RTDNA will be the canary in the coal mine for journalism conferences in September, when it convenes in Denver without the Society of Professional Journalists, its longtime partner. Executive Director Dan Shelley discusses plans for navigating the live event amid the Delta surge and the most pressing dangers and prerogatives facing journalists as unsteady times continue and attacks on reporters persist.
Since attacks on journalists dramatically escalated last year, station groups have tightened safety protocols and veteran reporters are going into potentially volatile environments with escape routes at the ready. Even after 2020’s violent crescendo, journalists must be constantly vigilant against threats that “can happen spontaneously,” says Ruschell Boone, a reporter with NY1.
It is a welcome respite, to no longer hear terms such as “fake news” and “enemy of the people” emanating from the White House. But this is no time for complacency among journalists across the country who work hard every day to serve their communities by seeking and reporting the truth. There are still major challenges that need to be addressed.
Dan Shelley, executive director of the Radio Television Digital News Association, took to USA Today to call out Fox News Channel for its interviews with President Donald Trump — conducted by Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson — following his joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but praised Chris Wallace’s one-on-one with Putin.
Every single day, in Washington, D.C., and every other city in America, there are responsible journalists working hard to hold the powerful accountable, to serve the public by reporting stories that often serve as catalysts for positive change, and who strive to live up to the exalted Murrow’s standards: “To be persuasive we must be believable. To be believable, we must be credible. To be credible, we must be truthful.”
Reports of the death of local journalism are greatly exaggerated, says RTDNA’s Dan Shelley. “I tend to view what’s happening now just as part of another cyclical shift in the business of journalism. We have seen this movie before. Waves of deregulation or other kinds of sea change have happened in the past, and journalism has adapted. While the previous waves did produce adjustments — which some skeptics and cynics still deride at every opportunity — the industry did, in fact, evolve. And guess what? The public is still being served well by the Fourth Estate.”
I was struck this week by two inside-baseball journalism stories following Monday’s Mueller investigation bombshells that spoke, tangentially but notably, to what I have often said about a main obstacle in our industry’s ability to regain the trust of the public: The conflation in many information consumers’ minds between responsible journalism and the opinion media.
Longtime RTDNA member and former chairman of the board Dan Shelley officially assumed his duties as executive director of the association and its foundation this morning. Shelley has served as incoming executive director of the two organizations since April.
Dan Shelley, the incoming executive director of the RTDNA, says the new Voice of the First Amendment Task Force will look to give better air cover to hardworking journalists under unprecedented attack for doing their jobs.
The veteran journalist and longtime member of the association’s board is succeeding Mike Cavender, with the official transition coming in September at the group’s Excellence in Journalism conference.