In with laptops, texting, Twitter, video cameras, tripods…
It was an uplifting and impressive story FGCU journalism students, Alex Pena and Maryann Batlle, together with their professor Lyn Millner, told Press Club members at the March luncheon.
Pena, had his own moments of fame, when he exposed what no other news outlet would expose: the ongoing killing of civilians, law enforcement and rival drug cartel members in Juarez, Mexico. Both ABC and CNN picked up his story. He was a little embarrassed to see how the story changed; being about him and his dare devil time in Juarez.
Maryann Batlle, managing editor of the University’s weekly student newspaper "Eagle News", talked about the vast possibilities and opportunities for journalists now. ”It will always be the balance between money and exposure – we need responsible people to watch over government and the corporate world.”
She added: "The news business has a bad rap right now. We can only counteract that when we bring back the old-school ethics of separating reporting from opinion – and make fact checking part of the business, again.”
Lyn Millner, associate professor of journalism at FGCU, and coach of her students, impressed us through her matter of fact, "this is the world" attitude. “Journalism degrees and skills are strongly needed, not only in the news business.” Millner added.
She seems to have an uncanny way of nurturing and supporting the passion and enthusiasm that radiates around Alex Pena and Maryann Batlle in their journalistic quest for stories, information and reporting.
Today's reporters face big expectations for technology skills by their employers. They need to be Swiss-Army-Knife Journalists. Writing and research skills are not enough any more. Handling the equipment is key. Batlle and Pena both work the technology day and night, armed with video camera, tripod, microphone, laptop, video editing software, smartphone. They are able not only to deliver the pieces but also to put them together and produce the product.
The event left "yours truly" very optimistic for the future. This new generation of journalists will succeed no matter the hurdles, the barriers, or the noise around them. They are leaders in the making.