Campus & Community

Estlow Center hosts conference and honors journalist

Renee Montagne, host of NPR’s Morning Edition, told a crowd of nearly 200 students and community members at the Cable Center that she has dedicated her career to telling untold stories.

Montagne was the keynote speaker and recipient of the 2008 Anvil of Freedom Award, which was presented to her April 17 at the Estlow Centerconference “Untold Stories: Truth and Consequences.”

“This award is given to an outstanding journalist who highlights diverse or disadvantaged communities,” said Lynn Schofield Clark, director of the Estlow Center.

Through her stories on NPR, Montagne brought a face to homeless people in California, gave a voice to residents of Afghanistan and highlighted disparities in treatment between white and black students involved in a high school fight in Jena, La.

“Journalists should engage respectfully when they interact with people,” Montagne said. “Journalism can only be about the truth; you cannot focus on the consequences.”

Hanna Evans, a second year student at DU’s Graduate School of Social Work, said she was intrigued by Montange’s comments because she sees how social workers deal with the consequences, positive or negative, after a [social work related] story.

An intern at the local nonprofit Empower Colorado, Evans came to the one-day conference to find ways to promote social justice.

“I want to find ways smaller nonprofits can create bigger change,” Evans said.

Evans and other conference attendees heard how they could affect change through new media. During the workshop, “YouTube and Do it Yourself Media” speakers from Denver Open Media showed how anyone could create their own programming.

Adrienne Russell, assistant professor of mass communication and journalism studies, said this type of new media is revolutionary.

“The traditional broadcast model doesn’t have faith in the public,” Russell said. “Denver Open Media will manage from afar and let the community do it.”

Workshops included sessions on multimedia storytelling, sessions with professionals from Colorado Public Radio, theRocky Mountain News and Denver Post, and a session that places the University’s involvement in Project Homeless Connect in a context for academic reflection. Discussion in every area revolved around changing media.

“Every cultural industry must work it out on their own and figure out how to remain viable,” Russell said.

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