A few of you have been in touch in the past few days to talk about the fact that we seem to be bringing speakers in over the past few months who have a decidedly liberal or progressive point of view.
Your question -- appropriately -- has been whether we plan to bring to campus speakers who may have a more conservative perspective.
The answer to that question has two parts.
The first is yes, I've asked a couple of faculty to submit recommendations for conservative media representatives; Jon Stossel's name is already on the table. I would welcome recommendations or suggestions from students as well.
The second part is more a point of information. Many of the speakers who come to the Park School are here because they have offered to come, they are in town on other business and are willing to speak with students, or -- as in the case of Al Franken -- there is a local business that is bringing the person to Ithaca and has asked us to participate. Our decisions in those situations have far less to do with a speaker's particular political perspective than with our interest in whether he or she has something to teach our students about media, in all of its forms. And we are very happy to offer students the opportunity to interact with the greatest number of speakers possible.
That said, we understand and recognize that diversity of opinion is essential to an open and informed debate on any subject, and we're committed to ensuring that we contribute to an intellectual climate on campus that celebrates and engages that kind of diversity.
Just fyi, here's a list of some of the speakers we have invited to Park this year, including our 'major' speakers; as you'll see, there isn't a particular perspective that we're either promoting or supporting:
Jessica Savitch Distinguished Lecturer Series
The annual Jessica Savitch Distinguished Lecture Series brings in a high-profile personality in the broadcast journalism profession to honor alumna Jessica Savitch. Past distinguished lecturers include:
• Steve Capus, President of NBC News (2006)
• Mara Liasson, national political correspondent for National Public Radio (2005)
• Dawn Fratangelo, news correspondent for Dateline NBC and substitute anchor on the weekend edition of NBC Nightly News with Tom Browkaw (2004).
The Park Distinguished Visitor
Each year, the Roy H. Park School of Communications hosts an individual representing one or more of the significant professions associated with the communications industry for a three-day residency. Leading figures in print and broadcast journalism are the primary focus. Past distinguished visitors include:
• Bill Moyers, broadcast journalist (2005)
• John Seely Brown, author, humanistic technologist, former chief scientist and director of Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC, Inc.) (2004)
• Michael Eric Dyson, author and cultural critic (2003)
Skip Landen Professional in Residence Program
This program focuses on bringing successful alumni of our communications program to campus for a three-day residency. During this time, they visit or lecture in classes, teach master classes, provide a public lecture, and participate in various social functions involving students, faculty, and staff. Past visitors include:
• Sharon Otterman '91, vice president of media strategy at ESPN (2005)
• Jay Linden '72, executive vice president of NBC's Strategic Partnership Group (2004)
• Bill D'Elia '69, television director, executive producer, and writer (2003)
Other guest speakers who have visited Ithaca College in the past year include:
• Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter
• Ira Silverman, former chief investigative producer for the NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw
• Gary Kebbel, founding editor of USA Today.com and Newsweek.com.
• Jonathan L. Meyers, senior project manager for America Online News
• Lynn Johnson, award-winning photojournalist
• Allan Loeb, screenwriter who recently sold “The Only Living Boy” to Sony
• Michael Kaplan, vice president at Grey Direct
• Ernest Adams, video game designer
Have suggestions for speakers you'd like to see on campus? We're in the process of selecting a Park Distinguished Speaker for next year, and I'd love to hear your suggestions.