Panel to discuss importance of news in democracy

JONESBORO, Ark. – The Arkansas State University Department of Media and the Arkansas Humanities Council will gather a panel of experts to talk about the media and the future and relevance of journalism in our democracy.

The panel discussion, which is free and open to the public, will take place Monday, April 2, at 6 p.m. in the ASU-TV Studio, located on the first floor of the Education-Communications Building on the campus of Arkansas State. The program will be recorded and aired on ASU-TV at a later date.

The Arkansas Humanities Council was awarded a grant to conduct the program from the Federation of State Humanities Council’s “Democracy and The Informed Citizen” project, which was funded by the Pulitzer Prize and the Mellon Foundation. The event in Jonesboro is one of four discussions in a series being held throughout the state.

“In the age of fake news and other distractions in the news these days, it is important to have a conversation about the true principles of journalism that make up real news,” said Paul Austin, executive director of the Council.

Rex Nelson, senior editor and columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, will moderate the panel.

            Other panelists include William McLean, associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science; LaQuita Saunders, assistant professor of history and co-director of the Pre-Law Center; and Sandra Combs, associate professor of multimedia journalism and adviser to the ASU Herald. Combs is also a former editorial board member for the Detroit News and Oakland Press in Pontiac, Mich.

Together, they will discuss the future of journalism, its role in the local community, and what news literacy is in the era of fake news.

For more information about the panel, call Lillie Fears at or 870-972-3210.

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