South Florida journalists talk challenges in journalism industry

Close to 40 people attended the event held in the Majestic Palm Room.


From left to right: Senior editor for Politico Florida Sergio Bustos, managing editor at the Sun Sentinel Dana Banker, Palm Beach Post investigative reporter Lawrence Mower, and FAU journalism instructor Ilene Prusher. Alex Rodriguez | Photo Editor

Mackenzie Guiry, Contributing Writer

Local journalists gathered Wednesday to hold the second panel on “fake news” this week.

Panel members included FAU journalism instructor Ilene Prusher, senior editor for Politico Florida Sergio Bustos, managing editor at the Sun Sentinel Dana Banker, and Palm Beach Post investigative reporter Lawrence Mower.

“Fake news is not necessarily new,” Bustos said. “The challenge today is trying to decipher in a digital world where you’re trying to do a story very quickly and attaining quick facts.”

Prusher said she believes it comes down to competition and journalists not confirming that a story is accurate.

“Even seasoned journalists can fall victim to it,” she said.

Mower feels that the only way to get a response or confirmation on a story is to post it online, saying, “Politicians wait until it’s online to respond.”

The panel also talked about the popularity of clickbait “in this ‘fake news’ world.”

“You have to try to be engaging while still being ethical,” Banker said.

The Sun Sentinel managing editor added that while print news is fading, there’s “still money” in the industry.

The conversation then shifted to the changing field of journalism.

When it comes to combining video and traditional, print journalism, Prusher said, “In some ways I’m excited about this conversion.”

She said that she is also partially skeptical of video content’s accuracy because the people who produce and edit videos aren’t present for the reporting or writing of a story.

The panelists then predicted that real-time journalism through Twitter and video will become more and more prominent.

Politico Florida senior editor Bustos said, “We all still love a good story.”

The event was held in the Majestic Palm Room and had an audience of almost 40 people. It concluded the panel discussions on fake news that were part of the fifth annual Robert J. Bailyn Symposium on the First Amendment to celebrate national Constitution Day.

Mackenzie Guiry is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].