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NPR's Michel Martin: 'Social Justice and Freedom of the Press Go Hand in Hand'

Clare Peterson / Marquette
Michel Martin and Bonnie North at WUWM.

As President Obama prepares to give the final press conference of his presidency on Wednesday, NPR's Michel Martin is looking towards the next Administration with a wary - but not entirely pessimistic - eye.

"I've just never been a fan of being mad in advance," the weekend host of All Things Considered says, "or being afraid in advance.  I think you give people the benefit of the doubt until they give you a reason to think otherwise."

Martin is in Milwaukee this week to speak about journalism and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at Marquette University. 

Many journalists - especially members of the White House press corps - this week expressed outrage at the possibility the corps could be moved out of the White House itself.  And Martin agrees there are reasons for  skepticism.

"Let's just be honest about it," she says, "there's a new Administration coming in - a person who has been very accessible to some members of the media... but has really expressed a lot of contempt and disregard for others.  And I think that's what gives occasion to a lot of this concern."

Martin says it's important to be considering these issues the same week the nation celebrates the legacy of Dr. King.  "The message I will carry," she explains, "is that social justice and freedom of the press go hand in hand.  And I think part of my purpose is to stand up for journalism at a time when the credibility of journalists is questioned by some."

Michel Martin's speech at Marquette University is free and open to the public, but advance reservations are required.

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Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.