What journalism students should know when reporting on Israel

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A view of the old city from our neighborhood in Baka, West Jerusalem. Taken June 13, 2016. (Madeline Ackley/Cronkite Mideast).

This summer I had the opportunity to visit a place that had long been the object of fascination for me: Israel and Palestine. I’m a second year journalism student at the Walter Cronkite school in Phoenix. In my first semester at the school I heard an announcement that the Cronkite School was for the first time taking a study abroad trip to the Middle East.

Without regard for cost or the potential risks I signed up immediately. This was my dream, and for a significant fee (plus airfare and a variety of personal items) and after attempting unsuccessfully to convince my family of the unlikelihood of me being killed in a terrorist attack, I was finally able to go.

The first-ever Cronkite Mideast study abroad group in front of Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem. Take June 14, 2016. (Dr. Bill Silcock/ Cronkite Mideast).

I was educated about Israel and it’s longstanding conflict, the contention with it’s neighbors,its basic geography and religious significance. But none of that prepared me for seeing it with my own eyes.

As a first-year American journalism student in a land so newsworthy and volatile it has one of the largest populations of journalists in the world, I felt out of my league.

Part listical, part personal account, here is what I wish I knew before reporting on the nuanced and bewildering land of Israel.

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“What if Trump becomes president?”

I asked demonstrators at a Puente Arizona protest outside the Arizona State Capitol what they would do if Donald Trump were elected president. Here are some of their responses.

Aurelia

Aurelia

How do you feel about Donald Trump winning the Arizona primary election?

“I don’t feel so good about it. There’s a lot of people here that their homes are here…and I just don’t think that’s [electing Trump] a really good idea.” 

What are your fears if Donald Trump is elected?

“That we have to go back to Mexico and that Mexico can barely afford to feed it’s own people. I’m just…i’m just not happy about it.”

Are you worried about the possibility Trump might become president?

“A little because he won the primaries here so…I’m worried.”

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3 Human Rights Stories You Won’t See On CNN (Opinion)

It seems the media is always angrily invoked whenever pundits or politicians feel the need to assign blame. “The media!” is so often the target of blame it has become a cliché.

But sometimes, the media really does fail the public in substantive ways. In these cases, they deserve blame. This article references CNN by name, but the points made here can easily apply to any other mainstream news network.

Here’s a look at three stories CNN obsessed over, while the more important stories fell through the cracks.

Continue reading “3 Human Rights Stories You Won’t See On CNN (Opinion)”

Returning to Armenia

1915  marked the year of the first genocide of the 20th century in which 2 million Armenians perished at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. The survivors were scattered to the four winds. Today, both Turkey and the United States refuse to recognize the genocide. Jacqueline Keoseyan, an American-born member of the Armenian diaspora, became the first in her family to return to the land her people were  expelled from 100 years ago.

Trump in Arizona

Donald Trump made a campaign stop in Arizona, drawing over 10,000 supporters to the ordinarily quiet Fountain Park in Fountain Hills on March 19.Hundreds of protesters, including immigrant rights advocates, also showed up to voice their anger over Trump’s arrival in Arizona.

Rose Mischke: A life of Service

Rose Mischke, a teacher of 42 years, has worked most her life to improve the lives of the refugee families in her community and teach her students the value and beauty of giving.Today, she is retired, but her work in the refugee community continues as she organizes her annual benefit dinner.