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Journalist tells students to focus on the issues

Journalist, producer and Democracy Now host Amy Goodman encouraged students to stand up for what they believe in when she spoke at USF on Monday night.

Before her speech, Goodman, exhausted from her extensive book tour, stopped at each table during a cheese and wine reception.

In the speech that followed, Goodman referenced leaders of historical movements, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Frederick Douglass.

She opened with an in-depth reference to President Barack Obama’s administration and his journey to the White House. She spoke of his diverse history and Michelle Obama’s family’s history of slavery.

Goodman questioned the ethics of national security in the United States and addressed torture, human rights and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

She also talked about her violent arrest during the Republican National Convention, where she said police violated her journalistic rights, and implored students to seek the truth within the world.

“If you are looking to cover issues, it is getting at the root,” she said. “It’s not about PR, it’s about studying issues.”

Goodman said the independent media are oppressed and spoke of the rule of mass media over public opinion.

She emphasized the importance of independent media and grassroots movements allow the “bare truth” to be illuminated in issues such as torture, single-parent health care and war.

“All that media gives us (is) static. What we need is the media that covers power not for power,” she said. “We have to be apart from, not a part of, the establishment. Hold those in power accountable.”

As an independent journalist, Goodman referred to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the need to report on such issues from all possible points of view.

“This is about the media that has abrogated its responsibility,” she said.

She also advocated for journalistic protection.

“We have to protect the journalists — the eyes and ears of the world,” she said.

After her speech, Goodman signed copies of her third book, Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times.

“The book shares the stories of ordinary people you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley if you were violating human rights,” Goodman said.

She told the crowd of students that it is important for them to know they are not alone.

“You don’t have to do it alone,” she said.