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Press Freedom and Alternative Facts

The Center for Media Engagement and Media Ethics Initiative Present:


Press Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts

David McCraw
Senior VP & Deputy General Counsel
The New York Times

March 13, 2020 (Friday) ¦ 1:30PM-2:30PM ¦ Belo Center for New Media (BMC) 5.208


David McCraw.. Earl WilsonWhat is the role of journalism and the press in a time when the truth is malleable, fake news is on the rise, and journalistic freedom is being put into question? How can our democratic society find real and sustainable solutions to our problems of disinformation, political polarization, and new media technologies?  In this talk, David McCraw will draw on his experiences as a lawyer and as the Deputy General Counsel for The New York Times to explore the ethical challenges awaiting journalists and the American public that arise at the intersection of law, ethics, and technology.

David McCraw is Deputy General Counsel of The New York Times Company and serves as the company’s principal newsroom lawyer. He is the author of the recent book “Truth in Our Times: Inside the Fight for Press Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts,” a first-person account of the legal battles that helped shape The New York Times’s coverage of Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, conflicts abroad, and Washington’s divisive politics. He has been at The Times since 2002. He is a visiting lecturer at Harvard Law School and an adjunct professor at the NYU Law School. He has done pro bono work in support of free expression in Yemen, Russia, Montenegro, Bahrain, and other countries around the world.

This talk is co-sponsored by the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the UT Ethics Project. The Media Ethics Initiative is part of the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. Follow Media Ethics Initiative and Center for Media Engagement on Facebook for more information on future events. This presentation will be introduced by Rebecca Taylor (UT Austin Ethics Project).

This event is free and open to the public.

Parking Information (nearest garages: SAG and TSG) can be found at: https://parking.utexas.edu/parking/ut-parking-garages


 

The Next Wave of Disinformation

The Center for Media Engagement and Media Ethics Initiative Present:


The Next Wave of Disinformation

Dr. Samuel Woolley
School of Journalism
University of Texas at Austin

February 27, 2020 (Thursday) ¦ 3:30PM-4:30PM ¦ CMA 5.136


hbg-title-9781913068127-30Online disinformation stormed our political process in 2016 and has only worsened since. Yet as Samuel Woolley shows in his new book The Reality Game, it may pale in comparison to what’s to come: humanlike automated voice systems, machine learning, “deepfake” AI-edited videos and images, interactive memes, virtual reality, and more. These technologies have the power not just to manipulate our politics, but to make us doubt our eyes and ears and even feelings. Woolley describes the profound impact these technologies will have on our lives with an eye towards how each new invention built without regard for its consequences edges us further into this digital authoritarianism. In response, Woolley argues for a new culture of innovation–one built around accountability and transparency.

Dr. Samuel Woolley is an Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. As the Program Director of Propaganda Research at the Center for Media Engagement, he studies how automated online tools such as bots and algorithms are used to enable both democracy and civic control. Woolley’s latest book, The Reality Game: How the Next Wave of Technology Will Break the Truth (PublicAffairs), came out in January 2020. His academic work has appeared in a number of peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes. He has published work on politics and social media in venues including Wired, Motherboard, TechCrunch, Slate, the Guardian, and the Atlantic.

The Media Ethics Initiative is part of the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. Follow Media Ethics Initiative and Center for Media Engagement on Facebook for more information.

Media Ethics Initiative events are open and free to the public.


