Award-winning journalists to discuss role of the press

A strong and independent press plays a critical role in a healthy democracy: at a time of crippling polarization and the closing of newsrooms across the country, how is American’s fourth estate doing? On Nov. 14, NPR’s David Folkenflik ’91, Zubrow Distinguished Visiting Journalist in the College of Arts and Sciences, will moderate a panel of noted journalists and faculty to discuss “Free Press in a Free Society: U.S. Newsrooms on the Front Lines.”

The event will be at 5:30 pm in the Kiplinger Theater in the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. Tickets are free but registration is required; the public is welcome.

The panelists will be Marc Lacey '87, managing editor of the New York Times; Shawna Thomas, executive producer of CBS News' "CBS Mornings"; and Suzanne Mettler, the John L. Senior Professor of American Institutions (A&S) in the Department of Government (A&S).

“We find ourselves at a pivotal moment as a society,” Folkenflik said. “The press is not just chronicling that moment but finding itself cast as a player, facing challenges to its credibility online, on the campaign trail and on the streets, in courtrooms, in corporate boardrooms and even from within its own newsrooms.”

“These accomplished guests will help shed light on how judgments are made by news leaders, how journalism is rising to meet this test, and how first principles apply in a rapidly evolving age,” Folkenflik added.

Folkenflik serves as NPR’s media correspondent. His stories and analyses are broadcast on multiple NPR programs, including All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Here & Now; he previously served as host of On Point. He was named one of the 50 most influential people in American media by Business Insider.

Lacey has spent more than 20 years at The New York Times, in roles including foreign correspondent, White House correspondent, national editor and the senior editor overseeing the paper’s global live news report. Before arriving at The New York Times, he was a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, where he contributed to Pulitzer-winning breaking news coverage. He was chosen as the inaugural Distinguished Visiting Journalist in 2019.

Thomas joined CBS News from Quibi, where she served as a content development executive working on short-form news programming from CBS News, NBC News and BBC News for the mobile video platform. Thomas was previously the Washington bureau chief of Vice News and a senior producer for NBC’s Meet The Press. Her work has earned her four Emmy awards, a Peabody, a Gracie Award and two Scripps Howard honors.

Mettler's research and teaching focus on American political development, public policy, and political behavior. She is particularly interested in issues pertaining to democracy (both democratization and backsliding), inequality, and citizenship. Her most recent book is “Four Threats: The Recurring Crises of American Democracy.”

“Free Press in a Free Society” is part of the Distinguished Visiting Journalist program in the College of Arts and Sciences and of Cornell’s Freedom of Expression theme year.

The Distinguished Visiting Journalist program is funded through a significant endowment from Jan Rock Zubrow ’77 and Barry Zubrow, as well as additional philanthropic support from Carol MacCorkle ’64, Jay Branegan ’72, Rose Gutfeld Edwards ’78 and the Dr. Guinevere Griest ’44 Fund for Public Engagement in A&S.

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		Free Press in a Free Society: U.S. Newsrooms on the Front Lines