The Maroon News’ annual Milmoe Workshop in Journalism brought acclaimed journalist Ann Curry to campus to discuss climate change and the future of journalism on April 22.
Curry has 40 years of experience in journalism, during which she has notably covered Middle Eastern conflicts, genocide and climate change, among other topics. She has worked as an international correspondent and anchor for NBC News, and she is the recipient of seven national news Emmys and numerous Edward R. Murrow awards.
The two-part event began at 4:30 p.m. in Benton Hall, where Curry gave an exclusive workshop on journalism to the Maroon-News staff. Curry shared her 12 tips for best journalistic practices, calling them “hard-won lessons from 40 years in journalism.”
The main theme of her tips was that the journalist’s job is to tell the truth, which Curry defined as “verifiable facts.”
“The truth is the best story—you can’t make it up,” she said.
The event continued with a discussion open to the public, which took place at 6:30 p.m. in the Colgate Memorial Chapel.
Editors-in-Chief of the Maroon-News, seniors Karrie Spychalski and Mara Stein, introduced Curry for the “fireside chat,” which was moderated by Russell Colgate Distinguished University Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies, Randy Fuller.
The pair discussed the responsibilities of climate scientists and journalists to communicate the impending issue of climate change.
“The problem has always been that it’s not a visual, but we need to get our cameras there because it’s happening now,” Curry said.
In 2015, Curry did just that by reporting everywhere from the Arctic to Florida in an hour-long NBC News special titled “Our Year of Extremes: Did Climate Change Just Hit Home?”
Curry told Fuller it is the role of journalists and scientists to work together to get the truth to the public.
“That’s why I’ve tried to give people like you [climate scientists] a microphone,” she said. “It’s not a political story; it’s a scientific story.”
Despite having had to fight to get media coverage of the issue, Curry said she feels hopeful about future generations’ willingness to keep fighting to actualize change.
“[Humans] have faced terrible challenges and we have always risen above them,” Curry said. “All that I have learned has convinced me that if you look at humankind from the wide view of history, it is impossible to not see that we are moving two steps up, one step down. And still we rise.”
First-year Jessica Livney said she felt inspired by what Curry had to say.
“A lot of climate scientists and journalists have a very gloom and doom perspective when it comes to climate change,” Livney said. “But I loved the faith she showed in our generation and the hope she installed in all of us.”
“I’m actually very hopeful about this generation,” Curry said. “I think you’re all that and that’s why I was excited to come to Colgate. Your generation and the ones following will be key in creating real change.”
Curry said that all individuals can make meaningful contributions to the world around them.
“I think we all have a role to play in helping humanity rise,” Curry said. “How do we awaken to human rights, as we did to women’s rights, African American rights, gay rights, transgender rights, all of it, and then fall back asleep? We don’t. We are awakened.”
As a journalist, Curry said she sees herself as playing an important role in this “awakening” process.
“I’ve dedicated my entire life to telling stories that will make people awaken,” she said.
At the end of the discussion, audience members asked questions of Curry, who went over the allotted time frame for the question-and-answer session in order to ensure everyone had the opportunity to speak.
The event was co-sponsored by the Colgate Maroon-News and the Kerschner Family Global Leaders Lecture series. The Milmoe family, who funded the Maroon-News’s contribution to the event, previously brought journalists Ronan Farrow and David Fahrenthold to campus in recent years.
Contact Kirby Goodman at [email protected]