Ann Curry, news anchor for The Today Show and co-anchor of Dateline NBC, spoke about her work in international and humanitarian journalism yesterday at a lecture sponsored by The Women’s Leadership Initiative and the Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.
Curry, who headed to New Haven after anchoring yesterday’s Today Show, focused the talk on her role as a reporter and the future of journalism. She said her primary responsibility as a journalist — a position she calls a privilege — is to provide unbiased coverage of important stories happening worldwide to will help viewers form their own opinions of current events.
“There is a truth in everything,” she said. “I should give you enough perspective so that you can make your own judgment.”
Alexandra Suich ’08, co-vice president of the WLI, and Ali Jones ’08, a member of the organization’s newly formed steering committee, worked together to organize the event. Suich said the WLI seeks to bring women leaders to campus.
“[Curry] has done some incredible reporting from areas of the world about which it’s extremely important that our awareness is raised,” Suich said. “She is a powerful reporter, a compassionate person, who happens to be a successful individual and also a woman.”
Curry said that when she was working her first job in television, at KTVL in Medford, Ore., she was told that women have no news judgment. She then became the station’s first female reporter.
“There is still work to be done for women to gain full equality,” she said. “But the thing that you think is against you, whatever that thing is, is often the greatest fuel you have to succeed.”
Curry has reported from locations around the world including Baghdad, Sri Lanka, Kosovo and Darfur. She said while the work can be traumatizing, her “faith in the human spirit” has grown.
The talk was driven primarily by audience questions, some of which were critical of current news biases and practices.
Curry described growing up at a time when journalism was a positive force, and she said she understands why the industry is not perceived in the same light today. But she said that some of the responsibility lies with the American public. Many Americans do not seek to be informed of what they need to know, instead focusing on what they want to know, she said.
But WLI member Ali Frick ‘07 said she thinks the networks need to have more faith in the American public’s interest in what really matters, rather than just serving up more coverage of celebrity culture.
“I think she could have said that she just doesn’t have much control over what the network does,” Frick said. “Because it is a business, and she knows that, and I understand.”
Tamara Micner ’07, a co-vice president of the WLI said she hopes the WLI’s partnership with Poynter, which began with Curry’s talk, will bring more female journalists to Yale in the future.