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The Vermont State House is wheelchair and scooter accessible.
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National and Vermont journalists will explore the state of journalism in today's America. The fourth estate is at a critical moment in U.S. history. What is its role in democracy? What is, and will be, required to bring citizens accurate and truthful news that will inform their decisions about the direction our country is going? Who controls the truth?

The symposium will present three panel discussions exploring the challenges that journalism faces today and its historic role at the Vermont State House. There will be opportunities for open discussion with the keynote speaker and panelists.

All high school and college students are especially encouraged to attend.


Keynote Speaker

David T. Z. Mindich

In an Era of "Fake News," Getting the Journalism That Democracy Needs


David is the chair of the journalism department at the Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University.  Before going to Klein College, he was a journalism professor at Saint Michael's College in Vermont, where he served nearly a decade as chair, and before that, he was an assignment editor for CNN.  The author of two books and numerous articles, including ones in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, Mindich was named Vermont Professor of the Year in 2006. 




Real News/Fake News


The Threats to News Integrity and the Ethics of Journalism
Moderator: Jane Lindholm, Host of VPR's Vermont Edition

These are challenging times for journalists and the American citizens who depend on them for news. Because of the growth of the Internet and social media, “fake news,” — misinformation presented as fact — can now reach millions of people in seconds. Internet items that are often demonstrably false often go viral anyway. Politicians and those who back them financially challenge the truthfulness of traditional news media and promote their own version of news events.

This panel will explore how American citizens can determine the truth and accuracy of what they read and hear. Which news sources are worthy of our trust — and which should we be skeptical of? We  will discuss these disturbing trends and how best to respond to them as responsible citizens.




Old News/New News 

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 Changing Forms and News Platforms Challenging the Veracity of Journalism
Moderator: Stewart Ledbetter, a political reporter and anchor for NBC5 News and, since 2007, has been the moderator of the journalist roundtable “Vermont This Week” on Vermont PBS. 

The business of gathering and disseminating news is changing. Daily newspapers are fading in influence, while the Internet, social media, broadcast news and other formats are becoming more dominant. The panel will discuss how these changes are shaping the reporting and editing of the news, how the business models that drive news gathering are changing, and how the emergence of these new forms, the Internet especially, raises questions about the future of journalism.




 Covering History under the Dome


The Vermont State House as a Stage for Historic Events
Moderator: Steve Terry, Founding editor of the Sunday Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus

From its earliest days, the Vermont State House has been a stage for the enactment of historic events, many of them in the last half-century. Reporters and editors who covered those events — ranging from Legislative reapportionment to legalizing gay marriage — will discuss the significance of what they witnessed and how they covered those events.



Tom Slayton, Journalism in Today’s Democracy Symposium Chair

Presenting Organizations

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We would like to thank the following organizations for their generous support.

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Green Mountain Power