Katy Tur discusses democracy, fairness and the job of journalists in 2022

Katy Tur discusses democracy, fairness at Gitner Symposium

The MSNBC correspondent visited SU for the first annual Deanne Gebell Gitner Storytelling Symposium.
Published: October 19, 2022
Katy Tur speaks during the Gitner Symposium on October 18th, 2022.
Katy Tur speaks during the Deanne Gebbel Gitner Symposium in the Hergenhan Auditorium on Tuesday afternoon.

Katy Tur, best-selling author and MSNBC anchor for “Katy Tur Reports,” joined journalism professor and director of the Newhouse D.C. program Beverely Kirk this Tuesday in the Hergenhan auditorium to discuss journalism in the partisan age. This was the first annual event for the Deanne Gebell Gitner Storytelling Symposium, established in honor of the late mother of associate professor Seth Gitner. Gitner delivered the introduction of the event, a heartfelt message for his mother, who the event honors, and father. After his opening remarks, Kirk launched into her discussion with Tur. She opened the conversation with one main question:

“Can journalism survive this partisan era?”

Katy Tur signs a book at the Gitner Symposium on October 18th, 2022.

Katy Tur talks to a student at the front of the book signing line before the Gitner Symposium on Tuesday.

Katy Tur speaks during the Gitner Symposium on October 18th, 2022.

Katy Tur speaks to Beverly Kirk during the Gitner Symposium on Tuesday.

“Maybe,” Tur replied. She outlined what partisan means in this political climate and explained that often journalists will be called biased and partisan just for calling out what is truth and conspiracy. Tur also discussed the challenge of being a journalist at a time when so much of the country denies demonstrable truth.

Throughout the interview, Tur stressed the importance of honesty and fairness, along with media literacy. Knowing the difference between opinion and fact is vital, and it is the job of the public and media to work together to establish the truth, even if it is something they don’t agree with.

“Information is sometimes very uncomfortable, it is not our job to make you comfortable, it is our job to give you information to make the most educated decision possible,” Tur said.

One solution to this issue, according to Tur, is teaching real journalism as early as elementary school. As the media continues to grow, the need for literacy expands with it.

Katy Tur speaks during the Gitner Symposium on October 18th, 2022.
MSNBC's Katy Tur speaks to the crowd at the Gitner Symposium.

Tur also dove into her complicated dynamic with Trump during his campaign. She described how Trump called her out for coverage he found unfavorable, launching her into the national conversation. Tur reflected on an instance when Trump publicly called her out at an event – as a result, Tur was verbally harassed by his supporters.

“He wasn’t just running against Clinton, he was running against the press,” Tur explained.

When asked about her opinions on what is to come in 2024, Tur claimed that journalists may well be covering democracy on the brink. She questioned whether or not our country’s political system can withstand another assault, with so many candidates looking to uproot our foundations.

“[We will be] reporting on potentially the end of this society as we know it… end of democracy as we know it,” said Tur.

Students walk down the stairs at the end of the Gitner Symposium with Katy Tur on October 18th, 2022.
Students walk down the stairs at the end of the Gitner Symposium on Tuesday.

Despite this prediction, Tur made it clear that she was not trying to be alarmist. Instead, she offered advice on how to navigate this turbulent time in journalism. Tur stated that journalists have prevailed through tough times before, and the industry will continue to do so. She also gave advice to young audience members just entering the media world.

“This business, if you are a curious person, this business is the best thing you could do, we are at the forefront of history in the making, and there is no better job than a journalist,” said Tur.

In her final statements, Tur delved into her personal life, and how she has been able to navigate a demanding job and maintain a life with her family. When asked about how she found the balance between work and home, Tur laughed and simply said, “You shouldn’t have a balance when you’re young. Surrender to it, be consumed by journalism.” She emphasized the importance of standing up for your needs and advocating for yourself in the workplace. Tur claimed that a successful work-life balance is possible, but when you’re young, “You don’t need it. It’s just a lot of fun.”