By James Kwon, RTDNA News
On the final day of Excellence in Journalism 2017, attendees quickly filled a ballroom for a session on covering a president who is hostile to the media. The panel featured CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta, Jeff Pegues from CBS, Christina Bellantoni from the Los Angeles Times, Adrian Carrasquillo from Buzzfeed News, and Margaret Talev from Bloomberg News.
Moderator Kyle Pope from the Columbia Journalism Review opened the discussion by asking the panel about the challenges of covering Donald Trump in the White House. Each panelist talked about their role of asking questions of the president, the press secretary and other White House officials about the day's news. They talked about walking a fine line between calling out the administration on issues and avoiding being "trolled" by the president on social media.
The polarization of the country has affected every panelist. Carrasquillo told a story of his initial difficulties with working with alt-right journalists in New York, and others talked about finding balance in their stories when some of what they are told by White House officials is demonstrably false, or when the president's statements conflict with the administration's official line.
The audience applauded several times when Acosta talked about the role of a free press in covering public policy. The last super session of the conference allowed some of the reporters working on the front lines to give valuable advice to journalists around the country on how to cover a president who continues to attempt to discredit journalists.