SA Pro Chapter of SPJ to sponsor free public forum on Saturday, April 8

President Donald J. Trump has called journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on Earth” and has labeled the media as “enemies of the people” and “out of control.”

How can today’s journalists ethically do their jobs of bringing the country an accurate, fair account of the news while facing an ongoing storm of comments designed to discredit journalists and weaken public support for a free press?

“Relations have been rocky between President Trump and the news media, to say the least,” said Michael Drudge, president of the San Antonio Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

“The president says the media produce ‘fake news’ intended to undermine his legitimacy. He has called for tougher libel laws. And he even mocked a disabled reporter during the campaign,” Drudge said. “Journalists say Trump has unfairly targeted them, is thin-skinned when criticized and doesn’t even understand the function of a constitutionally protected free press.”

San Antonio journalists will discuss all sides of these recent accusations and other related topics on Saturday, April 8, at the Patriots’ Casa at Texas A&M University-San Antonio (TAMUSA), One University Way, near the intersection of I-35 and Loop 410 South.

Continental breakfast begins at 9:30 a.m. with the panel discussion at 10 a.m.

The event is free and open to the public. Sponsors are the San Antonio Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the SPJ Student Chapter at TAMUSA, with breakfast provided by the San Antonio Express-News.

Panel moderator will be Macarena Hernandez, the Fred Hartman Distinguished Professor of Journalism at Baylor University.

Panelists include:

Shelley Kofler, news director and executive producer, Texas Public Radio
Bill Lambrecht, Washington, DC, correspondent, San Antonio Express-News
Charlotte-Anne Lucas, managing director, NOWCastSA, independent online news publisher

“So how do reporters cover a president who so often disregards the truth? Is it right to call him a liar? How can Trump be covered fairly when he is openly hostile to many journalists and media outlets?” Drudge said.

“We hope the event will be a free-wheeling discussion with lots of audience participation as we analyze the ethical challenges journalists confront in this new era.”

The Society of Professional Journalists was founded in 1909 and has about 9,000 members nationwide. It includes those working in broadcasting, print and online, journalism educators, and students interested in journalism as a career. SPJ promotes ethical standards, professional development, journalism education, and protection of freedom of speech and of the press.

The San Antonio Pro Chapter of SPJ provides scholarships to local college students studying journalism and communications. It raises money by sponsoring an annual fall Gridiron show, a comedy spoof that roasts local politicians, celebrities and news events. This year’s Gridiron is tentatively scheduled for late September in McAllister Auditorium at San Antonio College. Details will follow.


For more information, contact Michael Drudge, 210-464-6198, mwdrudge@yahoo.com


or Sue Merkner, 210-884-9846, susan.merkner@gmail.com