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DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE: OTP NEWS WASHINGTON – Covid and Student Journalism

SAMANTHA JILL ANDERSON
Good day and thank you for joining us. I’m Samantha Jill Anderson and this is the inaugural episode of on the pulse Daily News

ANI KASPARIAN
And I’m on the cusp buried. Under normal circumstances, this show would have featured these amazing guests in a bright and lively enclosed space. a gathering of our staff and production crew would have been assembled to produce this brand new show. But that isn’t the case. By our tape air, experts expect that the United States will have surpassed 200,000 Coronavirus, deaths and millions more positive diagnosis of this is. With this in mind. Our first Special Edition will cover the issues of student journalism and education in the age of COVID-19. With us today is the former president of ISU’s transfer student organization, Nick Roberts. He also was the editor of ISU’s literary magazine entitled euphemism. Nick is also an author and poet who produced his first book Killdeer just under a year ago. Nick, welcome to the broadcast.

NICK ROBERTS
How’s it going?

ANI KASPARIAN
So Nick, could you tell us about your bias use campus, especially during the pandemic? How has your school been handling the Coronavirus?

NICK ROBERTS
Yeah. So, at Illinois State University I am currently actually taking a semester or two off from classes due to the fact that COVID is extremely bad at Illinois State University. So, a recent article published by Central Illinois proud indicated that about 1300 students have tested positive ISU as of 9/19. So the current standing is there’s about 930, negative cases 35 positive cases of the 3.6 positivity rate. But if you want to look at our total numbers, there’s 1414, total positive 6981, negative and 8395 total tested. So that just shows you just hold up statistic about exactly what’s going on. So yeah, that’s a little bit of what’s going on. So basically, at ISU about there’s 10% of the classes are in person. And they’re either in person or they’re hybrid courses. So that means that they meet like, maybe once a week and like a studio or something like that. And just other things as well. So, yeah, that’s just a little bit about some numbers and things going on, honestly right now.

ANI KASPARIAN
Thank you for that. So your university has actually caught national news attention when the boy is a Canadian youtuber group hosted a party on your college campus, bringing in a large number of people together, the number clearly violated the rules of the town that stated no more gatherings of more than 10 people at a time. Tell me what do you know exactly about this party? And were you there yourself?

NICK ROBERTS
Yeah. Making news like all I know, an article published by BuzzFeed, talked about it a little bit. It’s under “YouTube is Demonetizing popular frat channel Nelk boys.” And that’s the title of the article. So on September 19, the Nelk boys came to ICU, attracting crowds of like, I think it was 70 or 80, or maybe even 100 students at one of our largest and most expensive apartment complexes, and they’re actually monetized on YouTube. So what the what the university is doing now in order to sort of handle this situation is they are potentially suspending and finding every single student that can be identified or had any sort of connection to the event. And it was just – I remember watching the videos there was absolutely no. Don’t masks in sight, lots of alcohol, lots of drug use some potential drug use, possibly. And it was just just a very, very messy situation. And so the president of ISU is now potentially, like I said, finding and suspending students that were associated.

ANI KASPARIAN
Okay. You’ve been very outspoken against all the things that have happened at this party and your views have been read by many people. Can you take us through the process of what you had been preaching up to this point and up to the point where even the president of ISU Larry Deetz blocked you on social media is quite an achievement for a social media person. So, tell me, what do you think was the cause of this?

NICK ROBERTS
Um, so that’s our, that’s also a really funny story. So I was very, very vocal on my social media, specifically Facebook, where I was friends with the president of ISU Larry Dietz, on Facebook. So essentially, his Facebook page is run by a media team of students, I own my State University. And basically, two or three times every day, I would just share an article about how ISU has 600 700 now 1000 now 1300, now 1400 positive cases, and I would tag Larry Dietz in it, and I would tag Illinois State University in the US as well. And essentially, I didn’t hear anything from the the media intern or whoever was running his page. And I noticed one day when I tried to tag him and oppose his name wouldn’t like necessarily pop up, and I couldn’t click on it anymore. And so when I go to his page, and I look through my friends list, I am no longer there. He’s on Facebook, which is quite the achievement, I suppose, as a undergraduate. But I have been very, very vocal to my fellow students, to my fellow ministers, family friends in the Bloomington normal zoning area, about staying at home, following these guidelines, following what needs to happen, and in order to just flatten the curve. So we have just been like, just like dealing with so much state right now. So we currently have are actually in 20, we had 21,039 students. So that is a pretty big number, compared to some other schools in the area, besides UI, of course. And so when we started seeing numbers in the hundreds, and in the hundreds, and hundreds and hundreds, and the 1000s things, just things got really scary in Central Illinois. So I have been sort of practicing what I preach and staying home just going to my job and being very, very sorry, blonde, with friends that I see on social media that are going out that are bars that are just doing things like that. Yeah, that’s just a little bit about what’s going on with me.

