Gov. Inslee ‘worships first amendment fighters’

The panel consisted of Gov. Jay Inslee, Admir Rasic, Dr. Hershel Zellman, Gloria Ochoa, and Fr. Jim Voiss, hosted by Tracy Simmons of Gonzaga University.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee (D WA) visited Gonzaga University on Friday, where he participated in a panel discussion among members of the Spokane community. The members of the panel, Admir Rasic, Dr. Hershel Zellman, Gloria Ochoa, and Fr. Jim Voiss, are each advocates for various racial, ethnic, or religious minorities in Spokane.

The audience of the panel consisted of only journalism students and professors. The topics discussed — conscientious journalism and responsible reporting in this time of political and ethical controversy.

Inslee’s opening remarks aimed to urge the audience of future journalists to fight for their profession, calling them ‘first amendment freedom fighters.’

“There has never been a time in our nation’s history where journalism and journalism schools have been more important,” he said.

The other members of the panel emphasized the need for journalists to be informed about the topic he or she covers, and educated about the specific terms relevant to the issues at hand.

Spokane attorney Gloria Ochoa explained the importance of avoiding using insensitive terms such as ‘illegal aliens’ instead of ‘undocumented person,’ in order to humanize the subjects and stories that journalists cover.

Dr. Hershel Zellman, former Spokane family medical doctor, profoundly claimed that “truth that isn’t spoken can be just as bad a lies that are spoken.”

Expanding on Zellman’s point, Inslee said “I don’t believe you can have a healthy democracy unless it’s fact based.” And he echoed the panel’s desire for a healthy exchange of ideas without the extreme polarization of today’s media.

“I hope that we can have rigorous debate without violence,” Inslee said.

The event, lasting about an hour in Gonzaga’s Hemingson auditorium, served as an inspiration to students who hope to change the way journalism operates in society.

“I hope messages from the panel about a common set of facts and knowing what terms actually mean get across to young journalists like us who can change the media landscape,” said junior broadcast journalism student Spencer Martin.

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