CMI 2020 Annual Report


Learn more about the work of the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University during 2019-2020. If you want to be the first to know what's happening at the CMI, sign up for our monthly email newsletters:

Speaker Series

‘Fake news’ claim follows

Acosta to Playhouse

By Luke Mongelli

Speaker Series

Once Conte and Acosta opened the

discussion to questions from the

audience, here’s what was asked:

Q: What is the best advice you have for

aspiring journalists in college?

A: Keep at it. We need reinforcements. This is the

best time to go into the business, but it is very

competitive. Do not be deterred, and do not be

afraid to screw up.

Q: How is the media aiding in the

promotion of bias?

A: Fox News is running a propaganda operation.

But we (CNN) try to hold their feet to the fire no

matter who is in power.

Photo by Jason Cohn

Q: What is one of the most

noticeable changes between the Trump

and Obama

Administrations for you?

Jim Acosta, the Chief White House

Correspondent for CNN, spoke at the

Pittsburgh Playhouse on Feb. 6 for another

installment in the Media Innovations

Speaker Series.

Acosta was welcomed with open arms by

some, but others in the audience shouted

out with cries of “fake news,” and

“Infowars,” among other claims of hateful

intent, which Acosta quickly diffused.

“You mean the same Infowars that claims

that the Sandy Hook shooting didn’t

happen?” Acosta responded.

Acosta sat down in the sold-out PNC

Theater with Point Park students and

community members alike to answer

questions, address the events taking place

in Washington D.C. and analyze some key

points in the most recent years of his career

with the popular news network.

Acosta was the third of four speakers to

participate in the Speaker Series. Andy

Conte, the director of the Center for Media

Innovation, organizes each of the speaker

series events and moderates the speeches.

“It was really great, there was a lot of

positive energy in the room,” Conte said

about his overall feeling of the event. “The

message was on point with what we were

trying to convey, and it had that star quality

with it. It was by far the most successful

series, and is going in the direction that we

want the speaker series to head.”

The packed audience included several

students of the university who were thrilled

with Acosta’s speech.

“I thought Jim Acosta was a very good

speaker, he was very personable while

still being professional,” freshman cinema

production major Sara Waldman said. “He

covered many different topics surrounding

his career…and spoke about his time with

both the Trump and Obama Administration.”

Acosta previously covered the Obama

administration, and is currently

overseeing the Trump administration on

behalf of CNN.

“Working during the Presidency of Donald

Trump is a challenge unlike any other I’ve

experienced in my career,” Acosta said during

his speech. “Trump is shattering the norms of


Acosta stated that President Trump has often

referred to the press as “the enemy of the

people,” and in turn, Trump has painted political

journalism as a prejudice-heavy industry.

“I don’t bring bias to my job,” Acosta said.

“This misleads people to think we are out to

report fake news. Trump has not only

dehumanized the press, he has de-Americanized


Throughout the speech, Conte played videos

of some key moments of Acosta’s most recent

coverage during the last two presidential

administrations he covered. Acosta discussed

a video he recorded on his cell phone of

supporters of President Trump, giving him the

middle finger and yelling profanities at him.

“If they call us the enemy of the people, I want

to give them a chance to correct it. So I want

it documented,” Acosta said. Then, in true

Pittsburgh fashion, Acosta said, “we could use

a little more Mr. Rogers in this world.”

This article was originally published in The


A: I actually need bodyguards now, which is

something I never imagined I would have.

Q: How is the media changed by Trump

being the President?

“We are all

A: This will change over time. But the way the

media is portrayed today is a phenomenon associated

with this President

Americans. We all

Q: How do you put up with a

President who has put a target on your


A: It is not easy. You just have to get tough. One

time we actually got a pipe bomb sent to the CNN

headquarters in D.C, and it was scary. People

have threatened me, and my family, and it is

some of the scariest stuff I have ever had to deal

with. You just have to get tough.

Photo by John Altdorfer

need to capture

that again in order

to go forward.”

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