ANI KASPARIAN
So practicing what you preach and staying safe doesn’t seem like something that I would block you for if I was president, what do you think was the the last straw for him to want to block you? What were some things that you said that maybe provoked him?

NICK ROBERTS
So um, if I look through my Facebook, I would share things on Facebook saying like, and it’s not only me, that has been putting pressure on him as a student, but a large majority of the faculty at Illinois State has been putting pressure on him as well. So I’m an English department, university where I’m studying creative writing, and our associate for the English, Brian rujak, wrote a open letter to President deeds and fellow administrators at ISU and said quote, you can’t just explain away 1300 cases by claiming that we test more than other schools. Because after people in the area, we’re putting a lot of pressure on deeds in order to get him to potentially shut up and just see what exactly what we’re saying or feeling. Deeds came out with a big public statement in his state of like, sort of like a state of the union address for a president and he said the truth is many state universities don’t test nearly as much as is you and don’t transparently report positive cases as ISU. Other universities test so often that their positivity rates skew lower through simple division. The ultimate fact is that Coronavirus impacts Illinois universities in a similar fashion. The more students more likely the incident of Coronavirus and create accounting and reporting does not alter that fact. So when he published his written statement and his video statement on his social media, I would simply share it and I would give him other facts about other schools.

ANI KASPARIAN
Samantha?

SAMANTHA JILL ANDERSON
Thank you, Ani and Nick. Just north of the US border in Toronto, Canada, have attempted to transition into phase three Coronavirus restrictions, some have wondered what that means. And if Canada continues to have a plan on a COVID-19 response, our Correspondent Goa Zhu is in Toronto with more.

GOA ZHU
Hello everyone, Toronto’s currently in the stage three of reopening shops, restaurants, and other non essential businesses since its Coronavirus lockdown in March. We are currently in the shops at Davos Plaza situated in North York, where many people are taking advantage of the reopenings of shops and cafes. Now here in Toronto, stage three means reopening businesses, so it’s some safety measures be in place, as mandated by the Canadian government, cash and restaurants should be eliminated or minimized. As of August 5, masks are now required indoors and it’s becoming more common for customers to have their temperatures taken when they enter restaurants. Because medic chains such as Sephora and beauty boutique by shoppers, it’s not allowing any customers to try on makeup. Instead they take a cotton swab and swipe it onto a white piece of paper to show people that different shapes and makeup.

SAMANTHA JILL ANDERSON
That was Goa Zhu live in Toronto, Ontario just a few hours north of Washington DC and she is here with us now. So Goa, what does the current COVID-19 plan look like for that area has been formed yet?

GOA ZHU
Well as of now there is no plan yet to fully reopen and Toronto will remain in the stage three of reopening the public health officials are also preparing and stocking up on resources for the potential of a second wave of the virus this fall. For information updated every hour on the virus I recommend to check out the website toronto.ca

SAMANTHA JILL ANDERSON
Has the area seen an increase or decrease since reopening.

GOA ZHU
There has been increasing COVID-19 cases in the province of Ontario. Today there has been a reported number of 407 new COVID cases, two thirds of which are under 40 years old, but no new deaths associated with the Coronavirus. Mayor Ford has said that he will reverse back a step of reopening if the cases continue to rise rapidly.

SAMANTHA JILL ANDERSON
I don’t want to keep you too long. But I want to ask about students in the area. Do you have any information on how students are handling the covid 19 pandemic in that area of Canada any plans for schools that you are aware of?

GOA ZHU
So according to the health ministry, for the province of Ontario schools are requiring students to wear masks, wash their hands frequently and maintain physical distancing. They’re also strongly encouraging students to stay home when sick.

SAMANTHA JILL ANDERSON
Thank you so much for your recording Goa. And thank you at home for continuing to stick with us. After the break our research stop for the on the pulse Washington crew you are watching On the Pulse Washington STUDENT NEWS.

