What is the state of reporting in this new era of “alternative facts”? How can journalism succeed despite denial of access, censorship, media blackouts and attempts to delegitimize the press? Those are the questions under discussion at a day-long forum on the CU Boulder campus on Saturday April 15th.
ProPublica’s senior editor, Joe Sexton will give the key note address, touching on the current state of journalism but also providing historical context. “There has always been an active combat over truth, over what are facts…various administrations of both Democratic and Republican stripes have at different times been quite hostile to the press.” Sexton cites the Obama administration as having had a mixed record with regard to the press. “It actively pursued leak investigations with a vigor that was unprecedented, risked the possibility of imprisoning of journalists, they were not particularly forthcoming with information.”
Sexton says its important for journalists to be self-reflective and to look to the future of the press. “I think the forum posits the question, what’s the way forward, where do we go now? And I think my answer to that is that the American press stays exactly where it is and importantly does not back up an inch and retreat in any way, but also that it does not overstep and over promise what in fact journalism can deliver.” Sexton says that humility and honesty is also necessary for the future of good journalism, “the degree to which the press is able to remain ambitious and aggressive and honest, that it also remain to some degree humble.”
Pro Publica (along with the New York Daily News) was just awarded a Pulitzer prize for Public Service Reporting, honoring their joint investigation on abuses in the New York City Police Department’s enforcement of the city’s nuisance abatement law.
CU’s Journalism department of the College of Media, Communication and Information will host the one-day conference on Saturday April 15th. The event will include discussions on accountability through access and archives, leveraging community media, the rise of Trump and the facts on fake news, the impact of citizen journalism, and safety and storytelling on America’s new front line. In addition to Joe Sexton, there will be panelists from the New York Times, The Nation, The Denver Post, KGNU, Rocky Mountain PBS and others.
The conference will feature interactive multimedia events by the Portal and MAPE students, with the aim of promoting democracy through open dialogue and cross-community engagement. The event is free and open to the public. Find out more here.