Adopt a Candidate Update, Charlie Sennott recap

 

 

 

 

 

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Standing Room Only Crowd Hears Acclaimed Journalist
Charlie Sennott Speak about the Search for Honest Journalism at Marching Forward Event

 Hugh Fanning photo

Hugh Fanning photo

 The Moot Courtroom at UMass Law School in North Dartmouth was full on the evening of February 15, 2018 as veteran journalist and entrepreneur Charlie Sennott shared his views on the current state of news reporting and the vital importance of keeping media independent, strong and honest.

“This country is the most divided it’s been since 1968,” said Sennott, adding that the biggest single cause, in his opinion, is that there are very few sources that the whole country can look to for truthful, unbiased reporting.

 Hugh Fanning photo

Hugh Fanning photo

Sennott’s passionate belief in the power of journalism was instilled early, when, at the ages of 12 and 13 he was riveted by the Watergate hearings. He determined then to make his career as a reporter. Sennott’s curiosity, energy and drive quickly distinguished him and propelled him to many opportunities, both in the U.S. and abroad. One of the reporters who has covered the story of al-Quaida all the way back to the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, Sennott has pursued the story with lengthy stints in some of the world’s most fraught trouble spots, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

In recent years, Sennott has come back to his home base in Boston, where he has pursued a number of entrepreneurial opportunities, both in both for-profit and nonprofit sectors, all based on his belief in the critical importance of supporting ethical, hard-hitting journalism.

GroundTruth.jpg

He is currently directing The GroundTruth Project, a nonprofit in association with WGBH, dedicated to supporting a new generation of journalists and to increasing knowledge and understanding on critical global issues. Sennott described exciting projects fostered by the organization, including a 2016 cross-country van trip to some of the country’s most troubled spots, undertaken by a hand-selected group of promising young reporters in search of stories that would help us all better understand our country. The partnership with WGBH enabled Charlie and his reporters to tell their story on a broad national scale, and so to help the nation begin to understand the many serious issues that divide our country, increasingly, into disputing tribes, unable to understand or reach each other.

 Hugh Fanning photo

Hugh Fanning photo

It is this tribalism, Sennott warns, that is the biggest risk to the world today. “We are literally in a tribal moment where we can’t identify with things that exist across that divide. You can’t be nuanced in this divided moment.” He added, “I don’t want to alarm anyone unnecessarily, but I want to warn you…. I have covered so many conflicts where I go to a place like Mitrovica, a divided city in Kosovo where there is a river. Serbs on one side, Kosovar Albanians on the other…..They got along fine. There was no problem for decades and decades and hundreds and hundreds and thousands of years. And suddenly, it became tribal. And they never could explain how did their country erupt into war. How did it erupt into this tribal conflict?”

Sennott fears that our country is at risk of facing a similar moment, a similar crisis. But he believes, “we can get through this.” And he believes that the way to get through this time of division, mistrust, tribalism, is for every American to unite in a shared regard for the truth—to protect the right of the Fourth Estate to pursue its mission.

report.for.america.1.jpg

The GroundTruth project has also established a new endeavor, Report for America, a new model to support and encourage a new generation of journalists to service, reporting in under-covered corners of America where daily newspapers are under-staffed and under-resourced. Like City Year, Teach for America or Code for America for journalists.

For more about the GroundTruth Project, please visit: thegroundtruthproject.org

Posted by Katie White