#KnoxObama speech: Who to follow, what to look for

(I realize this is my inaugural blog post as editor-in-chief. So there’s that.)

TKS is gearing up for Obama’s speech at Knox College today, and here’s how you can follow along with the coverage.

I, along with Digital Editor Chelsea Embree and Copy Editor Gabrielle Rajerison, are in town to cover the speech. We’ll all be pretty active on Twitter, so follow our main account @theknoxstudent, I’ll be at @Charlie_Gorney, and you can find Chelsea and Gabby at @chelseeandsay and @likeserendipity, respectively.

You can also like us on Facebook, where we will be posting our coverage throughout the day.

Feel free to tweet us your questions and observations about the speech.

The speech

Though the exact contents of the speech have not been publicized, we do know the general topic: The Economy. President Obama plans to lay out his economic ideas that will invariably influence his economic policy plans for the rest of his presidency.

And we know that the choice of Knox College as the venue was a strategic move, as he may hearken back to his 2005 commencement address — in which he laid out his economic ideas about how the economy grows best “from the middle-out, not the top down.”

The speech will be streaming at White House Live.

Make sure to follow along throughout the day with The Knox Student.

On the subject of hats

BREAKING: I’m a Democrat.

By saying this, I have committed a horrible journalistic crime. Due to the need to remain impartial, journalists don’t usually publicize their political views. They don’t volunteer for political campaigns. They don’t display candidate swag. Many register as nonpartisans. Admitting that you belong to one party or another is tantamount to heresy.

But should it be? I don’t think so. And perhaps, as a politically involved individual, I’m rather biased on this account. But that’s the point: everyone is biased, regardless of what they say. Show me a person devoid of opinions, and I’ll show you a liar. As journalists, we try to present the news in the most objective way possible, and that’s a good thing, because people need to know the facts without them being colored by campaign staffs and super PACs. But even the details that we choose to include in a story indicate what we personally believe to be important. The way we punctuate quotations adds emphasis where we want it to.

I do a lot of political reporting. I like political reporting. As a student of political science, I like to think I have a decent grasp on political issues and can thus help explain them to non-political science people. And every time I write an article, I check to make sure I’ve included praises and criticisms of both candidates that are based on their actions, not my viewpoints projected onto their actions. I check to make sure that the general flow of political discourse in the media and in academia would agree with me (although the two are sometimes not reconcilable). I don’t want to be biased; I want to tell the truth and not tell it slant–but the world is what we perceive it to be, and we can never completely remove our perceptions from the picture. I am certainly not exempt from this. And I believe it’s okay to have a bias as long as you work to minimize it and as long you make it clear upfront where you’re coming from.

So I’m a Democrat. I’m not going to hide it. When I go to cover the election night party next week, I’ll wear my TKS t-shirt rather than an Obama one, but I’m still going to cheer loudly when Obama wins (crossing my fingers, although most polls agree with me on this one; sorry, GOP). The minute I’m done reporting, I’m going to Cherry Street to celebrate with my fellow Dems. It’s like wearing different hats: you take them on and off as you please, but the ones you don’t wear remain in your closet, still a part of your wardrobe. Hiding them doesn’t change the fact that they’re there.

When you’re reading an article, know what hats the writer owns. Know, but don’t think that the presence of a political one inhibits the writer’s ability to convey useful information. As humans, we all have a perspective, a vantage point from which we see the world. And that cornucopia of perspectives is an excellent thing–not a skeleton in the closet.