Katie was joined by Catherine Squires, professor of journalism, diversity and equality at the University of Minnesota and Ivan Sigal, executive director of Global Voices. Together, the group explored whether the evolving post-mass media environment is creating a climate that fosters a wider range of voices and higher quality of ideas in the public conversation—or whether new developments simply reinforce existing patterns of power and influence.
Katie explored the dearth of female and minority voices in America’s most influential commentary outlets. She argued that the lack of intellectual diversity in commentary writing correlates with a lack of diversity in leadership in every industry and occupation. By increasing submission rates to major commentary outlets, she proposed, underrepresented groups can enrich the quality of debate in America and promote a diversity of thought leadership at every level of society.
Her talk followed comments from Catherine Squires about the potential of op-ed pages to offer alternative framings and interpretation of mainstream news. Ivan Sigal demonstrated the impact that the Global Voices media platform has had on the framing and coverage of protests and uprisings during the Arab Spring.
The Rebele First Amendment Sympoisum is an annual event funded by Rowland and Pat Rebele. It brings journalists, scholars and students together to consider the impact of trends and technologies on freedom of speech and democratic debate. Here’s a video from the event.
Christine Larson is the Rebele First Amendment Fellow in the Department of Communication. Her research explores how technology, economics and changing labor conditions affect the practice of journalism. An award-winning freelance journalist, she was previously a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow and holds an undergraduate degree from Princeton University.