Collegium Civitas students meet LA Times editor

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On October 20 the participants in the course “Terrorism and the Media” met online with Mr. Michael Ottey, assistant editor on the national/foreign desk of the Los Angeles Times. Mr. Ottey has been a professional journalist for more than 30 years covering politics, foreign affairs, security issues. “Accuracy and ethics” – he said answering the question on the most important guidelines for journalists.

During the meeting on October 20 Mr. Micheal Ottey spoke with the students about the beginnings and the development of his career in media. The participants were especially curious about his work in Beijing where Mr. Ottey was largely responsible for the content of the newspaper’s World section of “China Daily”, but also had questions about his work for American media outlets. The students were interested what it takes to write a good story. Mr. Ottey shared with them his experience and insight emphasizing how important it is to observe, to listen to people and to give ‘color’ to the story by describing the setting and background. Travels were also one of the topics of the meeting as the guest visited 100 countries of the world!

Michael Ottey  began his professional journalism career at the Cape Cod Times in Hyannis, Massachusetts, where he worked as a municipal reporter, covering crime, politics, environment and urban planning. In 1987, he left the Cape Cod Times and took a job at the Asbury Park Press in Neptune, New Jersey, where he reported on several towns on the Jersey Shore. He then switched from reporting to the copy desk. He was hired by the Oregonian in Portland, Oregon where he worked as a reporter, editor and columnist. In 2001, he joined the Miami Herald as a senior general assignment reporter.

He then became the Herald’s foreign correspondent for Latin America and the Caribbean, covering regional conflicts, politics and producing feature stories. He was one of the first reporters to take an assignment at Guantanamo detention center in Cuba. He left the Miami Herald to set out on a global adventure on his own terms, completing travel to more than 100 countries and all 50 U.S. states. One of those journeys took him to China, where he spent two years working in the International Department at China Daily in Beijing, where he was largely responsible for the content of the newspaper’s World section. It also gave him an insider’s look at state-run media, something that always intrigued him.

Mr. Ottey is currently an assistant editor on the national/foreign desk of the Los Angeles Times, where he oversees content on the newspaper’s website and print. His responsibilities include managing a team of national and foreign correspondents around the world. He’s been at the Times for almost four years. He lives in Los Angeles. Ottey majored in English and Journalism and minored in Africana History at City University of New York. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army, and a distinguished journalist who has garnered several journalism awards.

The seminar “Terrorism and the Media” led by Dr. Katarzyna Maniszewska is designed to deepening the understanding of the role of the media in the broad context of terrorism and countering terrorist threats, enhancing writing skills. In addition, the students take a look at the history of the media and the ethics of journalism. During the seminar participants analyze examples of media coverage of terrorist attacks, write short op-eds and press articles on terrorism and have the unique possibility to meet experienced journalists and reporters from different countries.