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Portrayal in the Media

News Station Covering the Protest

Covering the protest

Talk to the table, not to the media!

Throughout the strike, a variety of news stations flocked the fourteen state university campuses. Most of the coverage concerning Millersville University aired from either WGAL or Blue Ridge Communications 11. Over the radio, NPR provided additional information. Live interviews began that Wednesday shortly after the strike was called.

During his interview, Barry David (Applied Engineering, Technology and Safety) recounted the frantic phone call he received from Ken Smith (Economics) on the morning of the walk-out. Driving through the dark towards campus, David answered Smith’s call informing  him “that the T.V crew was here...looking for a live interview.”1 The information was to be aired during the six o’clock news. Although reluctant, Smith took the interview, doing a great job in the process. David maintained that over the course of the morning, various sources continued to flood the Millersville campus, asking for interviews. Some of the outlets included The Wall Street Journal and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

"I get a text message from my daughter who lives in Jersey who received a photograph of me from my brother who lives in Atlanta, who somehow got it from the news media he sees. And, his note to herin a way to write me—was, 'I almost spit out my coffee when I saw this.'"2 -Barry David  

The story of the strike eventually made it to the national news, informing a broader audience than just the individuals directly involved. As a result, some interviewees remembered receiving supportive messages from friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. Others remained shocked by the extensive reach of the media. Either way, for them, this signified that the faculty's story was much larger than a minor incidence. Rather, this represented the strike's crucial role in the history of higher education.

"I was surprised of the number of people that didn't even know what was going on and that there was a strike. Or, even after we were on strike, I'd be talking to my neighbors or people at my church, and they're like, "There was a strike?"3 -Alex DeCaria 

However, a handful of interviewees disapproved of the scarce amount of information put forth by the media. A few interviewees felt that although news of the strike extended to the national level, they were unsure whether the information reached people not directly involved. Many recalled encountering individuals unaware of the strike's existence. To Jeff Adams (Past Associate Provost) coverage remained particularly thin. Continuously checking the PASSHE and APSCUF sites, while remaining updated on the local media and NPR, he found “most of the local media coverage so thin it was hard to know what to make of it.”3 The majority of the broadcastings aired struck him as “very superficial,” as they mainly focused on information produced from the “press release on both sides,” as opposed to “independently verifying” the facts.4 

  1. Barry David (Applied Engineering, Safety and Technology), interview by Elizabeth Nelson and Katie Barrett, November 28, 2016, transcript, Millersville University Special Collections, Millersville, PA.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Alex DeCaria (Meteorology) interview by Stephanie Pennucci and Tatiana Pashkova-Balkenhol, November 14, 2016, transcript, Millersville University Special Collections, Millersville, PA.

  4. Jeff Adams (Past Associate Provost) interview by Alexander Arnold, December 12, 2016, transcript, Millersville University Special Collections,  Millersville, PA.
  5. Ibid.
  6. WGALTV, "On Strike! Teachers, students at picket line for Day 1" (news broadcast), accessed January 5, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpvHRRFKB48.
  7. brendonleslie, "Millersville University Strike" (news broadcast), accessed January 5, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx4ZJPMyuzM.