At the end of our water boot camp for journalists on Friday, participants left thinking about a variation of this theme: “California water policy: It’s complicated.” But after nine intensive workshops throughout the day, most said they are now better prepared to cover water issues in the Golden State.
The boot camp at Fresno State was sponsored by the California Water Institute and the Institute for Media and Public Trust. We have been working with the Water Institute on ways we can leverage the strengths of our two organizations to increase our region’s knowledge of water issues, and help prepare journalists in covering those issues. The boot camp idea came out of those talks. We think it was a success and we are going to offer other training for journalists in public policy areas.
The mission of the Institute for Media and Public Trust is to increase media literacy, develop strategies to identify fake news and find solutions to bridge the trust gap between media outlets and news consumers. We believe that helping to prepare journalists to better cover their communities is also a part of our work.
Since the Institute was established in June of 2018, we have held programs on free speech on college campuses, the five freedoms contained in the First Amendment, ethics for reporters, the challenges covering science issues in an era of mistrust and other journalism-related programs. We also are working with middle schools and high schools on ways to improve news literacy among young people.
Our work is not limited to traditional media. Digital sites, social media and other outlets that offer news contend also are part of our work as we attempt to take the broadest view of the issues that impact the news that the public consumes in the 21st century.
We invite you to join with us to work on these issues in our region.