MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Headlines 2017 Insight Forum

Photo by Kaitlyn Koegler

Chris Matthews, former presidential speechwriter, congressional chief of staff, and longtime host of MSNBC’s Hardball, delivered the keynote address at the 2017 Insight Forum on Tuesday, October 24th in The Hub Ballroom. Matthews spoke about the need for an educated public that can tell the difference between “fake news” and serious journalism, offering advice and insights from his own career to the student audience.

Sponsored by the Department of Communication Insight Committee, the annual forum’s focus this year was “#RealNews2017: gathering, dispensing, and presenting news in today’s social-mediated world.”

After a brief welcome and introduction from Provost David Wu and Interim Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS), Robert Matz, Matthews kicked off the event with a quote from Thomas Jefferson:

“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them (1787).”

The important part, he stressed, is the second idea — that citizens must be “capable” of understanding the news in order to maintain a thriving democracy. Jefferson indicates that the role of a free press (and the people’s access to it) is potentially more important than government itself, but unless the public is able to tell fact from fiction it is meaningless.

So what to do in the age of “fake news”? Stay informed. Read newspapers. Do your own research utilizing reputable sources. Be skeptical, but know that facts are not open to dispute. Learn the difference between propaganda (that is designed to deceive) and news (that is designed to inform). Take in diverse points of view from serious journalists with a reputation for accuracy. Challenge yourself to seek out objective information outside the partisan echo chambers of social media — even if you disagree with it.

But most importantly, don’t become complacent. For you, as a news consumer and American citizen, have the right to demand excellence from the fourth estate and should settle for nothing less than the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.


Student Media Welcomes Macedonian IREX Fellow

Please join Student Media in welcoming Igor Stojanov, a visiting fellow from Macedonia, to the Mason community! Igor is currently participating in the Macedonia Media Leaders Program (MMLP), a professional development program for Macedonian journalists and media professionals that helps place them with host institutions in the United States in partnership with IREX (International Research & Exchanges Board). IREX works closely with the U.S. Department of State and is an international nonprofit organization “providing thought leadership and innovative programs to promote positive lasting change globally.”

Igor joined Student Media in early August and brings with him over ten years of work experience in Macedonia’s media sector. At his home institution, University of Stip, Igor serves as the editor-in-chief of radio and television, oversees the University’s websites, and provides professional photography services for the University. Igor is also a lecturer for journalism and public relations courses and directs the University of Stip’s student media programs.

Concurrently he is the Founder and Coordinator of the NGO OPENN, reporting on investigative news in Macedonia. Previously, he founded the youth online media platform, Balkan Youth Newsroom, and led 25 young journalists to create the online media site Additionally, he coordinated a project that involved hosting 15 public radio debates between youth and their authorities.

Igor hosts the The Megaphone Podcast

Igor has his Master’s Degree in Media and Communications and is a passionate journalist with an interest in community and science reporting. During his MMLP fellowship at Student Media, he hopes to gain experience in investigative, community and science journalism while working directly with aspiring and experienced journalists.

As part of his work at Mason, Igor has started a new podcast called The Megaphone to learn what motivates young journalists. Listen to full episodes at

MCN Student Honored at 59th Capital Emmy Awards

Student Media would like to congratulate Ashley Whimpey, creator and host of Mason Cable Network’s And A Kitchen Sink, for winning the Betty Endicott NATAS-NCCB Chapter Student Scholarship at the 59th Annual Capital Emmy® Awards Gala. Ashley was honored for her student broadcast work with MCN and presented with a $5,000 check by NBC4 anchor Leon Harris during the live, televised ceremony held on Saturday, June 24th in Bethesda, MD.

“Thank you so much! It’s awesome to see [my idea for a show] turn into something…and here I am!”

Ashley has hosted four seasons of her popular MCN show that the network describes as a “quick, witty, fact show that’ll leave your head spinning!” Each episode features a stream-of-consciousness series of facts and trivia, with every topic organically leading to the next before finally connecting back to the opening factoid at the show’s conclusion. Want to find out how the Queen of England is somehow related to Swiss cheese and how Swiss cheese is somehow related to power outlets? Click here to watch full episodes of And A Kitchen Sink on MCN’s YouTube page.

The National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter (NATAS-NCCB) of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is a non-profit organization that awards a regional scholarship each year in honor of Betty Endicott, the first female news director in Washington, D.C. Any full-time undergraduate or graduate student pursuing a degree in communication or broadcast journalism is eligible to apply for the scholarship, provided that they have at least a 3.0 GPA and are enrolled in a Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C. institution. Nominations for next year’s award open in January.


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