Major Garrett of CBS Host JACC

Major+Garrett+of+CBS+giving+advice+to+attendees+via+zoom+at+this+year%E2%80%99s+JACC+convention.

Lorenzo Arce / El Paisano Media

Major Garrett of CBS giving advice to attendees via zoom at this year’s JACC convention.

Major Garrett, chief Washington correspondent for CBS News, was a Keynote speaker for this year’s JACC convention. Despite being held virtually, many junior college correspondents and advisors from across the country managed to attend Garret’s session to gain knowledge in the journalism industry.

“Journalism and Content are Antonyms”

Garrett began by clarifying the title for his session “Journalism And Content Are Antonyms”. He explains, “Journalism is not content; never has been, never will be.”. While journalism has the ability to alter perspectives and persuade the masses in a historic manner, content is little more than entertainment and general knowledge mixed with opinion. In recent times, many seek social media and other platforms for news despite inaccuracies and bias most content has.

Garrett stressed the importance of being factual in journalistic writing and reporting, a defining feature of the trade.  He explains being factual is what sets the best journalist apart from the rest. Garrett admits not everyone in his position is perfect when it comes to accuracy. He gave an example of himself when he recently aired an inaccurate statistic in his podcast “The Takeout”. When he  realized his error it filled him with dread but he corrected it and learned for his mistake. 

Another speaking point Garrett touched upon is how the journalism industry has changed since his first job in the 1980’s as a reporter in Texas. When his career began, most people in the newsroom were white men but began to diversify by the early 2000’s. With more people of color and women in the industry, journalism has reached places where others were unwilling to report on before. 

Q&A

Attendees asked many questions during the talk. One question Garrett answered was how best to combine social media content with journalism. He explained many who use social media for reporting prefer to post as an event occurs without having all the proper facts yet. Garrett admits he prefers to report on a story late but accurately then in the moment with only an idea of what events are occurring. 

Garrett was also asked what his best advise was to up-and-coming correspondents. He answered it is essential to be able to write quickly but accurately to keep up with deadliness. He also emphasized the importance of asking difficult questions in order to get accurate information.

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