."

So begins the long-form journalism piece called "The Voyeur's Motel." The author, Gay Talese, is one of the leaders of the form known as "New Journalism." But Talese's latest piece has stirred all kinds of controversy, from questions of ethics, to gaps in fact checking. It's even sparked debates about the perils of long-form journalism itself.

Our panel discusses the value of long-form writing in a 140-character world, and the standards we should expect. Our guests:

  • Jack Rosenberry, associate professor and department chair of communication/journalism at St. John Fisher College
  • Mary Stone, senior editor/writer for Post Magazine
  • Eric Grode, regular contributor to the New York Times culture section and director of the Goldring Arts Journalism Program at Syracuse University

The Presstitutes is a new play written by Democrat & Chronicle columnist David Andreatta. It's a farce about journalists at a dying newspaper in Western New York who team up with a politician to save themselves.

We talk about the play's commentary on the state of journalism and politics in America today with our guests:

  • Dave Andreatta, columnist for the Democrat & Chronicle and author of The Presstitutes
  • Julie Philipp, senior engagement editor for the Democrat & Chronicle
  • Jeff Moon, director of The Presstitutes
  • Jim Memmott, journalist with the Democrat & Chronicle and professor at the University of Rochester

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