Race and justice journalist speaks to students on ethical professionalism
Students participate in an intimate discussion with renowned journalist, Auditi Guha. Photo courtesy of Daniel Nguyen/ Hofstra Chronicle.
Auditi Guha, a race and justice journalist for Rewire.News, shared insight on feminism, journalistic integrity and racial justice with students during an intimate talk held in the Sondra and David S. Mack Student Center on Tuesday, March 27.
Guha has had her work published in the Huffington Post, the Boston Globe and Associated Press, among other publications. She currently works in Boston as the Northeast Regional Reporter for Rewire.News, a nonprofit daily publication. The event, “Resisting Sexism and White Fragility,” was co-sponsored by Hofstra’s Queer and Trans People of Color Coalition (QTPOCC) and was moderated by their president, Ja’Loni Owens, a junior public policy and public service major.
"In terms of spearheading it and finding our speaker and layout and stuff, that was all Ja'Loni," said Britt'ny Brown, a graduate assistant for Intercultural Engagement and Inclusion (IEI) at Hofstra.
"I wanted to do an event and have some professionals of color to come to speak to us," said Owens. "We talk about representation all the time, but we don't actually do it. To have somebody who's doing work, especially being a journalist of color and an immigrant right now giving advice on journalism – that's just really valuable."
Guha began the event by speaking about advocacy and the role college journalists can play in it. "One thing that's heartening is I feel that advocacy has taken itself seriously after many years," she said.
“The emotional trauma she [Guha] has to go through by exposing racism and injustice is more than anyone can imagine,” sophomore psychology major Fiona Murray said. “It goes to show her strength and dedication to work that is so important and the strength of everyone who gets involved in this type of journalism.”
In response to Owens' question on advice for student advocates, Guhi said, "Write everywhere. You have blogs now. Go online, make a profile, start writing. Your biggest friend will be your portfolio. Reach out to whatever publications you like to read. Local newspapers are struggling, they're dying for writers. I bet if you pitched them a story that matters from your campus, they'd let you write it for them."
Guha, who studied journalism in India, spoke on the historical differences of the occupation in the country.
"Journalism in India has a very different history than journalism in America,” she said. “In India it started out of the Freedom Movement from the British, and almost every politician and Freedom Fighter doubled up as a journalist. Nehru wrote in the papers, Gandhi wrote in the papers. Journalism in India is considered an activist profession. Nobody pretends to be ‘objective.’"
Guha emphasized that her decision to enter the field of journalism stemmed from a strong desire to tell the stories of common people, which is not always the case in America. “I feel that in many ways, mainstream journalism in America is basically a voice for people in power," Guha said.
The discussion concluded with a question and answer session where Guha addressed student concerns on job interviews, questions on diversity and the process of writing a piece. When asked how she prepares for an article, Guha explained that she engages in extensive research of her topic in search of a fresh perspective.
"I read everything,” Guha said. “If I'm writing about something I read everything that's been written about it so that I can have a perspective that's maybe different or find sources that are maybe different, because I feel like people say the same things in stories. Rewire really tries to find a different perspective in everything we write about."
“I thought that Auditi Guha spoke with frankness, seriousness, accompanied with wit and humor and encouragement to the student body listening,” said junior political science major Daniel Davidson. “She had words of courage to students aspiring to be journalists and facing adversity regarding race and gender.”