The 28th annual National Conservative Student Conference kicked off Monday with speeches by Dr. Burt Folsom of Hillsdale College, former-House Speaker Newt Gingrich and from ABC’s “20/20,” John Stossel, among others.
The event, sponsored by Young America’s Foundation, runs through Saturday at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
An afternoon panel discussion, titled “Young Leaders of the Media,” featured Elisha Blankenship, producer for the “Sean Hannity Show,” Ramesh Ponnuru, author and journalist, and, representing HUMAN EVENTS, Amanda Carpenter.
The theme of the discussion could have been “Sage advice for aspiring journalists,” as the three panelists passed along guidance for a successful career in the media.
Blankenship shared some experiences that led her to the Hannity Show as a youthful 18 year old. A classic case of ability and opportunity converging, that is to say, luck.
But then, as Blankenship noted, luck is what you make of it. For example, working hard and finding an internship is the greatest stroke of luck a journalistic aspirant can find and the best way to make connections that will help in the job search after college.
Ponnuru offered some especially welcome advice to the roomful of students, who soon will face the hash reality of working for a living. His counsel was simple: There is money to be made in journalism.
He encouraged students, though, not to seek a career in the realm of opinion mongering and punditry, but to actually report the news – going out and finding stories to write about.
On the state of media today, Ponnuru said, “There is a move toward a more openly partisan media, moving back to a healthier model where we don’t pretend that we have no biases – we disclose.”
This is a welcome sign to many who see the American media as transparently liberal, though disingenuously claiming impartiality.
“Liberal reporters just don’t see it,” Ponnuru said of perceived media bias, “in the same way that fish don’t know they’re wet.”
The best way to change the media, Carpenter told the audience, is to “Be the media.”
The meaning of this is that conservatives have an innate ability to spot bias, but there must be a point when they stop reacting to other media and start creating their own, like HUMAN EVENTS has done since 1944.
“Don’t just respond to the New York Times and be a media parasite,” Carpenter said. “Tell people what they should know.”
In short, “Be the media.”