Earlier this week, Northwestern University rightly heralded their journalism school’s laudable new effort known as the Medill Equal Media Project (MEMP). Put together over the summer by a group of students led by editor-in-chief Camille Beredjick (Class of 2013), the website filters LGBT issues through the prism of the 2012 Presidential election.
In a separate op ed by Beredjick for The Advocate, where she has interned, she explained why MEMP is such a big deal:
It’s easy to understand why LGBT media might be overlooked in a university journalism program. The curriculum often emphasizes national rather than community news. We’re taught from the beginning to be objective, leaving little room to acknowledge our LGBT identities in our reporting. Though some schools, like the University of California, Los Angeles, are home to LGBT-specific student publications, LGBT student media are pretty uncommon compared with general campus newspapers…
Our tagline, “Responsible Coverage of LGBT Lives,” reaffirms our commitment to a mission of journalism rather than advocacy. As a project covering LGBT issues exclusively, we anticipated qualms about our objectivity or ability to report “both sides.” We wanted to spotlight LGBT people in their own words rather than the words of their opponents, but knew we wouldn’t be good journalists if we pretended each story had only one side.
MEMP was made possible by a donation from Chicago attorney (and Medill alum) David Freedman. Among the stories posted on the home page is one featuring a retired U.S. Army Colonel who, after finally being allowed to wear his uniform this summer while marching in San Diego’s Gay Pride parade, is worried about what a Mitt Romney victory could mean to the Armed Forces’ recently gained LGBT rights.
Congrats to Beredjick, her fellow students and their two faculty advisors. This is a very well put together “summer project.”