 

Overdoing Democracy

The Center for Media Engagement and Media Ethics Initiative Present:


Overdoing Democracy: The Problem of Political Polarization

Dr. Robert B. Talisse
W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy
Vanderbilt University

April 7, 2020 (Tuesday) ¦ 3:30PM-5:00PM ¦ BMC 5.208


9780190924195Partisan polarization is tearing the country apart. Although common analyses recommend that the way to address polarization is to encourage citizens and politicians to “reach across the aisle,” data show that this strategy frequently backfires, escalating rather than easing partisan hostility.  Offering an alternative prescription, Talisse argues that polarization is a result of the near total infiltration of political allegiances and identities into our social lives.  Today, our everyday activities are increasingly fused with our political profiles: commercial  spaces, workplaces, professions, schools, churches, sports teams, and even public parks now tend to embody a particular political valence.  When politics is permitted to saturate our social environments, we impair the capacities we need in order to enact democracy well.  In a slogan, when we overdo democracy in this way, we undermine it.  The solution is to build venues and activities where people can engage in cooperative activities together in which their political identities are neither bolstered nor suppressed, but simply beside the point.  If we want to do democracy well, we need to put politics in its right place.

talisseDr. Robert B. Talisse is the W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. An internationally recognized theorist of democracy, Talisse has lectured throughout the world about democracy, moral disagreement, political polarization, and the ethics of citizenship. Overdoing Democracy: Why We Must Put Politics in its Place is his tenth book. Among the books he has authored are Why We Argue (And How We  Should) (with Scott Aikin), Democracy and Moral Conflict, A Pragmatist Philosophy of Democracy, and Democracy After Liberalism.

Co-sponsored by the UT Austin Ethics Project. The Media Ethics Initiative is part of the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. Follow Media Ethics Initiative and Center for Media Engagement on Facebook for more information.

Media Ethics Initiative events are open and free to the public.

 


 

#MeToo and Journalism Leadership

The Center for Media Engagement and Media Ethics Initiative Present:


Ethical Leadership in Newsrooms in the #MeToo Era:

A Panel Discussion

October 29, 2019 (Tuesday) ¦ 2:00PM-3:00PM  ¦ BMC 5.208


How did sexual harassment persist for so long in journalism, and what difference has the #MeToo movement made for those that run the media? What does ethical and effective leadership look like in newsrooms during the #MeToo era? This panel discussion features scholars from various fields in communication and media reflecting on the extent of the #MeToo movement in journalism, as well as its intersections with leadership in the modern media environment. Confirmed participants include:

Kathleen McElroy (Journalism, UT Austin)
Meme Drumwright (Advertising, UT Austin)
Kate West (Journalism, UT Austin)
Scott R. Stroud (Communication Studies, UT Austin)

The Media Ethics Initiative is part of the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. Follow Media Ethics Initiative and Center for Media Engagement on Facebook for more information. Media Ethics Initiative events are open and free to the public.

Co-Sponsored by the School of Journalism, University of Texas at Austin, and the UT Ethics Project


Debating Civil Rights

The Center for Media Engagement and Media Ethics Initiative Present:


Debating Civil Rights: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Battle for the American Soul

Dr. Nicholas Buccola
Elizabeth and Morris Glicksman Chair in Political Science
Linfield College

November 21, 2019 (Thursday) ¦ 3:30PM-5:00PM ¦ BMC 5.208


Cover Image, The Fire is Upon UsIn February 1965, James Baldwin – the poet of the civil rights revolution – and William F. Buckley Jr. – the Saint Paul of the conservative movement – met for an epic debate in Cambridge, England. Baldwin took the opportunity to deliver a jeremiad against white supremacy and Buckley did his best to warn an international audience of Baldwin’s radical agenda. For the two decades prior to their clash at Cambridge, Baldwin and Buckley rose to fame as prolific authors and public intellectuals. Both men were – among other things – journalists. In the years prior to the debate, Baldwin and Buckley provide us with two very different visions of the vocation of the journalist as a witness and a storyteller. In this lecture, Professor Buccola will describe these visions and explore the implications they might have for our own time.

Buccola.1 (4)Dr. Nicholas Buccola is the Elizabeth and Morris Glicksman Chair in Political Science at Linfield College. He is the author of The Fire Is upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America (Princeton University Press), The Political Thought of Frederick Douglass (NYU Press), and the editor of The Essential Douglass and Abraham Lincoln and Liberal Democracy. His essays have appeared in numerous scholarly journals and popular outlets including The New York Times, Salon, Dissent, and the Claremont Review of Books.