SAMANTHA JILL ANDERSON
Thank you for sticking with us and welcome back to the program. The past few weeks have been filled with political turmoil to the detriment of one party or another. But our producers ask themselves what student journalists around the country are saying instead, schools and their student media outlets around the country have been fighting to ensure that their stories are heard. Their Public Forum has continued to inform the localities they live in. In the case of the University of North Carolina for example, the daily Tar Heel took headlines with its claim of a cluster up in progress on its campus. It has since reported a roughly one to two positivity rate on its campus alone. Our reporters noted that the area while quiet for the most part, remain clustered with several noticeable gatherings of people wearing the powder blue synonymous with the university. DC area schools have brought stories to the forefront that match The timbre of UNC’s headline. Georgetown University students were dispossessed of personal items, according to the highest KC Farante. Likewise, George Washington University noted that a fraternity Delta Tau Delta had multiple members test positive for covid 19. According to Tiffany Garcia of The Hatchet. Across the country stories in North Texas daily, the Stanford daily, the Iowa State daily continue to cover a growing number of issues. The Daily Trojan, for example, cover the outstanding balance caused by a tuition hike at the University of Southern California. several universities have come under fire since then, with students wandering in opinion columns and in social media posts, why their institution has returned to an unsafe environment.Now those same students are finding their stories in the local coffee shop unread. As students without homes or financial stability look to continue thriving in their educational environment. Campus newsrooms have taken center stage. According to the Columbia Journalism Review, Serena Cho. “In recent months, as professional newsrooms have wrestled with their own historical failures, many college papers have explored ways to better support staffers of color and improve their coverage of the underprivileged. At times by transgressing the doctrines of old school journalism. Some have apologized to readers for historically misrepresenting communities of color and pledged solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Many have challenged the industry’s misguided belief in objectivity, arguing that it exalts the perspectives of white leaders and experts. A recent statement signed by 15 College editors urged professional journalists to reflect on their long standing bias against marginalized marginalized voices.” So with the onslaught of news and the persistent coverage of the year that has yet to have an awful week we asked the news Gods a single question, why is that? after a break, our panel will discuss.

SAMANTHA JILL ANDERSON
We are back and our panel is joining us now. Nadine Bourne is on the post Washington’s podcast hosts. She’s a current graduate student at Georgetown University’s Master’s in journalism program, acting as a freelance journalist and radio and broadcasting. Elena Kefalogianni is also a master student in Georgetown University’s journalism program and the current secretary of Georgetown University’s the Society of Professional Journalists. She has worked with CNN, Greece and has published fiction writing and several stories with CNN. She is also an Onasis scholar. Let’s first discuss the coverage of issues like the Coronavirus and then we will jump to a dean for conversations on the broader marches and civil unrest in America. Elena and your experience our student journalists handling this properly, how have they been covering Coronavirus?

ELENA KEFALOGIANNI
So I would say that in the US, we have seen more and more students getting engaged with getting internships with media organizations and with finding or at least having some opportunities to travel or work with bigger media outside of their college campus newspaper. It is very different in Greece, if we were to compare it to the States, because students who are attending university for journalism, they’re only good chances to publish in their universities newspaper, most of the media don’t actually offer or have open places for internships. And that’s mostly a funding issue, but also the fact that it’s not so common for a university student to be able to work in one of the very few media outlets that we do have in my country. And as far as Coronavirus. In particular, Greece has been one of the countries who took it very seriously at the start with a very heavy lockdown where people couldn’t actually leave their houses unless they got government permission. So the media and most professional journalism have taken a really deep dive in covering that which has kind of left out students and opportunities for student journalism to have the same part that the professional journalists do have. And since our media are also more consolidated and in union with the government, I think that it allows for less coverage to go to people who are less experienced.

SAMANTHA JILL ANDERSON
But when it comes to giving a voice to the young people, what, what avenues do they take, I mean, are general people reading college publications, how are young people getting their voice out?

ELENA KEFALOGIANNI
I would say that not a lot of people are actually reading college publications. I didn’t in fact know if it was going to be possible for me to get an internship until I ended up like contacting different media outlets myself, for example, some big ones in Greece is CNN, Greece that I worked for, as well as Kathy Mary knee, which is kind of like the biggest one, but it’s not as recognizable as CNN. And so that’s why I made my choice to go with CNN. But um, in terms of students, most of them go on social media to get reporting out. So Instagram is very big people have their own blogs. But there’s definitely not enough student journalism on bigger outlets. And in fact, I would say that you would have to have some prior experience or know some people in order to be able to get your work published in one of those big media organizations. Just because, like, again, it we’re very consolidated. And there’s a lot of union within the media, which is good. So there’s not enough misinformation. But it also falls in the hands of the few more experienced journalists.

SAMANTHA JILL ANDERSON
Definitely a tough situation all around. Nadine, bringing it back stateside, we know what’s been going on at universities across the country with these Coronavirus cases on how do you feel the student journalists have been covering what’s going on in their campuses in turn in terms of cases being reported or not being reported? students being welcomed back to campus and then told they need to leave? Again? How do you feel about the coverage?

