Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

Teaching to the Wrong Test

leave a comment »

Melissa Click

Two University of Missouri faculty members are apologizing to journalists they tried to bully off the campus’ Carnahan Quad yesterday.

Assistant Professor of Mass Media, Melissa Click (shown) and Director of Greek Life, Janna Basler tried to prevent at least two journalists from covering an event called “Concerened Students 1950”, a student and faculty group that says it seeks the liberation of black collegiate students.

According to CBS, the event was promoted by the school and journalists were invited to attend.  But two days before the event, reporters were told not to attend.  Video reporter Mark Schierbecker and photographer Tim Tai were forced off campus, but not before Schierbecker’s camera captured Click yelling to other students to provide some “muscle” to help eject them from the event. Religious Studies Department chairman Richard J “Chip” Callahan, who was standing behind students blocking the videographer said to Tai when he appealed for help, “Don’t talk to me.  It’s not my problem”.   The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Callahan and Click share a common address.

Schierbecker’s video has gone viral and has sparked an ironic debate over communications professors who censor with critics ranging from Jonathan Chait at the NY Times to Rod Dreher from the American Conservative condemning Click. CNN Money is reporting that Click has blocked access to her Twitter account while Basler has deleted her account.  She and Basler were also roundly criticized by other communications faculty for their behavior.

After the clash, Concerned Students 1950 tweeted an image of a flier upholding the First Amendment right of the media to be welcomed and showed their appreciation for the coverage.

Both Basler and Click have issued apologies.  Basler’s said, in part, “I regret how I handled the situation and am offering a public apology to the journalist involved.”  In Click’s statement, she said “I regret the language and strategies I used and sincerely apologize to the MU campus community and journalists at large for my behavior …”  Click has also resigned her courtesy appointment with the University’s School of Communications.  According to Linkedin, She has a B.A. in Business Administration from James Madison University and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

The University clarified that Click is a professor of communications, not journalism.

But even that, it seems, is debatable.

To me, the worst part in all this is that something we thought could be depended on to bring us a good story; i.e. journalism, was attacked by the very people responsible for promoting it, while that thing that deserved to be highlighted, namely the continued injustices to blacks and other minorities, was sidelined by this ignorance and ridiculousness.  Even sadder is that students didn’t know they were helping do it to themselves.

Video image by Mark Schierbecker

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: