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Tuesday September 21st

Chris Wallace talks covering Trump and career in journalism

The keynote speaker, Chris Wallace from FOX News, joined the lecture through a video call with the Carroll Auditorium.
Buy Photos The keynote speaker, Chris Wallace from FOX News, joined the lecture through a video call with the Carroll Auditorium.

Every year since 1999, the School of Media and Journalism at UNC has hosted the Park Lecture Series. This year Fox News anchor Chris Wallace gave the lecture over Skype. 

The first topic Wallace discussed was the current state of journalism. 

“The whole structure of journalism has just changed completely,” he said. “It was a very small world. There was a very straightforward path in journalism, but that has changed completely. It’s a more democratic system; there’s more variety in the system.”

Sophomore Sean Kurz, a global studies and journalism major, said he was especially interested in the observations Wallace made about how journalism is changing.

“I think it is very important for college students, especially at a school with such a dominant media and journalism program, to pay close attention to the fact that this career of providing information to different publics is constantly changing,” he said.

Because there are so many different news sources, Wallace said it's important to follow multiple subjective sources in order to arrive at objective truths.

“I don’t even agree with the idea that you have to look for news sources that agree with you,” he said. “I would say that almost everybody should find a news source that you like and you trust and find one that’s legitimate that you don’t agree with. By tracking the various lines, you arrive at the truth.”

Christine Scalora, a first-year masters student in strategic communications, said she was excited to hear from someone who has so much respect within the media.

“I used to be a reporter so I’m really interested in hearing from people who are from that world,” she said. “Obviously, Chris Wallace is an incredibly high level, and he has had some interesting experiences like moderating the debate or interviewing the president or all sorts of different things.”

Wallace addressed in his speech what it was like to cover President Donald Trump. 

“It’s kind of like drinking water out of a fire hose,” he said.

He said Trump is unique because he's unpredictable.

“It’s unlike anyone I’ve ever covered,” he said. “I have become, I think, a little jaded after 37 years here in Washington. I felt that I’ve seen it all. I knew how everything played out. But I’ve got to say, while covering Trump, I feel like I’m covering a president for the first time. You don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t think people in his own staff — or even he — knows what’s going to happen.”

Wallace emphasized that even though all of the credible news networks have different perspectives, they have to be on the same team in order to cover Trump.

“I think we have to stand together or (the government) will pick us off one by one,” he said.

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