Chief Washington correspondant discusses how media has changed with political system

John Harwood, Chief Washington Correspondent of CNBC and political writer for the New York Times, spoke at the Creason Lecture on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 in Memorial Hall. Photo by Mike Weaver | Staff

By Amelia Orwick

John Harwood, chief Washington correspondent of CNBC and political writer for The New York Times, discussed Wednesday the changes within business and economics, and within the U.S. political system.

Every spring UK brings a distinguished journalist to address students, staff and the general public in a speech in honor of journalist Joe Creason. This year marked the 35th annual Creason lecture.

“Changes in the political system have now come to be absorbed and reflected in news media,” Harwood said. “All of the changes … over a long period of time, have eroded and destroyed the monopoly that a small number of media organizations have on the majority of information in this country.”

UK School of Journalism and Telecommunications director Beth Barnes and Harwood encouraged audience members to use their electronic devices throughout the lecture as part of Social Media Week at UK.

“I don’t even need a notebook all the time,” Harwood said. “I’ve got my iPhone and Blackberry always with me. I can tweet, I can write and I can file.”

Harwood said social media is helpful to presidential candidates when it comes to things like fundraising and crowd-building. However, he said it could also be troublesome.

“The danger is in the need for speed,” Harwood said. “The speed at which this whole news process moves is just breathtaking.”

To close, Harwood emphasized the importance of demanding certain types of media.

“If the people who are following the 2012 campaign … are going to demand the kind of information that will enable them to make real distinctions and have a real understanding of the political choices … then ultimately we will find a way in the news business to profitably deliver that information,” Harwood said.

Julia Myers, a journalism junior, agreed with the position Harwood took on the “need for speed” within the media.

“Most opinions that I’ve heard about the constant need for quick information have been positive, but I liked that he took more of a negative stance and thinks it’s lessening the credibility and the quality of the information,” Myers said.

Others say they enjoyed hearing Harwood’s discussion of politics.

“I like to see students getting politically engaged,” Anthony Limperos, a professor in the College of Journalism and Telecommunications, said. “As much as he talked about journalism, I thought it was a good crash course in some things that are currently happening in politics.”