The battle waged between President Donald J. Trump and the media is creating historic opportunities for student learning and faculty research at the UA School of Journalism.
School Director David Cuillier, whose research, service and teaching focuses on press freedom, has been busy this past month, wrapping up a study for the Knight Foundation on the state of freedom of information where he surveyed and interviewed more than 300 journalists and experts. The report will be released March 12.
“One reporter told me it’s going to be a ‘backyard brawl’ and he was right,” Cuillier said. “This is an amazing opportunity for students and the public to see just how important journalism is for democracy.”
Cuillier recently provided advice for reporters in a Quill magazine article, “Trump to make FOI great again” (pages 19-20). He lists 10 ways journalists can “push back at all levels of government, whether covering the White House or town hall.”
"Frankly, we're starting to see press oppression. Journalists are being singled out just for doing their jobs," Cuillier said at FOIA Fest in Chicago, where he was the keynote speaker on Feb. 25. He also wrote a Feb. 26 column for the Arizona Republic: "Trump's attacks on the media attack us all" and an IRE Journal column, “Pro se power: How to sue for public records on your own” (pages 32-33).
Cuillier (center, in photo above) and Arizona Daily Star columnist Tim Steller analyzed journalism in the Trump era in a Feb. 17 PBS 6 television interview with Arizona Public Media’s Lorraine Rivera (8:45 mark). Cuillier, on the Society of Professional Journalists Freedom of Information Committee, is former SPJ national president and co-author of “The Art of Access: Strategies for Acquiring Public Records.”
“The current state of national affairs illustrates just how important the school is for training dedicated, skilled and ethical journalists,” Cuillier said. “We continue to do that every day, as we have for 66 years. It doesn't matter who is president – journalists are there to shine light in dark recesses and provide people information they need to self-govern. If there is any time for journalists to bear down, it is now.”
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