Tennessean Editor Inspires Communication Students
By Shayla Simmons
Meter Staff Writer
“I got into the business of journalism to change the world.”
That was how Michael Anastasi, executive editor of The Tennessean, captivated his audience: The Meter staff, as well as interested Mass Communication students and faculty.
Like most other speakers Anastasi began by sharing his professional history, what ignited his passion and drove him to continue on in his rise to greatness. His climb up the professional ladder began early, graduating college at 19.
He began by sharing a satirical anecdote on his first assignment covering the local courthouse, which resulted in an editorial on insufficient police training. Anastasi also shared the recent accomplishment of being awarded a 2015 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting for his Los Angeles team’s yearlong investigation on corruption in the Centinela Valley school district.
Yet Anastasi also made note to orate “the power and importance of journalism.”
“I think that it’s very important for a journalist to stand up for those that can’t be there, that don’t have the power to not only be there, but to speak out,” Anastasi said. A journalist must be able to identify those people, as they exist in every community; to be able to speak for those that cannot speak for themselves, he said.
Aside from his past personal accomplishments, Anastasi also explained his current endeavors, including improving diversity in the field of journalism, beginning with the Tennessean, as well as pushing aspiring journalists to explore digital options, which he believes to be the next frontier for journalists and readers alike.