Rob Bertsche joined a group of accomplished national journalists recently in an “Intercollegiate Workshop on College Journalism” sponsored by Tufts University. He spoke alongside former NBC News President Neal Shapiro, now the president of WNET/Channel 13 in New York, the largest public television station in the country; Patrick Healy, the New York Times political reporter covering Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign; Sean Murphy, investigative reporter at the Boston Globe; Neil Swidey, staff writer for the Boston Globe Magazine; Emily Chasan, financial journalist at Reuters in New York; and Phil Primack, noted freelance journalist and editor. The topic of the March 10, 2007, program was “Reporting from Within the Ivory Tower: Rights and Responsibilities of Student Journalists.”
The workshop was the brainchild of Tufts President Lawrence Bacow, in response to on-campus controversy generated by a student newspaper’s publication of material that many had considered racially offensive. Rather than discipline the students involved, President Bacow chose, in his words, “to find a teachable moment from what otherwise was a very difficult moment for the entire Tufts community.” Bacow noted after the program that “the proper response to offensive speech is more speech, not less. That said, I hope that our students will think a bit more in the future about their own responsibilities as members of the Tufts community before they publish something that they know will offend.”
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