Dallas Morning News Editor discusses media’s relationship with American people

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When President of the United States, Donald Trump, tweeted “The media is the enemy of the people,” The Dallas Morning News Editor Mike Wilson took it personally.

“It is irresponsible and dangerous to call enemies of the state journalists,” Wilson said. “Enemies of the American people are actually those who do not understand the importance of words and the damage the wrong words can do.”

Mike Wilson at SMU Faculty Luncheon
Mike Wilson at SMU Faculty Luncheon Photo credit: Lauren Winterhalder

Wilson knows the damage of words and about the mistrust between the media and their audiences, which he discussed at the SMU Faculty Luncheon April 19. The SMU Faculty Club holds events for its members, which includes SMU faculty, staff, retired faculty, retired staff and alumni.

Wilson is responsible for news coverage in print and online at The Dallas Morning News. He joined the news organization in 2015.

SMU Faculty Member and Marketing Promotions Coordinator for Meadows School of the Arts Mary Guthrie was especially impressed with Mr. Wilson’s experience and accolades.

“Knowing his extended experience in journalism and the recognition he has received made me more eager to hear his comments and opinion about the media,” Guthrie said.

Wilson spoke about his journalism experience at the luncheon, but mainly discussed his now famous column, “What you need to know about the enemies of the American people the President warned you about.” Wilson wrote the column in response to President Donald Trump’s tweet calling the media “the enemy of the people.”

“In my column, whenever I wrote journalist I would insert ‘enemy’ instead,

” Wilson said. “It was a way to show that the press may have its flaws, but we have our importance in checking on the government. We are not the enemy.”

Wilson acknowledges that there is a lot of mistrust between the media and the people, and as Editor of the The Dallas Morning News, he is working to improve that.

“At the The Dallas Morning News, we have embarked on an effort to improve trust with our readers, and it starts with listening,” Wilson said.

Wilson makes an effort to respond to all reader emails he receives, and will invite readers to the newsroom to see how everything operates and ask questions. The DMN has also begun to hold public forums, show news meetings on Facebook Live, better tell stories and interact with readers. All of this is an effort to build open communication between the media and the people and build trust.

“If we do it right, we can be the best friend the country has ever had,” Wilson said.

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