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The year 2020 has embodied a timeline of uncertainty and tension across not only the United States, but the world as a whole; with a global pandemic, an uprising social movement and a divided country. This has turned the people to the media more than ever. The theme throughout this year, despite the uncertainty, has been hope. Hope that the country will find a vaccine. Hope that the president elected will improve the country. Hope that everything will be back to “normal” soon. As a junior studying journalism and political science, I too find myself hoping for all of these things, but know that I have a certain responsibility in regards to my future profession and the people of America.

Donald Trump’s presidency has been everything but normal for reporters. Professionals in political communication have had to shift from reporting from the White House press secretary to daily tweets made by the president. As an aspiring professional in political communication, I see this not as a challenge, but as an opportunity for future journalists to adapt to the ever changing world of journalism. I often consider this past presidency as a specific experience for everyone involved. Whether you are working in political communication or an American citizen, everyone has had to adapt. This leads to the question that has been burning my mind. How would I have reported and worked on this presidency as a professional?

Throughout my time at the Greenlee School of Journalism, I have observed that bias is looked at as one of the major sins of journalism, right behind plagiarism. During Trump’s presidency, the country has seen a tremendous divide between the two major parties which has led to a biased attitude by not only American citizens, but also professionals in political communication. If I was in the position to cover Trump’s presidency, I wouldn’t hope to refrain from personal bias, but I would know that I would do everything in my power to refrain from any biased work. That is really the true demise of political communication as we know it. When reporters begin to input their opinion in factual pieces, political divides grow at a powerful rate. Presenting the facts as accurately as possible gives the opportunity for American citizens to make their own opinions instead of the media feeding them their opinions. That is the responsibility that all journalists promise to embody when they go into political communication. I hope that in the future, my work is looked at as a straightforward outlet for people to form their own opinions without the help of my own.

The social responsibility for professionals in political communication is to do what is best for the American people. I hope that with the current education and experiences I have had, my work in regards to the presidency would embody the American spirit of freedom. Freedom in forming opinions without the help of the media. Freedom for opinions to be respected and encouraged instead of fed through the straw of the media. I will take the responsibility for doing what is best for not only America, but for the world.

About Teagan Gara

Teagan Gara is a junior at Iowa State University, majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and Political Science. She is an intern with the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University. After graduation, Gara plans on exploring political communication and hopes to use the Sidey Scholarship as an opportunity to gain insight into the industry.