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March 20, 2017 10:33 PM

Journalism Renaissance?

Sioux Falls, SD

Politically, there are a lot of things that divide us, but most of us can probably agree President Donald Trump is an outspoken leader. 

Throughout his presidential campaign and even now during his time in office, the commander-in-chief hasn't been shy about voicing his thoughts about the mainstream media. We decided to ask some younger journalists whether that's influencing their decisions to go into the field. 

"It's not for the faint of heart. It really isn't," Augustana University senior Jacob Belgum said. 

Those are the words of someone who often finds himself in a race against time. 

"We publish once a week," Belgum said. 

Belgum is the editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, the Augustana Mirror. 

As Belgum and his fellow students relay the stories affecting students, a different story surrounding the media is unfolding across the nation. 

Major news outlets have been dubbed "fake news", even the "enemy of the American people" by President Trump. 

The national conversation surrounding journalism comes as a surprise to student Andrea Conover, only she says it started even before a new president settled into the Oval Office. 

"When I decided to major in journalism and I started getting reactions, even before all of this started happening, people would kind of say, 'Oh, journalism.  That's kind of the enemy, you know?' Or, 'That's controversial,'" Conover said. 

Janet Blank-Libra has highlighted the issue in her own classes at Augustana University. 

"For example, the president of the United States is saying the media are 'the enemy of the American people.'  We're going to talk about what that means to be cast in that light and why that means we have to hold ourselves to higher standards.  That we have to be, more-than-ever, rigorous is the way in which we do that," Blank-Libra said. 

For student Kaylyn Deiter, the criticism is more reason for her to put her writing and storytelling skills to the test. 

"No matter the person's classification, like Republican, Democrat, Christian, Muslim, Black, White, I just take it as a challenge to try to understand and empathize with that person and tell their story truthfully and accurately because I think our country is so divided right now that that's what we really need right now is that empathy and the understanding," Deiter said. 

Kelli Volk: Does it make you any more hesitant to go into the profession?
Belgum: No, not at all. If anything, it would make me want to do it more.

"I don't think that anything that's happening now is going to scare them away. They have think skins, they are passionate, and they will go out there and do the work that needs to be done and they will do it well," Blank-Libra said. 

If you ask Belgum, the buzz surrounding national media just might ignite a new fire under the industry. 

"It would seem like it's getting weaker by the year in terms of the market for it, but this could almost in theory signal a renaissance in people's interest of getting the real news," Belgum said.

So for now, Belgum and the rest of his fellow journalism students will keep racing the clock to deliver the news. 
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