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Expert Advice

Albany Times Union editor on campus


03/18/2009

Through the Hardman Lecture Series, MCLA welcomes two leading journalists of our time to campus each year to meet with students for in-depth discussions. Last fall, we heard from New York Times Columnist David Brooks, who presented a personal look at presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama.

This spring, MCLA welcomed Rex Smith, editor and vice president of the Times Union in Albany as our 2009 Hardman Journalist-in-Residence. In this capacity, he will make three presentations to the MCLA community.

The first, a lecture titled "Ethical Foundations of Journalism," took place on March 4 in Murdock Hall. During the lecture, he told students that the "commandments" of journalism are to seek the truth and report it fully, act independently, minimize the harm a story could have on a subject or source and to honor the transparency of sources.

"One person's truth may not be another's," Smith said, explaining a time when the Times Union covered a story about a New York legislator. The legislator claimed he had turned the economy around. When the Times Union later researched the validity of the quote, they found his claims to be inaccurate.

"The reporter must have the energy to go forward and [seek the truth,]" said Smith. "Simply telling people what happened yesterday is stenography. That is a trade. Journalism is a craft," he explained.

Smith will return to campus on April 14 to present a lecture and workshop on community journalism. Then, on April 23, MCLA students will visit the Albany Times Union for a site visit, editorial board meeting and a tour of the newspaper's facility.

The Hardman Journalist-in-Residence is supported through the generosity of the Hardman Family Endowment.