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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

April 22, 2018   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

Editorial: Park School should join letter to Sinclair president

Local television news anchors of stations across the country owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, one of the largest broadcasting companies in the United States, read a script written by the group to warn viewers that “some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias,” which is “an extremely dangerous threat to a democracy.” An eerie, stitched-together video of 200 anchors reading the script, created by Deadspin, has gone viral.

Deans of 13 journalism schools across the nation have signed a letter to the president of Sinclair Broadcast Group, condemning the company for forcing local news stations to have their anchors read a script condemning the news media. In an excerpt obtained from the Poynter Institute, the undersigned deans wrote that “ Sinclair’s use of news personnel to deliver commentary — not identified as such — may further erode what has traditionally been one of the strongest allegiances in the news landscape, the trust that viewers put in their local television stations.” These deans are taking a stand to support local news stations remaining independent and unbiased, as the “fake news” claims echoed by the conservative Sinclair corporation threaten journalism and, thus, democracy.

The Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College has been ranked among the top schools for journalism in the nation by NewsPro, Niche and other ranking websites. ICTV is a premier college television network, and many students attend the Park School with the intention of going into broadcast journalism.  

The Sinclair Broadcast Group has been called out before for pushing conservative agendas with their news content — completely antithetical to the tenents of journalism. Not only that, but using journalism as a platform to advocate for certain political agendas completely contradicts the ethics that the Department of Journalism in the Park School tries to instill in its students.

Diane Gayeski, the dean of the Park School, should sign on to this nationwide admonishment of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s misuse of power. Signing the letter would send a good sign to prospective students and potential students alike that the journalistic education they are receiving will be to industry standard — that they will learn how to produce fair, balanced and accurate pieces of journalism. By joining this growing group of journalism deans, Gayeski will be able to perfectly communicate just that.