COMMENTARY: Post-election talk and settling into the new office… With today’s commentary about the government and the American People, here is MTSU Professor of Journalism Larry Burriss…
Verbatim of Commentary (Above Audio): “Now that the mid-term elections are over, the winning incumbents and newly selected officials are settling into the routine of formulating policy decisions that will be the basis for the day-to-day operations of the local, state and federal governments.
Many of these officials are promising changes and perhaps new directions in the solutions to problems they all claim we are facing. In that light, I have a few suggestions for improving the traditionally rocky relations between the government and the press, and thus, by extension, between the government and the American people.,
The first is to schedule regular press conferences, and to do so fairly often. The last few administrations have promised a new level of openness, and have started by holding regular sessions with the press, but as soon as the going became a little rocky, have retreated from public scrutiny, and hidden behind an ever-thickening veil of secrecy.
The people want to know what is going on, and have a right to know what their government is doing. A related area involves the over-use of term "national security" at the federal level, and comments such as “Well, I can’t tell you just now,” at a myriad of local levels. All of these comments are usually a vehicle for hiding embarrassing information from the American people.
But given the proclivity of insiders to leak information to the press, there are really few things that can be kept secret for very long. Hiding information merely leads to rumor, gossip and distortion of the political and diplomatic processes.
The just-completed election campaign was a prime example of the triumph of style over substance. I would hope the new administrations realize slick television campaigns, press releases and media campaigns are not going to solve the problems facing our country.
If our elected representatives are serious about making changes in the way the country is governed, one place to start is with how the government and the news media interact with each other. And the winner will be the American people. - I'm Larry Burriss”
About Dr. Burriss - Larry Burriss, professor of journalism, teaches introductory and media law courses. At the graduate level he teaches quantitative research methods and media law. He holds degrees from The Ohio State University (B.A. in broadcast journalism, M.A. in journalism), the University of Oklahoma (M.A. in human relations), Ohio University (Ph.D. in journalism) and Concord Law School (J.D.). He has worked in print and broadcast news and public relations, and has published extensively in both academic and popular publications. He has won first place in the Tennessee Associated Press Radio Contest nine times. Dr. Burriss' publications and presentations include studies of presidential press conferences, NASA photography, radio news, legal issues related to adolescent use of social networking sites, legal research, and Middle Earth.
Dr. Burriss has served as director of the School of Journalism, dean of the College of Mass Communication and president of the MTSU Faculty Senate. He was appointed by Gov. Phil Bredesen to serve on the Tennessee Board of Regents. He was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force and served on active duty in Mali, Somalia, Bosnia, Central America, Europe and the Pentagon.
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