Message from Dean Lorraine Branham about Hurricane Harvey

August 29, 2017

Dear Newhouse Community:

Over the past few days, we have watched the catastrophic flooding resulting from Hurricane Harvey take its toll on families, homes and businesses along the Texas coast. It is heart-wrenching to see those who are suffering and heart-warming to see the many people who have offered a helping hand to those devastated by the storm.

All that most of us know about this storm comes as a result of the hard work and dedication of the news media. It is at times like this that the media, whom President Trump has frequently derided and accused of being “unpatriotic,” show how much they care and how important they are to our country. Without the news media we would be unable to bear witness to this tragedy or offer our help and support.

I am so proud of those who have put their own lives on the line to bring this story into our hearts and our homes. I was reminded of this last night as I exchanged an email with a friend and former colleague who works for the newspaper in Houston.

He asked me to remind our students that among the list of heroes—including first responders, the National Guard and medical professionals—are journalists.

He wrote: “Reporters, photographers, editors and others are sacrificing their safety to keep the public informed, to record history and even to perform rescues or direct the needy to help.  Their job is a high calling. So when the president says "these are truly bad people," "enemies of the American public" or purveyors of fake news, tell the students  to stay vigilant and to make the world a better place.”

Consider it done. Journalists don’t ask for any special thanks or honors. They are doing their jobs and keeping the public informed. This is what we here at the Newhouse School train and prepare our students to do. It is a thankless job at times, but I have never doubted its importance. Hurricane Harvey reminds us all of how essential the media is to our lives and the significance of the work that journalists do.

We will continue to keep a close eye on the Gulf Coast and I offer our thoughts and prayers to the people of this area and our gratitude to the many journalists who are telling their stories and keeping us informed. Journalism matters.

Dean Lorraine Branham

Students seeking support can contact the Counseling Center 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (315) 443-4715. Additional services are provided by the Office of Student Assistance, Monday through Friday, by calling (315) 443-4357.  Hendricks Chapel is also available by calling (315) 443-2901, or visiting their website for contact information for each chaplaincy. In addition, the Parents Office is available to assist students and their families from the affected areas. They can be reached by calling (315) 443-1200.