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Two companies are preparing to file what could become one of the most influential defamation lawsuits ever seen in this country. The companies are Dominion and Smartmatic, which have endured weeks of allegations that they helped Democrats rig the election for Joe Biden. There is no evidence that the companies worked to steal votes from Donald Trump, but that has not stopped Fox News, Newsmax, and OAN from continually airing claims that the companies are corrupt. Now the companies want damages, and it could change the way media companies think about airing political propaganda.

Our guest helps us understand defamation and its impact:

A new photojournalism course at RIT is exploring how to tell stories of addiction and recovery. Participants include photojournalism majors and people with personal experiences with recovery -- doctors, counselors, family members of people who have lost their lives to overdose, and people who are currently in recovery. You can learn more about the exhibition here.

This hour, we talk about how the subject of addiction is covered -- and often stigmatized -- in the media and popular culture, and how they hope their work will change that. Our guests:

  • Graham MacIndoe, photojournalist and adjunct professor of photography at the Parsons School of Design at The New School
  • Susan Stellin, writer, journalist, and adjunct professor in the Journalism and Design Department at The New School
  • Chris Pridmore, author and blogger who is in recovery
  • Cheyenne Boone, photojournalism student at RIT

21 years ago this month, the NAACP was advocating a boycott of the major television networks. That's because the networks had just released their fall schedules. 26 new shows would be hitting the airwaves that year, and not a single one of them featured a star or prominent character of color. For African American leaders in particular, enough was enough. The networks promised to change. In some ways, they have: there are more African American and Latino leads than ever before. But in many other ways, the industry has not changed much at all. As the LA Times reports, there are very few executives of color at the networks, and while the networks are pledging support of the Black Lives Matter movement, African American actors have their doubts.

This hour, we explore representation in media. Our guests:

  • Calvin Brown, Jr., executive producer of "The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder"
  • Tina Chapman, director of diversity theater at RIT
  • Chris Thompson, engineer, writer, comedian, and activist
  • Darnell Hunt, dean of social sciences, and professor of sociology and African American Studies at UCLA

Journalists have debated whether to carry President Trump's daily coronavirus briefings live, or to cover them later in the day only after vetting his comments for accuracy. Conservative author Tom Nichols has decided that someone must chronicle every presidential briefing, and so that's what he does. He writes, in the Atlantic, that the practice of consuming these news conferences is "spiritually corrosive," but he says they must be viewed, in full, to get a complete picture of what the country is experiencing. And Nichols criticizes networks that cut away from the president during the Q&A sessions.

Nichols has become one of the most respected national voices on the subject of understanding expertise. He joins us to discuss journalists' dilemma and why he's taken on this task. Our guest:

During the season premiere of the PBS Kids’ show “Arthur,” Arthur’s teacher, Mr. Ratburn, got married. The episode, “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” featured the wedding of Mr. Ratburn and his partner, Patrick. The show is the latest in a series of children’s television programs and books to highlight diverse characters and inclusive storylines.

This hour, we discuss the value of inclusion on screen and in print – as well as behind the scenes – and the learning goals for children. Our guests:

  • Lesli Rotenberg, chief programming executive and general manager for children’s media and education at PBS
  • Cara Rager, manager of educational training and family engagement at WXXI Education
  • Leslie C. Youngblood, author of “Love Like Sky”
  • Ed Popil (Mrs. Kasha Davis), local drag performer and children's book author

The Rochester Association of Black Journalists (RABJ) is celebrating 15 years as an organization. Since its inception, it has worked to bring diversity into newsrooms and to ensure balanced coverage of communities of color.

This hour, we discuss RABJ’s achievements to date and the state of diversity in media. In studio:

  • Richard McCollough, chief meteorologist at WDKX, founder of Mirusmedia, and president of the Rochester Association of Black Journalists
  • Erica Bryant, columnist and reporter at the Democrat and Chronicle
  • Kevin Hicks, journalist and vice president of the Rochester Association of Black Journalists

A recent piece in the Atlantic Monthly explores the efforts parents of color are making to shield their children from negative stereotypes. It highlights how many parents curate books, entertainment, and toys -- either eliminating or adding certain types of media -- with the goal of empowering their children and exposing them to positive images of characters that look like them. Parents say it's a challenge, and the results are mixed.

We hear from local parents who share their experiences and what they hope will change. Our guests: 

  • Leslie C. Youngblood, author of Love Like Sky, and aunt
  • Pastor Darryl E. Carter, senior pastor at JHKM Inc., and parent
  • Rodney Fields, parent
  • Shaun Nelms, associate professor at the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester, superintendent of East High School, and parent

As more women are speaking out about sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace and beyond, women in the media industry — specifically, television news — are sharing their stories of how they’ve been harassed by viewers. It’s a pervasive problem, with women discussing how the men and women who watch them make inappropriate comments about their appearances, clothing, personalities, and more. Anchors and reporters say the comments are offensive, disgusting, and racist.

We’re joined by local reporters who share what they’ve experienced. Our guests:

When reports surfaced that not even BuzzFeed was meeting its earnings targets, young journalists might have wondered: is there a future in this field for me? BuzzFeed has been among the hottest media properties. If the strongest players are struggling, what does that mean for students considering journalism as a career?

We discuss job prospects and the news media landscape. In studio:

We convene a panel of journalists to discuss how things are covered and what is covered at all. Megyn Kelly from NBC News took a lot of criticism when she decided to interview conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. And what about journalists who have interviewed Richard Spencer, the white nationalist?

Our panel discusses who journalists should interview and why. Our guests:  

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