TROY – A Fox News contributor, WSB talk radio host and blogger urged student journalists to know their facts, understand historical context and “tell the story” when they report the news.
Erick Erickson provided the keynote address at Friday’s M. Stanton Evans Symposium on Money, Politics and the Media at Troy University. The annual event is co-hosted by the University’s Hall School of Journalism and Communication and the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy.
“There are three things to being a great journalist: One, know what the facts really are. What is the truth? Remember, truth can change. A few years ago, science told us we had nine planets and, today, we only have eight. Know the truth at the time of your writing,” he said. “Two, What is your historical perspective? What happened before? Three: Tell the story. Build the human element around the facts. People want to be drawn to something more than themselves -- they are hungry for intellectual pursuit.”
Erickson, who is editor-in-chief of the Washington blog RedState.com, practiced law for six years, has managed political campaigns and spent three years as a CNN contributor before joining Fox News. He has co-authored “RedState Uprising,” and writes “Morning Briefing,” a daily email widely read by conservative pundits and activists. A graduate of Mercer University, he lives in Macon, Ga., where he is a former city councilman.
His speech to the symposium, named in honor of TROY faculty member Stan Evans who is a national columnist, commentator and book author, and former editor of the Indianapolis News, spoke on “Insta-Journalism and the Need for Slow.” He opined that “modern journalism has turned into a drive to be first, not accurate.” “There is a need for slowness in news to allow for time to remove personal bias and consider all sides of the facts,” he said, calling on reporters to tone down sensationalism.
“It is common for reporters to think that somehow the world began in 2000. They have no sense of history and this means every new crisis is ‘the greatest crisis ever’ even when, historically, it's most likely not anywhere close,” he said.