Learning from the Monitor’s Example
On a snowy February night, Principia College hosted Monitor Night Live to a full audience in Wanamaker Hall. On stage with the paper’s editor, John Yemma, were the chief political correspondent, Linda Feldmann, and the politics editor and deputy Washington bureau chief, Gail Russell Chaddock. The Jerusalem bureau chief, Christa Case Bryant, participated via satellite.
“For 105 years, the Monitor has been committed to news that goes beyond the headlines, that seeks out people who are trying to bridge gaps, solve problems, and make a difference in the world,” explained Yemma. “Right now it seems especially important to break out of rigid positions, whether in Washington or the Middle East.” Hence the program’s title: “Breakthrough 2013: From Washington to the Middle East, Can Political Impasses Be Broken?”
Freshman Moriah Early-Manchester was pleased to see Wanamaker full despite a winter storm earlier in the day. “It would have been easy to skip it, especially since we had all been cozied up in our rooms for the snow day,” she commented. “This showed me that students are really engaged in the news and want to learn more about our country as well as the world.”
“I’ve always known that the Monitor is unique in the way it covers news,” Early-Manchester continued, “but hearing John Yemma share e-mails from new Monitor readers helped me realize how it uplifts thought about world issues and how this can benefit people around the world. I especially enjoyed learning more about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from Christa Case Bryant in Jerusalem.”
Yemma also shared an update on the Monitor itself, particularly its continued efforts to reach new readers through the use of leading-edge technology. Junior Stephen Purcell, staff writer for The Principia Pilot, the College’s student news magazine, appreciates those efforts. “I generally read the Monitor online,” he says. “It’s good that the iPad application is being improved, because I imagine there are a significant number of readers who would find portable access a much more enticing option than the online or physical format.”
Reflecting on the evening, mass communication professor Paul Van Slambrouck, who served as the Monitor’s editor from 2001–2005, underscored the impact of Monitor Night Live on student learning: “It shows students the importance of accurate information and clear thought and engagement. Monitor journalists demonstrate a willingness to address the world’s most serious challenges—and to do so with courage, humility, and even humor. I can’t think of better role models for Prin students.”