September 24, 2020

By JODY ANDERSONJournalismDebate2

In the atrium of Conestoga College’s Doon campus some words were exchanged, you might even debate that things got heated at times.

Two teams of three first-year students in the print and broadcast journalism programs squared off in a debate about the ethics of publishing a story about a mayor’s son being charged.

Journalism law and ethics professor and debate mastermind Ken Peters explained the idea behind the debate and the process for team selection.

“It helps to show the rest of the college what we’re doing a little bit, give them a bit of exposure. Both classes picked their teams in a vote. It was strictly voluntary. I think  there was about nine people from each class,” Peters said.

“We gave them the debate topic about two weeks ago, they flipped a coin as to which side of the debate they wanted to choose. We have a cup we are going to award as well as a $100 cash prize.”

At the debate the teams went back and forth with points being awarded and pointed words. Some trash talk occurred and everyone on the debate teams seemed engaged and eager to win.

The atrium soon filled up with second-year print students who held signs that read, “Go print kids.” One member of the audience wore a mask of a horse head.

After the debate ended the broadcast team was named the winners.

“I thought both debate groups did very well,” Peters said. “I was very impressed with the quality of their arguments.

“I thought we had a good turnout from the different classes cheering on their colleagues. If there seems to be a move for it then maybe we’ll do it again next year and have it become an annual event. It’s a little awareness of what we do in first year journalism.”

Peters said after he initially came up with the idea for the debate he took it to Larry Cornies, journalism co-ordinator and one of the judges of the event.

“I’m really thankful for the support that Larry showed for it. We couldn’t do it without Larry, he got all the microphones and tables and the space for us. I was just going to have it in the cafeteria or some public area,” Peters said.

Jeff Pickel, a member of the broadcast debate team, said before the winners were announced that the debate went really well and he had a lot of fun. “(Win or lose) it was a good time.”

“It was just a fun thing to do. I think that’s the real reward,” he said.

Candice Agunday, a member of the broadcast team, said, “I think it sparked a rivalry. I think in years to come there will be a rivalry between broadcast and print.”

Nataleigh McCallum, a member of the print team, said after the debate, “They had good points. I would still not run it (the story) but that’s just my opinion.”

Joshua Bury, a second-year print journalism student and one of the judges of the debate, said the broadcast team was able to get his vote because “the print team spent most of the time responding to the points of the broadcast team.    When you let the other team dictate the narrative I think it’s really hard for you to get your point across.”

Cornies said he thought the event went well.

“We had some good students make some good points, we had a great cheering section and judges who were thoughtful and took it very seriously. It was a great afternoon.”

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