NADINE BOURNE
The coverage has definitely been mixed throughout last month and a half. I know a lot of schools did start opening back up in late August. It’s it’s hard. And it’s difficult when you have a virus that’s so unpredictable. And you don’t know who’s the carrier and who’s not a carrier for this. So I think in some ways, student journalists and college papers are trying to do the best that they can with updating their campuses very well. I think one thing about a lot of people, or maybe a lot of faculty members on colleges don’t really include our on campus students versus off campus students and how those off campus living students can wildly affect the cases on campus as well. And that’s something you know, nobody really talks about. And we need to be more concerned about students who are off campus because we’re their policies, you know, can they go and visit other friends? Can they go on campus and to visit other friends and buildings I know, at Boston University, if you live in one building, and your friend lives in another dorm building, your friend can come and visit you. That’s strictly forbidden, no guest policies. So I really wonder how off campus policies differ from that, or if they don’t differ at all, and our student journalists on on college campuses, putting those numbers into the overall numbers as well.

SAMANTHA JILL ANDERSON
I’m glad that you mentioned that I actually remember reading from the editorial board of the Daily Tar Heel, that they were basically saying, you know, the university should have known that when students would come back, they would be reckless, they would be not necessarily following the rules and that it was basically the university’s fault for not putting more rules in place or for basically not telling students to stay home. So how do you feel about that? Do you think it is solely the university’s fault? Or do you think students should have some of the liability?

NADINE BOURNE
No, definitely students do have a liability for that, you know, universities put restrictions for the safety of the students. And I think up to that point, that is the university’s responsibility. Now, after that, it’s up to the students on whether or not they want to follow it. So if students don’t want to follow the restrictions, and the rules are set in place for specifically, their safety, you might be seen, you know, in an increase in cases and so students definitely have to take on that responsibility of what am I doing to ensure my safety? What am I doing to ensure the safety of the people that are also surrounding me? So if you have roommates, if you have a significant other that’s on campus as well? Are you really going to take that risk, to go to a party to go out and hang out with people you know, at a local bar if bars are open in that area, just for the sake of hanging out knowing that there’s a whole pandemic here knowing that 1000s hundreds of 1000s of people have been dying already from the spiral. How much of a risk is a student willing to take for that? You know,

SAMANTHA JILL ANDERSON
Nadine, thank you so much for taking the time to join me. Elena will stick around for an interview with our international producer and host on esperion after a short break, don’t want to miss.

ANI KASPARIAN
And now a special report, a new virus causes new approaches around the world, different countries have handled this pandemic differently. One of those countries is Greece. In April, the New York Times called Greece a country that had defied the odds in the pandemic, due to its relatively low numbers, region. Today, a special guest joins us to discuss her experience returning to her home country. And then I kept it Oh, yummy. Thank you so much for joining us once again today.

ELENA KEFALOGIANNI
Thank you for having me.

ANI KASPARIAN
So I didn’t know you as an international student at Georgetown University here in the USA saw the pandemic hit, you decided to go back to your home country, Greece, I saw you share some of your experience on your Instagram stories, which caught a lot of attention. Can you take us through what happened when you arrived in Greece to finally get into your house?

ELENA KEFALOGIANNI
Greece was on a very strict walk down. You couldn’t even leave your house unless you texted the government the purpose for leaving your house. And there were very specific rules. So once the airport’s open, opened up again, on May 18. Everybody who got back was getting a test at the airport.

ANI KASPARIAN
Now what I want to ask you is when you said that you were coming off the plane, and they force tested all the citizens, you felt like it was a breach of your privacy. Now a lot of Americans here think that wearing a mask is like a breach of their freedom. If you were for any country, how would you something like this, but more.

ELENA KEFALOGIANNI
So the mask being a breach of privacy, I don’t understand that argument at all. And being forced tested. Again, I didn’t think that was a breach of privacy. I thought the fact that there was a camera man filming that process was a breach of privacy. Because again, I really do support. And I know Greece is a smaller country. So it doesn’t get as many visitors as the United States. So being having testing, everybody is great, because when they stopped doing that, and we opened up for the tourists, that’s when the case spiked back up on the islands. So you know, the testing was fine, but I just didn’t understand why that part had to be filmed. And speaking of journalism, since that’s what we’re doing. Now. I do know that in public places you are allowed to film. But this was an area where we were getting tested. And I don’t have knowledge of what is allowed or not. But I was certainly something that felt like a breach of privacy. When it comes to masks. I mean, masks were mandatory in Greece, and people never complained about it. Obviously, yes, it’s not like you’re breathing the same way with or without a mask. But we’re in a pandemic. And so with all respect to the people in the United States that feel like this is a breach of their privacy. But you know if if they feel that they have the option to actually stay home and not go outside and infect other people

ANI KASPARIAN
Thank you so much for your time. [INAUDIBLE]

SAMANTHA JILL ANDERSON
Thank you for having me. And thank you so much for joining us for our first episode of on the pulse Washington. You can join the conversation with our crew online at OTP. Washington on socials. For now, I’m Samantha Jill Anderson –

ANI KASPARIAN
and I’m Ana Kasparian. Please be safe, wash your hands and wear a mask. We’ll see you very soon on on the pulse News, Washington.

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