Temple Times Online Edition
    FEBRUARY 2, 2006
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Teleconference to explore changing nature of news and its role in U.S. culture

So, what’s news?

A recent Pew Research report indicated nearly two out of every five Americans believe little or nothing of what they see on TV news. The “fake news” on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” has been cited as a prime source of news for young people. Is the Internet a source of true information? And what’s the future of newspapers, radio and TV news?

On Friday, Feb. 3, from 1 to 2:30 p.m., the national teleconference “What’s News? A National Dialogue” will explore the complex and often controversial issues affecting the changing environment of news gathering and consumption.

Moderator for the live event is professor Jarice Hanson, Verizon Chair in Telecommunications at the School of Communications and Theater, sponsor of the teleconference. It will be hosted by WHYY Television at its Philadelphia studios (150 N. Sixth St., Independence Mall West), where a live studio audience will pose questions to four panelists; participants at a distance can access the teleconference via the Web (after registering at www.whatsnewsteleconference.com) and call in or e-mail their questions.

“It’s no longer a matter of are the media biased, but how are the media biased?” noted Hanson, whose research focuses on how media and technology affect society and human behavior.

“The more news that is available, the less we know. As citizens, it is vital that we understand the complexities of gathering and disseminating the news, what questions to ask, and how to process what we consume.”

Panelists for the live teleconference include Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, a lawyer and author and former reporter and editor for the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press; Christopher Harper, associate professor of journalism at Temple who formerly was a reporter and editor for the Associated Press and a producer for ABC’s “20/20”; Bill Israel, assistant professor of journalism at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst who studies power and political communication and currently is working on a book about Karl Rove; and Victor M. Webb, associate director/director of KCBS-TV and KCAL-TV in Los Angeles, an award-winning broadcast professional whose career spans live news, sports and public affairs.

Pre-recorded commentary by comedian Lewis Black of “The Daily Show” will spark the discussion.

“The teleconference will give college students, members of the press and concerned citizens an opportunity to examine the processes and ethics of news in U.S. culture today,” said Hanson, co-editor of Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Mass Media and Society (McGraw-Hill), now in its ninth edition.

“Should journalists be able to protect their sources? Should the White House and special interest groups be allowed to produce their own video news releases for use by news operations? Are bloggers journalists? These are some of the questions we want to look at.”

For more information, including how to register to participate, visit the “What’s News?” teleconference Web site at www.whatsnewsteleconference.com.

- By Harriet Goodheart