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Four prominent journalists visit USU in lecture series

September 21st, 2010 Posted in Opinion
Four media professionals come to USU this Fall for the Department of Journalism & Communication’s Morris Media & Society Lecture Series.


• September 28: Mark Trahant, journalist, author, “Twitter poet” and former editorial page editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which closed in 2009, speaks to journalism classes as part of the Morris Media & Society Lecture Series about the standards for social media and journalism in a democratic society. How can a nation tell its story and inform its people within Twitter’s 140 characters? Trahant asks. A member of Idaho’s Shoshone-Bannock tribes, Trahant was a Kaiser Media Fellow and recently completed a book on Washington State Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson’s legacy on federal American Indian policy. Trahant speaks on news, newspapers and social media in Professor Cathy Bullock’s Introduction to Mass Communication class, Old Main 225, 10:30-11:45 a.m.


• October 4-5: Alicia C. Shepard, ombudsman for National Public Radio in Washington, D.C., comes to Utah State University to meet with classes and to deliver a Media & Society Lecture titled “The Promise and Perils of Social Media,” examining the challenges of new media to journalistic credibility and responsibility. A veteran journalist, author and educator, Shepard’s 2006 book, Woodward & Bernstein: Life in the Shadow of Watergate, catches up with the famed Washington Post reporters; she is also author of Narrowing the Gap: Military, Media and the Iraq War (2004). As NPR’s first ombudsmen, Shepard is responsible for bringing transparency to journalism decision-making processes, explaining NPR to listeners, and listeners to NPR. She was a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News in the 1980s, and for American Journalism Review from 1993-2002. Her work was recognized three times with the National Press Club’s top media criticism prize. She is on the boards of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism awards, the Fund for Investigative Journalism, and the Organization of News Ombudsmen. She teaches media ethics at George Washington University. Shepard comes to USU as a guest of the JCOM Department and Utah Public Radio, with support from the USU Provost’s office. USU Performance Hall, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 12-1:15 p.m.

REED COWAN (USU ’97), DIRECTOR: 8: The Mormon Proposition

• October 21: Reed Cowan, a 1997 JCOM graduate and news anchor at Miami’s WSVN-TV, is creator and director of 2010 Sundance Film Festival documentary 8: The Mormon Proposition, which examines issues of gays in Utah, same-sex marriage and the LDS Church’s role in passage of California’s Proposition 8, which revoked same-sex marriage rights in 2008. An Emmy-Award winning journalist with more than a decade of experience in television news, Reed anchored Good Morning Utah, at ABC 4 in Salt Lake City prior to joining WSVN. He was lead reporter during national stories such as the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, the death of Ronald Reagan and the ceremonies at Ground Zero in Manhattan. His previous documentary, The Other Side of the Lens, explores Cowan’s sudden transition from news reporter to news subject when he arrived at an accident scene in Salt Lake, only to find that the victim of a backyard fatal accident was his own son, Wesley, 4. That experience led Cowan to create the Wesley Smiles Coalition, which builds schools in developing African countries in his late son’s name. He is also a motivational speaker who drafted anti-bullying legislation that was passed unanimously by the Utah Legislature. Cowan returns to his alma mater to screen 8: The Mormon Proposition, and to conduct a Q&A discussion of the issues it raises. Sponsored by JCOM, USU’s Office of Student Services, the College of Humanities & Social Sciences, USU’s Access & Diversity Center, the GLBTA, the Honors Program, the Women & Gender Center and the departments of History, Political Science and Sociology, Social Work & Anthropology. Eccles Conference Center Auditorium, Oct. 21, 7-10 p.m.


• November 4: Anne Garrels, National Public Radio’s longtime correspondent in Iraq and Afghanistan, comes to USU to report on the wars in those countries, and to discuss the role of journalists in getting the word out from the front lines to the folks back home. A veteran reporter for ABC and NBC News in Moscow (until she was expelled in 1982), Central America and the U.S. State Department, Garrels joined NPR in 1988 and has reported on wars in Kosovo and Bosnia, Chechnya, Pakistan, Israel, Afghanistan and Iraq. She was one of a handful of Western journalists—and the only woman reporter—who remained to report from Baghdad during the first Iraq war in 2003, recording those events in her book, Naked in Baghdad. She was embedded with the U.S. Marines during fighting in Fallujah in 2004, covered the 2005 Iraq national elections, and has reported extensively from Baghdad, Najaf and Basra. She was part of the NPR team that won a prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award in 1992 for coverage of the Iraq war, and in 1996 she won the duPont-Columbia Award for her coverage of the former Soviet Union.  In 1999, the Overseas Press Club honored Garrels with the Whitman Bassow Award for a series she did on water issues around the globe. She was an Edward R. Murrow Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and is a member of the board of the Committee to Protect Journalists. USU Performance Hall, 1:30-2:45 p.m.

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