The news media’s increased use of video footage provided by “citizen journalists,” often shot with cell phone cameras or small handheld camcorders, is a “terrible thing,” veteran news anchor Ted Koppel said during a visit to Fordham University on Monday, Sept. 24.
“I do not dispute that they play a useful role, but I think it’s a huge mistake because the Internet and these non-solicited reports can also be used by organizations that want to circumvent normal safeguards that a traditional news organization has in place,” said Koppel, who addressed an audience at the McNally Amphitheatre on the Lincoln Center campus. His presentation was part of an event sponsored by the Fordham University Graduate School of Business Administration Center for Communications and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Koppel, former anchor of ABC’s long-running news program,Nightline,and current managing editor of the Discovery Channel, also discussed several hot-button topics, such as the decision by Columbia University to invite Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak at its campus. “It’s exactly what universities should be doing,” Koppel said. “The purpose of a university is to be a forum for provocative ideas.”
Koppel and his wife, Grace Ann Dorney Koppel (UGE ’60), delivered the commencement address and received honorary doctorates of humane letters, honoris causa, in 2003. Ted Koppel has won every major broadcasting award in his long career, including more than 40 Emmys and Peabody awards.