What I Learned in Journalism School

In this era of fake news, it seems like most anything goes.  Strange now to say, that wasn’t what I learned as a journalism student at NYU.  Fact checking was our honor system and, as I recall, no one dared to risk the wrath of Professor Ben Yablonsky. Another thing I learned at NYU is that there is a hierarchy to reporting the news. That is to say, the lead article of the day goes in the right hand column on the front page.  Admittedly, I still read “real” newspapers and, that is where I always look first. What I saw there on February 18’s issue of the New York Times gave me a jolt. The headline read: Familiar Targets Face Elimination in Trump Budget: Public Broadcasting and Arts Groups are on the Draft List of Cuts.”

The article went on to say that the Public Broadcasting Corporation (PBS), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) were all slated for elimination by the White House budget office. What had been rumored for months was now in the right hand column and certainly got my attention as it did back in 1994 when Newt Gingrich proposed a similar tactic.

New York State Senator Kirsten Gillibrand didn’t waste a moment rallying 24 senators to denounce the budget move. Their letter to President Donald Trump said in part the following:

“Programs offered through the NEA and NEH not only help Americans express their values and forge connections between cultures, but they also serve as important economic drivers. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that the arts and culture sector is a $704 billion industry, or 4.2 percent of the nation’s GDP. The nonprofit arts industry alone produces $135 billion in economic activity annually and generates $22.3 billion in government revenue. The arts spur tourism, prepare our students for the innovative thinking required in the 21st century workplace, and employ more than 4 million people in the creative industries nationally.”

Americans for the Arts encourages everyone to contact their Senators and House Representatives to let them know that you value the arts. ArtsWestchester also wants to hear your thoughts about #WhyTheArtsMatter to you: consider participating in our hashtag campaign and join the conversation: participants can post on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook by including the hashtag, @ArtsWestchester and their response.