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No. 38 • January - June 2004 • Page 93
 •  Initiatives

Sydney, (Australia) -- Truth or Sensation

Miranda Devine, a journalist for the Sydney Morning Herald, spoke to a group of 70 people in Creston College on the subject: “Truth or Sensation: the role of the media in the modern world.”
Miss Devine spoke on the journalist’s duty to investigate and report events with professional honesty, overcoming the postmodern skeptical focus in which truth is often viewed today. “Given the accelerated pace of technology,” she said, “journalists are tempted to fabricate news, quotes and even complete stories.” In her opinion column, Miss Devine said, she tries to give a balanced point of view. When writing about subjects that are technically or ethically complex, she said that as a non-specialist in these matters she first seeks advice and reads recommended background material. Then she puts down in writing what in conscience she sees as the two sides of the coin, concluding with her own opinion..
The speaker invited those present to respond to what they read by writing to journalists and editors. She considers her articles successful when she receives hundreds of e-mails, even if they are critical. “At least,” she said, “people have read the article, thought about it and taken part in the debate.” At times her positions in favor of Christian morality has made her unpopular in some circles.
Students of journalism, law, economics, letters, and medicine, as well as educators and parents, were among those present. The public conferences organized by Creston offer those attending the opportunity to broaden their outlook, develop a critical attitude towards the media, and reaffirm their commitment to search for the truth. They are also an opportunity to serve others, since all the residents take part in organizing the conferences.

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