Mount Professors, Poughkeepsie Journal Editor Hold Election Round Table

Image courtesy of: Lee Ferris, Multi-media specialist/editor

By: Mike Reistetter

Communication Arts professors Dean Goldberg and Regina Pappalardo teamed up on Tuesday, co-moderating a round table with “Poughkeepsie Journal” Editor Stuart Shinske to discuss the media’s role in the upcoming 2016 Presidential Election.

Shinske, the Executive Editor and Director of Content and Audience Development at The Journal since 2006, often used metaphorical anecdotes to convey his stance regarding news media.

“The newsroom is like a deli — in order to run a successful operation, you’ve got to have coffee, sodas, candy, the stuff people look for,” said Shinske. “But you can’t compromise your ethics in order to provide it.”

The native of Long Island and graduate of Hofstra University engaged an audience that included upwards of twenty Mount Students eager to hear an insider’s perspective about the flaws with “Celebrity Journalism Culture.”

In regards to the current election, which has seen billionaire business mogul and non-politician Donald J. Trump pitted against former First Lady, Senator and Secretary-of-State Hillary Clinton, the trio of Round Table hosts were adamant in confirming the media’s reaching unprecedented levels in its ability to affect the outcome of the election.

“We’ve got the greatest reality show right now,” said Pappalardo, referring to the controversial state of the “he said, she said” competition between Clinton and Trump.

Pappalardo went on to emphasize how the propensity of the media to lament over the “cheering, ‘oh snap’ and ‘drop the mic’” moments has created an obsession the general public should treat with much more courtesy and omnipotence.

“The outcome of this (the election) is going to have a direct impact on what happens to us down the road,” Pappalardo reiterated.

Despite the potential criminal prosecution both of the United States’ major party presidential candidates face, Shinske and most others in the journalism field believe the media holds the ultimate power to sway elections.

Additionally, Shinske, Goldberg and Pappalardo agreed analytics are shaping the array of focal points this election chooses to evoke at any given moment.

“It’s hard to be a news hound right now,” said Goldberg, who once worked for political consultant pioneer and documentary filmmaker David Sawyer.  “(Now) the culture of meeting people halfway is gone,” he added.

Further discussion at the Round Table involved dissecting why overtly liberal news agencies like “The New York Times” confidently transcribed the infamous Donald Trump, Billy Bush recordings, warts-and-all, uncensored.

“Networks (and news agencies) are now transparent about where they come from,” Shinske revealed, also noting that the the never-ending “ratings race” is what has separate ends of the media struggling to find common ground with one another.

More generations represent the voting population set to cast their ballots on Nov. 8 this year than ever before. With arguably the most polarizing candidates in history, one would be hard-pressed to find optimism in any facet of the election, especially within the three record-breaking debates.

“(The debates) are supposed to be an informative discussion covering different contexts about issues that are meant to advance a democracy,” Shinske professed.

Many would tend to disagree with the general consensus that contemporary media leans liberal. But with the controversial baggage of both candidates being brought to the table diverting mass attention away from said candidates’ equally ambiguous platforms, many common citizens feel obligated to use social media as a means to advocate their stance.

However, the rise of civic, and in some cases, “vigilante journalism,” should not stride to deter political discussion like it has proven to do so in recent years.

“I look for the ability to think analytically,” Shinske said when asked what the criteria is for someone who seeks employment at The Journal. “You can’t write without thinking first.”