Calvin alumni discuss honesty in media

Last Wednesday, in Commons lecture hall, 2014 alumni Ryan Struyck and John Muyskens participated in a Q&A. Struyck now works at ABC News and Muyskens is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer for the Washington Post.

Muyskens began the discussion by breaking down the role of the today’s media. He stated that the three part government is actually four parts, with the fourth part being the press. It is the press’ duty to report what the government is doing to the public; the press must inform the people.

Muyskens then introduced the concept of the “crisis in media.” There are currently major cuts at many local newspapers. With the rise of the internet, people no longer have to pay for most content. This causes companies to make less money, and journalists often lose their jobs.

Muyskens also discussed the frequent “legal attacks on papers.” Donald Trump proposed a law that would make it easier to sue the media. According to Muyskens, only 32 percent of Americans trust the media.

Struyck continued the conversation about distrust in the media.

“The number of young Americans who don’t trust the press is [shocking],” stated Struyck.

Struyck attributed much of young people’s distrust in news media to the rise of social media. The most popular social media site, Facebook, filters what pops up on a person’s individual news feed. Facebook only brings up articles and videos related to those that the user has clicked on before. This means that most people are generally only seeing one side of every story.

Historically, the media has played a large role in presidential elections. The current presidential election is no exception. Struyck stated the main reason Trump got major air time is due to people’s interests. Struyck also stated that the media’s reviews of Trump were scathing. He was not favored by the press.

Struyck stated that a Christian journalist’s call is to “pursue truth and justice and deliver that.” He added that the the media should also give voters the information they need to make wise decisions.

“Too often Christians fence themselves off from the world,” added Muyskens. “And that is not what we want to do. Journalism is a great way to reconcile these issues.”