The Media Ethics Initiative is part of the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. Follow Media Ethics Initiative and Center for Media Engagement on Facebook for more information. Media Ethics Initiative events are open and free to the public.


 

Designing Ethical AI Technologies

The Center for Media Engagement and Media Ethics Initiative Present:


Good Systems: Designing Values-Driven AI Technologies Is Our Grand Challenge

Dr. Kenneth R. Fleischmann

Professor in the School of Information
University of Texas at Austin

September 24, 2019 (Tuesday) ¦ 3:30PM-4:30PM ¦ CMA 5.136 (LBJ Room)


Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.” This is the first law of technology, outlined by historian Melvin Kranzberg in 1985. It means that technology is only good or bad if we perceive it to be that way based on our own value system. At the same time, because the people who design technology value some things more or less than others, their values influence their designs. Michael Crichton’s “Jurassic Park” chaos theorist, Ian Malcolm, notes: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think about if they should.” That’s the question we have to ask now: Should we increasingly automate various aspects of society? How can we ensure that advances in AI are beneficial to humanity, not detrimental? How can we develop technology that makes life better for all of us, not just some? What unintended consequences are we overlooking or ignoring by developing technology that has the power to be manipulated and misused, from undermining elections to exacerbating racial inequality?

The Inaugural Chair of the Good Systems Grand Challenge, Ken Fleischmann, will present the eight-year research mission of Good Systems, as well as our educational and outreach activities. Specifically, he will discuss the upcoming Good Systems launch events and ways that faculty, researchers, staff, and students can become involved in the Good Systems Grand Challenge.

The Media Ethics Initiative is part of the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. Follow Media Ethics Initiative and Center for Media Engagement on Facebook for more information. Media Ethics Initiative events are open and free to the public.


 

Weather Media in the Public Sphere

The Center for Media Engagement and Media Ethics Initiative Present:


Weather Media in the Public Sphere

Dr. John Durham Peters

María Rosa Menocal Professor of English &
Professor of Film and Media Studies
Yale University

May 2 (Thursday) ¦  1:30-3:00PM  ¦  BMC 5.208


jdp IKKM photo 2018On its face, weather sounds like the most banal and mundane thing possible. Ordinary people look down on talking about it and journalists often regard it as the lowest kind of news. This talk aims to show that the accusation that talking about the weather is intellectually empty is hardly the case in the age of climate change, and even dangerous. The rise of weather as a topic of conversation coincides with the rise of the bourgeois public sphere.  More broadly, weather is a key part of media history.  The history of human interaction with weather is also a history of cultural techniques and media technologies. Dramatists and divines have sought meaning from atmospheric events. Reading the skies is one paradigm case of human-nature interaction, and studying weather can stand in as part for whole as an inquiry into the environments humans have made or unmade. The history of modern weather forecasting is also a history of the militarization of the sky and oceans, and is co-extensive with the history of modern telecommunications, computation, and reporting. Weather raises two questions of profound interest to recent media theory: how mundane infrastructures are full of meaning and how vaporous or evanescent entities can be tracked, recorded, and programmed.  Talking about the weather is not dumb; it may be essential.

51zPF50pI0L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Dr. John Durham Peters is a leading scholar in the area of media history, communication theory, and philosophy. He is the María Rosa Menocal Professor of English and of Film & Media Studies at Yale University. Previously, Peters taught at the University of Iowa between 1986-2016. He is the author a range of books, including Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication, Courting the Abyss: Free Speech and the Liberal Tradition, and most recently, The Marvelous Clouds: Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media. He has held fellowships with the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright Foundation, and the Leverhulme Trust.

The Media Ethics Initiative is part of the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. Follow Media Ethics Initiative and Center for Media Engagement on Facebook for more information.

Media Ethics Initiative events are free and open to the public.


 

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