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Do Words Matter? Journalism, Communication and Alternative Truth

May 25 @ 12:00 pm-8:30 pm

- Free

Part of the Meyer and Renee Luskin Lecture Series

May 25, 2017 – Luskin Conference Center – Centennial Ballroom

Steve Bannon has labeled the press the “opposition.” President Trump called them “the enemy of the American people.” What does this mean in a country in which democracy is based in large part on the foundation of a free press?

The Luskin School of Public Affairs by its very nature is committed to the essential value of information (fact, evidence, analysis) and its effective communication through words (scholarship, reports, lectures, forums, interviews, and, of course, teaching).  What does all of this mean in a world in which words don’t matter?

Join us for an examination of communication in the Trump era: a look at how the news media covered the 2016 campaign, how Trump’s followers have tried to redefine the truth, and the challenges facing the press as they cover the White House.

The events will include three panels looking at the different challenges media faced during the 2016 election season and what those challenges mean for the future with the Trump administration. The daylong event will conclude with a Luskin Lecture by Ray Suarez, a journalist who covered the rise of Donald Trump and the host of Inside Story on Al Jazeera America.

Register Here

*Registration is required, but does not guarantee seating. Seating is first come, first served. Early arrival is suggested.


12PM Boxed lunch for registrants

12:30PM – 2PM Panel 1: The 2016 Campaign and Media Impact

2PM – 2:15PM Break

2:30PM – 4PM Panel 2: The Face/Place of Media During the Trump Administration

4:15PM – 4:30PM Break

4:45PM – 6PM Panel 3: Truth or Trolls

6PM – 7:15PM Reception

7:20PM – 8:30PM Luskin Lecture: What An “Enemy of the American People: Has to Do Now by Ray Suarez


The 2016 Campaign and Media Impact

12:30pm – 2pm

Did mainstream media get it wrong in the 2016 presidential election? The New York Times put Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency at 84 percent. Almost all of the polls were wrong, except for the L.A. Times, whose poll showing Trump leading was derided throughout the campaign. Did the media play a key role in the biggest upsets in election history? Was the “Trump will lose” narrative enough to convince voters to stay home on Nov. 8?


Lara Bergthold – Principal Partner at RALLY

Jefferson Graham – Tech Columnist for USA Today and the host of USA Today’s Talking Tech

Tim Groeling – Professor of Communication Studies

Melissa McCoy – Media consultant and writer and 2016 T. Anthony Pollner Distinguished Professor of Journalism, University of Montana; former Deputy Managing Editor, Los Angeles Times

Lynn Vavreck – Professor of Political Science and Communication Studies

Zev Yaroslavsky – Director of the Los Angeles Initiative

Sasha Issenberg (Moderator) – Journalist, Author of The Victory Lab

The Face/Place of Media During the Trump Administration

2:30pm – 4pm

It had never happened before. When the White House kicked the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times and CNN reporters out of a press briefing in February as retribution for its reporting on the Trump-Russia connection, it set the tone for a very tense relationship between the media and this administration. So where do we go from here? How can reporters overcome the barriers of truth? Gary Segura, the new Dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, will lead a panel discussion on where this tense and complicated relationship stands now, and what we might expect over the next four years.


Nick Goldberg, Editorial Editor, Los Angeles Times

Erin Aubry Kaplan – Contributing Editor, Op-Ed LA Times, former staff writer and columnist, LA Weekly and New Times Los Angeles

Pilar Marrero – Journalist, Political Writer, Political Analyst of LA Opinion

Carlos Maza, Video Producer, VOX

Adam Nagourney – Los Angeles Bureau Chief, The New York Times

Gary Segura (Moderator) – Dean and Professor, Luskin School of Public Affairs

Truth or Trolls

4:45pm – 6pm

From Kellyanne Conway’s alternative facts to Sean Spicer saying that the White House never intends to lie but can disagree with the facts, it’s been an interesting first six months for the Trump presidency’s relationship with the truth. Kevin Roderick, a former editor at the Los Angeles Times and director of UCLA Newsroom, will guide us through discussion featuring a panel of journalists and scholars who will address truth in the era of Trump. And one of the panelists will tell the story of how trolls turned her life upside-down for almost a month.


Angelo Carusone – President of Media Matters

Abigail Goldman – Assistant Adjunct Professor, UCLA Department of Communication Studies; Editorial Advisor, UCLA Student Media; Los Angeles Times staff writer (former)

Greg Hernandez – US Correspondent, Gay Star News

Jim Newton – Lecturer in Public Policy and Communication Studies

Doris Truong – Homepage Editor at the Washington Post

Kevin Roderick (Moderator)- Director of UCLA Newsroom


Luskin Lecture: What An “Enemy of the American People” Has to Do Now

7:20pm – 8:30pm

In September 2017, Ray Suarez will begin an appointment as the McCloy Visiting Professor of American Studies at Amherst College. He was recently the host of Al Jazeera America’s daily news program, Inside Story. He was a correspondent and anchor at public television’s nightly newscast, the “PBS NewsHour.” Before PBS, he was the Washington-based host of NPR’s “Talk of the Nation.”

Suarez is also an author. He wrote the companion to the PBS documentary series, “Latino Americans.” He published an examination of the relationship between religion and electoral politics, “The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America.” His first book, “The Old Neighborhood: What We Lost in the Great Suburban Migration” (Free Press, 1999) examined decades of transition in urban America.

Suarez holds a BA in African History from New York University and an MA in the Social Sciences from University of Chicago.

Presented by The Luskin School of Public Affairs
in partnership with Department of Political Science


Luskin Conference Center
425 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095 United States
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