SATURDAY MORNING REFLECTIONS: Regina Lawrence and students at Oregon SOJC

Regina Lawrence opens the day with reflections on yesterday. She felt there was a powerful theme on Friday that needs to be named. About frustration, anger, disillusionment, felt by whole swaths of our society who feel they have been left without a voice, or without an equal voice and they don’t have the opportiunities that others have to be heard, or that they havebeen represented for years over a generation of time. I thought that need to be named, and recognized and acknowledged.

So what do we do? And I say tht with appropriate humility that these problems have been created over generations, they won’t be fixed over a weekend.

She compares it to the situated reported by NPR about the foam in the Challenger shuttle disaster.

The visual artist decribes her perceptions of the first two days


Seven University of Oregon and other journalism students talk about what they’ve learned in the first two days.

Matt Yitty, junior, SOJC, biggest takeaway, I need to always stay in a place where I don’t know what I’m doing because if I ever come out of this humble and scared place, then I’m not learning anymore and that doesn’t do anybody any justice.

Matt, third-year journalism student: In community-level journalism he was frustrated about the institutional view vs. the actual role of the journalist – the for-profit business model being part of that. His biggest takeaway is he has met incredible people, heard incredible talks – there is no magic bullet or instant cure for how to get journalists back into the community and do the job successfully. I’ve heaerd great small answers that will build into something sustainable. Something we can look forward to.

Pan Bruni, sophomore, SOJ: This has been an awesome experience, an awesome group of people talking about ideas you are passionate about. I never thought I would be a part of something like this, growing up. That is humbling. Any work you have to do to be part of this community is 100% worth it. There are so many people who regardless of how they grew up or came from, all have these similar ideas and goals they want to work toa chieve and that is amazing to hear. Regardless of where you came from you can have the same goals and wants to achieve those, and canb e willing to do what you want to achieve those. How do you reach out to all these different demographics and connect with them? This right here is a great example of how you do that – bring people together who wouldn’t ordinarily talk to each other.

August, senior, SOJC: His small takeaway – learning how to interact with community. Staying trurthful to the core truth of journalism. A lot of small takeaways that will empower my journalism as I go forward.

Emily, grad student in SOJC, master’s program. I could write for days about all the things Ive learned here. Above all else we need to listentoo peoplel’s lived experience.

Sophomore, SOJC: It’s OK to be uncomfortable and the best stories come when you break past your own borders and the definitiosn to already have.

One of the biggest takeaways Thursday night – there are a lot of doers in the room. I’m going to pose the irst question we got.

Q: How do we feel about the media industry in flux:


I can’t speak for the group. Does anyone else feel excited about eh crumbling of the institution of traditional journalism? (I think this is Matt’s question) What if we started thinking about the community as your newsroom. When you need reinforcement or validation, what about thinking of the community as the place where we do that? WE learn the structure of the institution of jouranism. I would like to encourage anyone else who is dealing with the industry in flux, maybe it is time to think of a post-industry journalism – moving it away from the institution.

Q: How does this sconference conflict with orjive with what we’re learnin in the J-school?

I talked about this a bit. I’m just starting as a J-student and the hardest and biggest roadblock is to try to remove myself and be objective. But I’ve learned from this conference that my identity as a journalist matters and it is more important to be transparent as objective.

Q: What makes you most uncomfortable?

What makes me most uncomfortable is feeling you’re the only person in a room. If you feel like you are not with people that you have a connection with or some kind of shared suffering with. If you are with people you don’t have a connection with that is a hard experience and hard to break out of your shell ot have a conversation.

I would second that in that I think a lot of us are introverts by nature and for me something that has been a learning experience is going to those uncomfortable situations because that I what we are all here to do, to see the people that we don’t have that recognizable connection with to begin with. And our job is to find and share that connection. As hard as that may be for us, I think we have to all be uncomfortable throughout our entire career and that’s a good thing.

What makes me most uncomfortable is the idea that I don’t know what I’m doing. A shot in the dark.

Q: How do you change your idea of journalism, of what journalism should be doing or can be doing at this conference?

I don’t know if this speaks to the J school ro just me but I came into this conference not knowing what journalism is or should be; we haven’t had a consistent definition of that in my generation and this conference has showed me thatit is more open than I imagined, there are all these possibilities. End of the day journalism is losing a definition and that’s the best thing for it.

My view hasn’t changed. We hear buzzwords especially. That’s the personification of the idnsutry, people are throwing out words and seeing what sticks and we are all trying to figure out what this looks like a year from now, two years, 10 yars. But the mission ahsn’t changed. Once you strip away the mechanisms the role doesn’t change. In our hearts we are essentially activists. They way we choose to do that, that should be in flux. But this one of work – serving a community – that does not change.

Q: Do your parents support your career goals or do they think you’re nuts?

They do support me in my career choices. I’m their third child so by the third they are kind of OK. Anything I want from the people here, I graduated one month from yesterday and I still have a job.

Coming from two engineers and sthree siblings in the STEM field my parents do think I’m kind of psycho in this field. I had an itnresting conversation yestray wyt Taylan andher group trying to balance this new social marketing and story telling with for-profit and not trying to commercialize stories for peoples lives. I’m excited. And I want a job too!

My situation is that my parents don’t support journalism necessarily. Anytime I talk to a family member, so what are you studying, they say, “Oh, hmm.” They are also very supportive in that myself and my siblings are the first generation in my family that are actually going to college so they are very happy that even if it is not something that they would like to see, they want to see me go out and get a degree in science at be a millionare, but that doesn’t sound very fun. But they are very supporting in that I am doing what I love now and if you do what you love you never work a day in your life. Also, I want a job.

I’ve got one parent who thinks that like many that the media isn’t trustworthy and one parent who refuses to turn on the TV or read the paper because it is too much so for me it ahs been about trying to educate them on what I’m learning and doing and sometimes that’s disappoint for them, and sometimes exciting. But all the time it hs been a way for me to learn from them because so many people who aren’t in this room aren’t engrained in the environment, have the same feelings they do. If we surround ourselves by everyone in this room, we don’t get to see that.

I’m not a kid. I’ve been to college once already. Do my parents think I’m crazy? This is my second time in college. My dad didn’t graduate high school. My dad stopped trying to figure out what I’m doing with my life 8-9 years ago. What matters to him – whether we disagree, he is proud of me for doing something I’m passionate about, that I care about . . . I hope that you are at the end of the day doing something you are passionate about.

I was an undergraudtae English major. My parents are delighted that I’ve picked a direction. I’m not the typical example. I feel that pressure from a lot of people who want to know what you want to do. It has never gotten easier. As far as what we need outside this room. People tell you there is room to engage, but on the other side it is so competitive. I don’t know how to reconcile those. We need to insert ourselves in the newsroom but I don’t know if there is a space for that. These big newsrooms take one intern. We’re the future. We’re your readers. I don’t know why we’re not welcome at the able.