author: Kaitlynn Nordal| Our Contributors
Canadian journalism legend visits University of Regina
This year’s 37th annual Minifie Lecture held on Jan. 23, entitled, “The Future of News,” was given by Peter Mansbridge.
Mansbridge started his journalistic career at just 19 years old in Churchill, Manitoba working for CBC radio. In 1975, Mansbridge became a reporter in Regina for CBC’s The National. Then in 1976, he moved to Ottawa to become the parliamentary correspondent.
On May 1, 1988, Mansbridge started as anchor of The National, and later also served as chief correspondent for CBC News. He would also host the talk show Mansbridge: One on One in this time. He finally retired from The National on July 1 2017, making Canada 150 his final assignment.
There was not an empty seat in the Education Auditorium on Tuesday night with even the dividers having to be lifted that usually segregate auditoriums A and B.
The night started off with opening remarks from Dr. Patricia Elliot, who is the Deputy Head of the School of Journalism. This was then followed by Dr. Rick Kleer, who is the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, giving a quick introduction of Mansbride with a summary of his journalistic career.
Mansbridge started off his roughly 45-minute lecture with the statement that “journalism is about what you are interested in, being inquisitive about it, and then taking what you learned and telling others who are also interested in it.”
Mansbridge got into the night’s topic by stating that what concerns him is that truth and journalism are under attack. He believes that fake news is a real issue, with false stories being passed on as real to promote a particular person’s ideas.
“False news is a threat to democracy and not done by people promoting real journalism. The free press must be held to the highest standards.”
When talking about politicians and people in an authority position, Mansbridge said, “Power unscrutinized becomes power unchecked and that when someone is failing to answer or is refusing to answer a question they are hiding something.”
He went on to talk about a tweet he posted only two days after Trump became president, and how between his flight taking off and landing it had accumulated a number of replies. One comment really stuck out to him and it read “‘it’s not that they lie, it’s that not enough people don’t notice or care.’ This is the ‘biggest threat to modern journalism,’” Mansbridge articulated.
Mansbridge finished his lecture by talking about how, as journalists, we must now arm ourselves for the fight of our lives, that the existence of journalists and real journalism is built on the truth, that journalism is not a popularity contest, and that being credible is the most important thing. We as not only journalists, but as consumers of news must battle fake news with facts and common sense, and that educating ourselves is one of the most important things.
“Real journalism can change the world. We must knock on doors, talk to people, and travel to the story”.
After finishing his lecture, the floor was opened for a questions and answers section. When asked, Mansbridge talked about transparency being one of the most important things and, as journalists, we must check our biases at the door the best we can. The best way to keep our own biases in check, he suggests, is by “doing research on counter arguments to your own point of view and see how convinced you still are on your own particular thoughts.”
He stated, “Not calling out lies means there will be a day where there is more and it makes them more okay. The role of the media is to tell the truth and we tell the story the best we can with the facts we have and when it is relevant.”
After the Q&A portion of the night was over, Mansbridge stayed for an extra fifteen minutes or so for a photo-op and quick chat.