Steve Hammons is the author of two novels about a U.S. Government and military joint-service research team investigating unusual phenomena. MISSION INTO LIGHT and the sequel LIGHT'S HAND introduce readers to the ten women and men of the "Joint Reconnaissance Study Group" and their exciting adventures exploring the unknown. Both novels are available from the Barnes & Noble Web site, bn.com, and other booksellers worldwide. visit Steve Hammon's website at jointreconstudygroup.blogspot.com/.
Journalist teaches college class on cover-ups, UFOs by Steve Hammons
Posted: 11:00 December 15, 2009
How should journalists, the news media and informed citizens handle certain unusual and unconventional topics?
To try to find the answers, internationally-known and award-winning investigative journalist George Knapp will be teaching a journalism course at the College of Southern Nevada beginning in January.
The course, "Reporting from the Twilight Zone," will explore many elements involved in subjects that may be sensitive or secret, complex, strange, and at times, frightening.
Journalism students and professionals as well as the general public are welcome to take the course.
Knapp plans to include examinations of the roles of reporters, editors, news organizations, other media professionals as well as media consumers when it comes to topics such as alleged conspiracies, cover-ups and other unusual areas such as UFOs.
Is there peer pressure in the newsroom? Do elements of government shape coverage of certain topics, conspiracies and cover-ups? Do media owners and advertisers affect reporting on sensitive, unconventional or special topics? Are these kinds of subjects also exploited at times by and in the media? What are the current trends on this kind of journalism?
The class will tackle these and other important questions.
MODERN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM
According to the course description, Knapp, students and guests "will examine the techniques and standards of modern investigative journalism as applied to ‘fringe’ topics and will identify key approaches taken by various media to the exploration and/or exploitation of controversial subjects."
The course description also notes, "Another objective will be to question whether journalism standards for covering ‘fringe’ subjects are (or should be) different from other types of reporting. The course will explore these issues from many different perspectives, and will receive input from professional journalists, academic researchers, scientists, and skeptics."
"The course will encourage critical thinking skills for both journalists and news consumers in evaluating the quality and accuracy of the news and information we see, and don't see."
We might also ask: How do journalists cover topics on which there may be a lack of solid facts, yet persuasive sources, indicators or circumstantial evidence? How do citizens draw reasonable conclusions and understanding from a wide range of journalistic reports and other sources and media platforms?
In a Dec. 3 column he wrote for "Las Vegas City Life," Knapp also noted that the course is being sponsored by Bigelow Aerospace, based in Las Vegas. Knapp pointed out that the company’s founder, Robert "Bob" Bigelow, has "a lifelong interest" in subjects related to unconventional topics such as UFOs. In addition, Bigelow will provide funding for guest speakers and lecturers to contribute to the course, Knapp wrote.
Are these kinds of topics worthy of news coverage or even a college class? Knapp raises this issue in his "Las Vegas City Life" column. Some people may not think so. Knapp says students, media professionals and the public should make up their own minds and maintain a critical and careful perspective.
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