Journalism department chairman publishes article on pandemic impact on news

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Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez, Director of the Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media, recently published a white paper that she co-authored titled “Covid-19, Free Speech, Hate Speech: Implications for Journalism Teaching” in Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Photo illustration by Sarah Pinkerton

By Emily Cousins ​​| Editor

Dr Mia Moody-Ramirez, Director of the Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media, recently published an white paper she co-wrote titled “Covid-19, freedom of expression, hate speech: implications for journalism education”In the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Moody-Ramirez said writing the article was her idea, inspired by the time she and her co-authors spent on a Twitter panel last year. She said they sponsored a Twitter chat, where they heard comments from others on free speech and hate speech in the context of journalism education during COVID-19.

Based on the response in the Twitter chat, Ramirez said they decided to write the article.

Ramirez said the COVID-19 pandemic is the first time social media platforms have worked together to stop the spread of disinformation. She said she was unsure if this would continue apart from the misinformation about COVID-19.

“It makes people nervous because when these news groups come together to take information, people worry if they think it might infringe on freedom of speech,” Ramirez said. “I think they were okay with that here because it was… it was something that could kill people.” We are facing the pandemic, but when you are dealing with day to day issues you become a little leery of the news outlets working together to suppress information.

Ramirez said they also discussed the new era of interviewing in journalism.

“As a journalism educator, I always told you that you should talk to people in person, that you shouldn’t use email, but all of a sudden we started telling students, ‘He didn’t There’s no harm in using email, ”Ramirez said. . “So that was a huge change.”

Ramirez said Zoom interviews will continue to be used after the pandemic because it’s a good way to reach people around the world.

“It’s actually been beneficial so I think it’s something we’re definitely going to continue,” said Ramirez. “Many anchors were able to set up offices in their homes. So, and I’ve told a few of them about it and some say … even after the pandemic is over, they will probably continue to report from their homes because they see it’s not. only practical, but that does not really take away from the profession. So I think part of this will continue, but then there is a downside. People miss this human interaction. They miss going to the office and being surrounded by colleagues.

Anastasia Kononova, one of the co-authors of the white paper and an assistant professor in the advertising and public relations department at Michigan State University, said via email that the pandemic was difficult to report due to the ever-changing nature data as scientists learn. learn more about the new disease.

Kononova said she also discussed the inequality of deaths and rates of COVID-19 contraction in minority communities.

“When minority groups are disproportionately affected by a health crisis, it can tell us a lot about the structural inequalities and inequalities that are present in economic and health systems,” Kononova said. “Many populations in BIPOC are known to have lower socio-economic status than the dominant racial group. Lower socio-economic status means lower incomes and reduced access to education which could guarantee better jobs. These populations have also been strongly affected by unemployment which increased during the pandemic. In addition, many racially / ethnically minority groups have limited access to health care (availability or doctors, health insurance, quality care), are more likely to be abused due to racial prejudice, and have less confidence in the system. health due to a history of medical abuse. people of color.

Ramirez also said he discussed the huge social justice movement that followed George Floyd’s death. According to her, based on her research, people were very active on social media at the time, which contributed to the strength of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“People, they were sitting still,” Ramirez said. “We were able to focus on what was going on. We listened, watched the reports, we watched the news, we paid attention to social media. It made a huge difference. Normally we go on with our daily life but don’t pay as much attention to it. So I think it made a huge difference in that regard, and that’s why it sort of peaked at that point … I definitely attribute that to the pandemic and the people who are in the home and can just pay more attention to it.

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