An emerging theme at today’s FT Future of News conference in New York is the rallying of TV journalism to rise to the challenges of covering President Donald Trump. “Invigorating” and “exciting” are words being bandied about today.
But one media exec disagreed. “Depressing” is how the chief content officer at Univision Communications and Grupo Televisa described the current political media climate.
“We were the first ones to be attacked,” Isaac Lee said, “when Jorge Ramos was pushed out of a press conference. We understood early on that it was a danger to be a journalist and an immigrant.”
He continued: “In that sense, we understood early on how we have to cover this White House and this president. And I don’t find it exciting, I find it very depressing.
“We cannot afford to be neutral,” Lee continued. “We see our case as a news division that has to be a service, to stand up for a community that needs to be represented.” Later, he pointed to Univision’s coverage of ICE raids in the immigrant community and spreading information to viewers about their rights.
Lee shared a panel about TV news with Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, EVP of CBS News, and James Goldston, president of ABC News, both of whom took a shot from an audience question: “Why should Univision be the only network with a conscience?”
Responded Goldston: “I think we have a very clear view of what our job is. Our job is to tell people what the news is — that’s our job. If we attempted to be the nation’s conscience, I don’t think that would go down so well.”
Earlier in the conversation, Ciprian-Matthews addressed a related topic when she spoke of CBS’ firing of Charlie Rose after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced.
“It’s a national conversation,” she said when the subject was broached. “We can’t avoid it.”
“We took concrete steps after he was terminated,” Ciprian-Matthews said, explaining that the firing was discussed on-air, and the network conducted in-person training with employees. “We’re not done. Nobody can be done with this process.”
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