Christine Tracy talks retirement, journalism

Journalism professor Christine Tracy will retire at the end of the 2014-15 school year after 10 years at Eastern Michigan University.

Tracy has worked both as a journalist and in public relations. She was the press aid for the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park in Hyde Park, N.Y. She describes her work as a press aid to be, “a PR’s dream job.” She also worked as a reporter for the Norristown (Pa.) Times Herald.

One of Tracy’s books is “The Newsphere: Understanding the News and Information Environment” which she wrote as a different type of textbook.

“[I wanted] to push the genre of the textbook. I wanted to write a book that my undergraduate students would be compelled to read,” Tracy said.

Julie Mann, an honors student of Tracy’s introduction to journalism class enjoyed the text book written by Tracy.

“I believe that if we can change the way we consume the news, we can change the way it is created,” Mann said, referring to what she learned from Tracy’s “Newsphere”

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French philosopher, scientist and priest, is one of Tracy’s major influences and inspiration for “The Newsphere” and her second book, “The Mystic of The Everyman.”

She believes that in order for journalism to grow and be successful critical thinkers, good writers, original reporting and confidence in pursuing investigative reporting need to stay.

“Journalism is a passion as well as a social practice,” Tracy said.

She said that the reason the field is struggling right now is because people are consuming junk news.

She named three areas that need improvement in journalism. The first is more innovation.

“Legacy practices are constraining innovation,” Tracy said.

She said more data-driven and fact-driven reporting makes for better news in general. She said the news needs to get a better grip on the facts of any given situation that is being reported.

The second area that needs to change and improve is the need for more original reporting, according to Tracy.

She talked about how the Ann Arbor Chronicle recently closed publishing after a six-year history. She wished that the Ann Arbor Chronicle and other papers had more support to keep working.

The final area she talked about was a need for “valuing of the news.” This is a responsibility of the consumer need to genuinely support quality news.

“It is hard to identify good journalism,” Tracy said.

Her final thoughts about teaching at EMU were about the connections she has made with students.

“When I can bring my best self into the classroom and be warmly or even critically accepted by students…that is as good as it gets,” she said.

Upon Tracy’s retirement at the end of the school year she will be further researching Chardin and journalism in general, expanding on her insights of the journalistic profession, going back to reporting and writing more.

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