Notes on the Keynote

By Tommy Hamzik

So, obviously, sexual assault is a pretty big issue around college campuses right now. Which makes me even more ashamed that I haven’t been following it as closely as I probably should.

I’ve read some stories on it and seen reports and statistics, but it’s not something I’m following all the time. So, I didn’t really know what to expect going into today’s keynote session, “Campus Journalists Can Help Stop Campus Rape.”

I learned a lot. The biggest takeaway I had was in terms of interviewing survivors. They have a very complicated relationship with reporters, which is understandable. It has to be extremely tough to trust someone you barely know with such a deep story. The interview and story can be empowering or traumatic and triggering. The biggest advice was to not be aggressive with survivors and to give them some control in terms of what the story is going to be.

It was crazy to hear that Columbia’s student paper didn’t want to publish stories on this issues because it was worried about shattering its relationship with the administration. That’s just something I don’t think about too often, I guess. I’m glad George Joseph found a way to tell the stories he’s told through other media outlets.

Sexual assault and domestic violence is a big issue in sports right now, too (i.e. Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson). It’s a very hot topic and one that, unfortunately, will be around for a while. It’s important we all educate ourselves about it and how to cover it.

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