The First Amendment: what it means to a student journalist

As stated by the constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment is nothing new to a journalism student in her fifth year of college. Most journalism courses I’ve taken have even begun with an entry quiz, “name your first amendment rights.” Despite how much I’ve studied journalistic laws and ethics, I’m constantly reminded of just how valuable they are to me as a journalist (and budding photojournalist), and why as a student I’ve been ingrained to know my journalistic rights, and realistically, limitations.

This lesson in particular drove home the lesson that the First Amendment doesn’t make a journalist untouchable by the law — not by a long shot. It doesn’t give a journalist the right to manipulate the truth (also an ethical issue) or interfere with a story. Even if you are directly obeying your First amendment rights, you run the risk of police interference, as we’ve learned from countless examples including the Lima tank plant incident involving Toledo Blade reporters. This was also seen with the journalist arrests during the Ferguson unrest. Good journalists are still arrested in 2015, and police may overstep their legal boundaries. In these cases, knowing your journalistic rights and freedoms is not only an academic suggestion, but a legal necessity.

Another point driven home by this week’s lesson was the ethical responsibility of journalists to cover the truth, regardless of how downright depressing the content may be. We do this because journalists have a fundamental responsibility to the public to accurately report information. Why? To give the public all the information they need to make informed, responsible decisions. Photographing a brutal drunk driving car crash seems crass and invasive, but it gives the public the truth and when presented with the disgusting truth of drunk driving, maybe they’ll think twice.

So, I’m still a student — why am I choosing a path that could lead to such headaches, heartaches and potentially life-altering consequences? Because, as put by Lori King, “Depressing news is the price we pay for democracy.” A free press is not the product of democracy, but the requirement. There is not a democratic nation without a free press.

Twitter Scavenger Hunt: getting comfortable with social media

Modern journalism and Twitter go hand-in-hand. Students entering the new journalism world in 2015 need to feel comfortable quickly and efficiently using Twitter to provide man on the street style reporting and connect to readers. WSU students studying producing online news were thrown into the world of social media with a Twitter scavenger hunt, forcing them to quickly get comfortable with the app, connect to other students and faculty, and get past the awkwardness of talking to a total stranger. Not only did we learn where students were studying, and snagging a bite to eat, we learned where (or if) they’re reading news, and how they use social media to connect to the world around them.

Who’s that girl?

Lexi Trimpe has spent the last four years studying journalism and combining her passions of writing, food and entertaining. While writing for Hour Detroit Magazine, beginning in 2015, she worked with a variety of talented, Detroit-based food entrepreneurs and writers. Her article entitled “Food Porn Illness,” which featured local food photographers are blogger’s tips and suggestions for amerature food photography, appeared in Hour’s August 2015 “Foodie” edition, and was eventually featured as a segment on Fox 2 Detroit morning hour.

She has also covered various events for the magazine, as well as her university newspaper, The South End. Trimpe began freelancing as a production assistant for major Detroit art-based events in 2012, working with the Detroit Creative Corridor Center. A self-admitted foodie, Trimpe documents Detroit’s emerging culinary playground through her professional blog, as well as her experiences and visual observations while living in the city. She can also be found on Instagram @thewestvillageidiot or contacted at ltrimpe@gmail.com.