Be Relentless, Be Accurate, Be Fair – A Reporter’s Plea to the New Generation

On February 21 and 22, we welcomed New York Times journalist, Liz Robbins, to Florida International University to deliver keynote lectures at both the Modesto Maidique and the Biscayne Bay campuses. Over 100 students attended her lectures entitled “Truth and Immigration: Reporting on the Most Volatile Topic in the US Today.” Throughout her presentations, Liz Robbins shared with the audience remarkable stories of Dreamers, immigrants who are protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Many of the visual accounts she offered were heartbreaking, and we also bore witness to the power of courageous journalism. For instance, we learned about the time when her relentless efforts to unearth the truth brought to light that 1900 DACA applications were not going to be considered for renewal for missing the submission deadline. It was Liz Robbins’ reporting that helped the government realize that late application submissions had resulted from postal service issues. As a consequence of Liz’s efforts those impacted were allowed to resubmit their applications. This example embodies what good journalism is all about — relentless investigation and accurate and fair reporting.

Liz Robbins’ commitment to ethical journalism was not the only highlight of her visit to the FIU community. She invited us to embrace multiple perspectives and to collaborate with others in tackling society’s biggest challenges, and she shared her recipe to accomplish these goals. In her own words, “If I could leave you with this plea. Even if you don’t end up being a journalist, these are lessons we all can learn from reporting on immigration. Be relentless. Be accurate. Be fair. Be undaunted. MOST of all, BE human.” We thank her for reminding us that we can make a difference in the world, and that it is our responsibility to do so with respect for all.

The New York Times Speakers Series is an annual event hosted by the Office of Global Learning Initiatives to provide an opportunity for students, faculty, staff and community members to attend a keynote lecture given by a New York Times reporter.

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