Viewer Spotlight: How Scripps News is covering the college campus protests

Scripps News viewers called into our hotline this week to weigh in on our coverage of the ongoing protests at college campuses across the U.S.
Columbia University Protesters
Posted at 12:30 PM, May 03, 2024

Each week we like to take a moment to respond to some of the calls we receive on our toll-free Scripps News Viewer Hotline. This week many of you called in to share how you're closely following the ongoing protests at college campuses across the United States.

We've had correspondents on the scene reporting from places like Columbia University in New York and the University of California, Los Angeles, and many others in between. Some of you who called in said you were grateful for the variety of perspectives we shared.

A student walks to class on the campus of Emory University after a pro-Palestinian demonstration

U.S. News

Protests continue in Georgia despite governor's support for strong police intervention

Carolyn Bruck
6:05 PM, May 01, 2024

George from West Virginia:
"I just want to thank you for your Scripps News reporter at the University of Texas in Austin, who just reported that there are Jewish students who are participating in the peace protest on campus and do not approve of what Israel is doing in Gaza. And I certainly appreciate that fairness and balance."

David from Colorado:
"I just watched the interview of the girl in Denver... and she grew up in Gaza. ...Whether you agree with her position or not, I think that she did an excellent job of explaining what a lot of people probably don't know about the whole situation between the Palestinians and the Israelites."

Meanwhile, some other callers — depending on when they watched — saw room for improvement in our coverage.

Katie from California:
"It appears that your focus is so, it's so skewed and only focusing about the few Jewish students who feel threatened on campus... you also refuse to identify and give an accurate understanding to viewers of what antisemitism is versus anti-Zionism."

We're right with you and words do matter. The live pictures, slogans and soundbites can too easily oversimplify the story. That's why it's important to define terms that are so critical to this conflict.

A woman holds a sign saying, "end antisemitism" while attending a march for Israel rally.


House panel questions college presidents over antisemitic incidents

Justin Boggs
7:00 AM, Dec 05, 2023

The U.S. State Department uses the definition of antisemitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. It says:
Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.

Put another way, criticizing Israel in the same way you might any other country under that definition isn't inherently antisemitic.

As for Zionism, the State Department doesn't offer a formal definition. But the World Jewish Congress defines it as:
The belief the Jewish people maintain a right to self-determination in their ancestral homeland.

By that definition, anti-Zionism would then be opposition to that movement — to establish a Jewish state in their homeland. And some Jewish thinkers view anti-Zionism as a form of antisemitism.

Others disagree.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas is a complicated one about identity, self-determination, history and so much more. And while our best efforts here at Scripps News won't turn up any simple answers, we can promise to strive for fairness.

To us that means leading with fact over opinion and featuring diverse viewpoints on all issues. Leave us a message at our toll-free Scripps News Viewer Hotline.

Let us know how we're doing. Your message might even pop up on air one day!