Sunday, April 19, 2009

Undocumented Professor of Journalism: Frank Sesno of CNN

In an effort to expose those working in the field without documentation, I will identify whether or not a journalist holds a degree in journalism or communications.

Why is this important?

It is important on two levels.

First, a formal education in journalism or communications lays the foundation for all work performed in the field. Lack of preparatory education in the field calls into question the validity of all work in the field, no matter how expansive and lauded that work may be.

Second, documented journalists have been taught in college to not only cover the who, what, where, when, why, and how of news, but they have also learned the reason why the Framers of the Constitution protected the press from the government in the First Amendment, and the role the press plays as the Fourth Estate by providing final checks and balances over the political process in the United States.

Journalist malpractice can thus be exposed through training or lack thereof.

Simply put, it is not the job of the press to hold one political party more accountable than another; it is not the role of the press to become part of the news it covers. It is the job of the press to objectively report the truth.
Frank Sesno is a professor of public policy and communication at The George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs and is a special contributor to CNN.

Sesno graduated cum laude from Middlebury College with an honors degree in American History 1977. He is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the Monterrey Institute of International Studies.

Sesno does not hold a degree in journalism or communications. It is also very troubling that, as an individual who has not received an education in journalism, he is also responsible for the education of future reporters.

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