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Interesting Lectures and Seminars

Probing the Essence of Journalism
"Journalism Changes Society - Theory of the Reporting Process -"

Maho Hashimoto
3rd year student at the School of Political Science and Economics

As the name implies, this lecture reveals the process of reporting that cannot be understood from reportage or finished works. The lecture is conducted by professional journalists. These journalists consist of recipients of the Waseda Journalism Award in Memory of Ishibashi Tanzan, as well as journalists who were active last year. Since the instructor changes each time, the style of the class and themes raised also differ weekly. The topic of last week's lecture was investigative reporting, and the next lecture focuses on reporting from combat areas. Due to the wide variety of topics, one can sense just how broad a range of topics are the subject of reporting.

The most appealing aspect of this class is the ability to speak with professional journalists in an academic setting. In addition to a lecture given by the instructor, an opportunity is created for debate between the students and instructor. Students are able to directly confront journalists, raising questions regarding the essence of journalism and which type of reporting is correct. Furthermore, by listening to the lecture and asking questions, it is possible to hear the emotions felt by journalists during their coverage of news, in addition to the impetus and methods of news coverage. Every week, a long line is formed in front of the journalist after class.

Through this class, I felt that the question of "Why?" is constantly held by all journalists regarding the events that they are witnessing. This question sometimes accompanies the feeling of anger, such as in the questions "Why does this kind of injustice go unchallenged?" and "Why isn't a law developed?" The classroom is not a large classroom, so everyone in the room can share in the anger and emotion felt by the journalist. I myself have felt strong anger towards the exoneration of criminals, deceptive contracts, and the current state of Iraq. At the same time, I realized that no one would be conscious of the existence of these problems if someone did not report them.

I have always had an interest in journalism, but I have become more transfixed by the appeal of journalism as a result of taking this class. I encourage all students who wish to become journalists to enroll in this lecture.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)