A QUESTION OF FACTS PROMINENT LIU ALUMNI WORKING IN MEDIA WEIGH IN ON THE CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIRS
rom smartphones to social media, there are more ways of disseminating information than ever before, allowing breakthroughs in reporting once inconceivable. These developments extend the reach of truth, yet the public’s faith in long-standing institutions appears to wane with each passing month. The present distrust of media, either exaggerated or understated, is pernicious, and threatens to undermine the bedrock of civil society. The free press, as protected by the Constitution, shoulders the responsibility of uncovering and heralding truth to the country’s otherwise preoccupied citizens. “Most people have millions of things going on in their life. They’re not interested in journalism, they’re just interested in information,” said Brian Kilmeade (Post ‘86, B.A.), a popular television and radio show host for Fox News. With accusations of fake news coming from every location on the political spectrum, the reliability of facts can no longer be taken for granted.
Even those covering more entertaining fields, such as sports, music or pop culture, lament the declining veneration for journalism. “There’s a lot of people who truly believe it’s opinion and speculation, and that you shouldn’t trust reporters,” Alan Hahn (Post ‘93, B.A.) said. Hahn wrote for the school’s student newspaper before going on to Newsday. He currently works for MSG Network and ESPN. “It’s a really scary time,” Jessica Dimmock (Brooklyn ‘04, M.A.) said. “It’s a frightening idea that people have been made to feel that they should discredit or be suspicious of the rigor that goes into journalism.” Dimmock is a prominent photographer and filmmaker, and winner of The Infinity Award for Photojournalist of the Year from the International Center of Photography in 2014. Her book “The Ninth Floor,” which documented heroin addicts in Manhattan, claimed 1st place in Multimedia at the 2007 New York Photo Festival. Of course, no cloud lacks a silver lining, and the new era of digital media offers future generations unprecedented, exciting opportunities.
Athletics and a strong communications program attracted Brian Kilmeade to Long Island University. He credits his days on the men’s soccer team as foundational for learning time-management skills and discipline. Kilmeade believes that the superfluous content inundates all parties, increasing competition for attention. “To break through is harder,” he said. “If everyone’s got an iPhone, that means there’s a lot more competition.” While ambitious freelancers may overlook the value of a earning a degree in the field, LIU’s global network of 260,000 alumni boasts a litany of accomplished individuals in virtually every branch of professional media, many of whom work just a short train ride away from campus. “Life is connections,” Kilmeade said. “If you can sit across from somebody and they say they graduated from your college, it helps.” Moreover, as Long Island University grows in prestige, so too does the camaraderie among graduates, Kilmeade believes. “I think there’s an additional pride now. The combination of merging campuses helps,” he said. “I’ve seen a constant upgrade since I left. A lot of people have noticed it. LIU is on the move.” As for heralding truth in contentious times, Kilmeade points out that, from a commercial standpoint, restoring trust and resuscitating endangered media goliaths go hand in hand. “First and foremost, you’ve got to be telling the truth.” he said. “We’re not going to exist if we’re not credible. You want to have headlines that get people to watch and click, I get it, but if the stories aren’t true, you’re not going to keep that audience, and no one makes money.”
LIUMAGAZINE | Spring 2019