Caroll Bogert, President of the Marshall Project, gives speech on media’s influence on mass incarceration
Iva Juka, Copy Editor
We had the honor of hosting Caroll Bogert, President of The Marshall Project at our very own campus on January 22nd. Bogert gave a speech, which was held at 7 p.m. in the Curtis Performance Hall of the Tsotsis Family Academic Center. Every seat was filled with either faculty members or students.
Bogert represented The Marshall Project, which is the youngest news organization to receive a Pulitzer Prize. It has about 3,000 members who donate towards the organization, which brings in about $400,000 yearly. She presented to the faculty and students the importance of The Marshall Project, and the media’s influence in creating and challenging mass incarceration.
During her speech Bogert stated, “The Marshall Project was founded because of the idea that imprisonment was not getting enough attention.”
She supported her statement by describing the alarming increase in rates of the prison population since the 1970s. During that time, prison population was 357,292. Today the population rose as high as 2,306,200.
Bogert emphasized how The Marshall Project tries to help decrease this number by getting word out by posting articles about people of color getting wrongly accused and put into jail for something they did not do.
Bogert then goes on to state, “When we think about what the purpose of our journalism is, we hope that journalism can make a positive impact on the criminal justice system. That is the point of The Marshall Project. We are not advocates. We are not out there pushing a particular line, but we do believe that good information is going lead to good policy outcomes.”
Following along this statement, Bogert provided a few examples of people who were falsely imprisoned such as the boys in The Central Park Jogger Case and Huwe Burton. These innocent boys were wrongly accused because of false media. This demonstrates how powerful media could be in any given situation. While Bogert was speaking about these two situations, the audience seemed to be completely silent due to the fact that faculty and student, including myself were in awe when learning about the facts of mass incarceration and how we do not normally pay attention to it until the matter is brought to our centered focus.
Gabriella Bitar, a senior, gave her outlook on the idea of spreading better news within media by stating, “I am not entirely sure if this is beneficial to people who are imprisoned currently, but if they continue to publish stories about certain prisoners who should be freed, then it’s definitely helpful. I think The Marshall Project serves a stronger purpose of understanding the system and how we can reduce the prisoner population in the future. It can help with the future generation and how people perceive things. “
Bogert stressed how media has not been the best source for mass incarceration throughout the years, hence why The Marshall Project focuses so much on individuals who have been wrongly accused. The Marshall Project co-publishes their work with 170 other organizations in order to try and get the world out for imprisoned individuals who need the help across the nation.
To learn more about The Marshall Project, visit their website www.themarshallproject.org.