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Meet Professor Anne Farris Rosen: An award-winning journalist

Anne Farris Rosen has been a journalist since 1980, and specializes in a range of topics, from politics to government, to legal affairs and to social issues at local, national and international levels. She is an award-winning freelance journalist, having worked for The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC, the Pew Research Center and the Rockefeller Institute of Government- you can say she has quite the experience.

Recently, she has contributed to the Pew Research Center and the Center for Public Integrity. She has worked as a reporter for a London-based documentary production company and is the editor of the book, Deep South Dispatch: Memoir of a Civil Rights Journalist. The novel is based off her father, John Herbers. He talks about his life and his experiences as a reporter for the south during the civil rights era. She is also a Domestic Print Finalist Judge for the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards. Rosen currently teaches a class called, News Coverage of Racial Issues at University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

I had the chance to speak with Professor Rosen, and here is what she had to say about the media and her career:

Why is your class, “News Coverage of Racial Issues”, so important for students to take?

“This is such a dynamic and exciting time in America and there is such a prevalent attention toward diversity. It impacts all of us, and you can just feel the growth. It is very rare you get to live in the growth of dynamic, changing history and that's where we are right now. Also, a lot of students are trying to find their place in this time in history and they can do that through this class with class discussions.”

Do you find after years of teaching this class, our media and race issues in society have gotten better? Worse? Why?

“I think the racial controversy has taken on a much large scope on our psyche in America. One reason is it’s fed and propelled by the dialogue of our politicians, some of who are race baiters and provoke the issue. Also, some of it is through the actions of people, whether it be violence or marches. We have seen an uptick in the actual news events that are occurring in our country. However, there have been some hopeful things that are also occurring. People are much more conscientious and aware. They are talking about racial issues, which needs to be done in this country in order for us to move forward. So I think that is all part of the dynamic times we are in.”

What do you hope is one thing your students take away from this class? What message or idea?

“I really continue to reinforce how important it is to be a critical consumer. Not just of the news, but any form of media, via entertainment, art, literature or advertisements. Being aware of when news or information is valid or not, is a new role we have to take on as Americans, which we never really had to do before. We have to be very selective, it’s like food, you need to choose what to eat.”

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

“I have to say my father. He had such influence on me. He was a highly respected journalist, for his credibility and for his perseverance and covering really important issues. And he was my editor as I started out as a young reporter. I would send him all my clips, and he would mark them up and put them in a big envelope and send them back to me. When I had questions about ethical decisions as a journalist, or the type of news attention I should give to something; he was a great sounding board for that. But he did it in a way that forced me to make my own decisions, instead of telling me what to do. He would raise issues or ask me questions and give some advice, but at the end of the day I would have to be the one to learn from him in a way that applied what I believed. That is so much more valuable than having someone tell you what to do.”

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