Not since the days of “yellow journalism” have consumers of media had to navigate such jagged terrain as what is the modern media. Though there are many ethical and balanced news sources out there, recognizing which ones are trustworthy can prove to be a challenge for many. In order to address this huge social issue, The Applied Ethics Institute at St. Petersburg College welcomed Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter and best-selling author Sharyl Attkisson to the Music Center on the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus on Sept. 26.
Attkisson was joined on stage by Ethics Professor Nicholas Manias, and the two discussed topics such as media ethics, vaccines, media literacy, and her newest New York Times best-selling book, The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote.
Associate Director of Learning Resources Rebecca Frank said this event taught her to compel herself to always see both sides of a story.
“I want to use my best judgment to decide an issue,” Frank said. “I always like to check the credentials of the author or presenter, check out sources they use and look for their bias and my bias, and then put my best judgment forward. I really appreciate the Ethics Institute for putting this event on.”
Manias said it was a highly beneficial event.
“Our students were introduced to ways to be better critical thinkers when it comes to media and social media,” he said.
The crowd, which included more than 200 attendees, was comprised of SPC students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the community. The event was also live streamed on the internet in real time, where it was viewed on 150 devices. Attendees also lined up for a book signing after the event.
“It was nice to have members of the public on campus where they could see what we do, as well as interact with SPC recruiters,” Manias said.
This event was part of the Goree Memorial Lecture Series, which is in memory of Keith Goree, who was a longtime faculty member on the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus before taking over leadership of the Ethics department. It culminated a week of activities for SPC’s Public Safety, Public Policy, and Legal Studies Career and Academic Community, which encompasses the Applied Ethics Institute.