UC Berkeley faculty talk diversification, disinformation in journalism

photo of a Daily Californian newspaper box
Faculty from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism spoke at a Campus Conversations event held Tuesday to discuss diversifying the school's students, removing economic hurdles in the journalism industry and combating disinformation.

Related Posts

At a Campus Conversations event Tuesday, UC Berkeley faculty discussed creating a new wave of journalism through the diversification of students.

Moderated by campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof, the event featured Geeta Anand, dean of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, and David Barstow, head of the Investigative Reporting Program. Panelists discussed topics ranging from diversifying the journalism industry to combating disinformation.

“Around the globe, authoritarian regimes’ number one enemy are reporters,” Barstow said at the event. “Students have shown incredible determination and guts to say, ‘put me in and let me do this kind of work.’ ”

Students in the journalism program feel a sense of urgency to create a society built on “truth and fact,” according to Barstow. He added that while the journalism industry is facing scrutiny, the students are determined to work on a variety of pressing issues.

However, there are limits to entering the journalism industry, such as the cost of tuition for a journalism degree being about $70,000 for out-of-state students and around $50,000 for in-state students, according to Anand. She added that the diversity of her students and their economic well-being plays a key role at the Graduate School of Journalism.

“I’m focused on scholarships and financial aid for our students, because why are we even here if most of our students can’t become journalists,” Anand said at the event. “I want to enable most of them … to use this education to be the truth-tellers of the world.”

Anand believes creating a new system by removing economic hurdles in the industry will be necessary for the future of journalism. However, she noted that solutions to diversifying journalism and removing the economic systems within the industry have yet to be found.

Anand noted that while nonprofit news organizations are a good idea, it is also important to create other solutions. She added that some of the biggest news publications have their articles hidden behind paywalls, and since many are unwilling to subscribe, it makes it hard for these articles to combat disinformation.

“(Disinformation) is a threat to our democracy, it is a threat to our journalism and if we can’t even disseminate accurate information on which people can have dialogue and debate, then democracy’s ability to function is deeply threatened,” Anand said at the event. “We feel like we’re really well positioned to take on this difficult challenge.”

Anand also reflected on the future of campus’s Graduate School of Journalism. She is hoping to support students from historically marginalized groups in order to make a “truly meaningful” impact on the journalism industry, with the goal of eventually making the school tuition-free.

Contact Vani Suresh and Nathan Saldana at [email protected].