In Wake of NY Times' Scandal, Panel at Baruch Examines 'A Free Press and the Public Trust'

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BARUCH COLLEGE, NEW YORK, NY (06/13/03)—An informed citizenry, granting enormous powers to its elected government, finds protection from tyranny in an open and unintimidated exchange of ideas. There is a tradition in the United States that the press dedicates itself to this vital aspect of the common good through the reliable and accurate dissemination of news.

Recent turmoil at The New York Times has reverberated through the world of journalism, leading many news organizations to re-examine how they police themselves and set their standards of accuracy and responsibility in light of this tradition of public trust. And there seems little doubt that, even before the Times controversy, this trust in the media was eroding. As journalism as a profession gained in stature, credentials, and compensation in recent decades, public confidence in its independence and veracity generally weakened. A recent USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll found that 62 percent of people surveyed said the media is "often inaccurate" – nearly an all-time high.

Is this loss of trust lasting? Is it harmful to public discourse? What must the press do to restore its credibility?

Baruch's President Ned Regan has announced that at noon, June 23, 2003, at the College’s Newman Vertical Campus Building, 55 Lexington Avenue, 14th Floor, a panel of distinguished experts will discuss "A Free Press and the Public Trust". The event is free and open to the public (though reservations are required). Lunch will be served.

The panelists will include:

TOM GOLDSTEIN stepped down last year as dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. He was previously dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, and he has been a Lombard Visiting Professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, a Gannett Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Florida and an adjunct professor at New York University. Goldstein also has been a reporter for The New York Times, New York Newsday and for The Wall Street Journal , and served as press secretary to Mayor Edward I. Koch.

GENEVA OVERHOLSER is Hurley Chair in Public Affairs Reporting
at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She ran the editorial page at the Des Moines Register, before joining the editorial board of The New York Times. She later served as editor of the Des Moines Register, ombudsman at the Washington Post and a syndicated columnist with Washington Post Writers Group. Overholser is a former congressional fellow, Nieman fellow, chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board and an officer of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. She is currently a trustee of Stanley Foundation, Knight fellowships at Stanford, National Press Foundation and the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowship.

JAN SCHAFFER is Executive Director of the Pew Center for Civic Journalism. She is also the former business editor and a Pulitzer Prize winner for The Philadelphia Inquirer , where she spent 22 years as an editor and reporter. At the Pew Center, she runs an incubator for journalism experiments that, over the last 10 years, has created and refined ways of reporting the news to help engage people better in public life. As a federal court reporter, she helped write a series of stories that won freedom for a man wrongly convicted of five murders; the articles won the 1978 Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Public Service. Schaffer has been a journalism fellow at Stanford University and has taught at Temple University and at the American Press Institute.

For reservations, contact (212) 802-2851

For news and information, contact:
Vince Passaro
(212) 802-2916