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Friday, April 17, 2015

Hot Topics: The Fine Line Between Informing and Shaping Public Opinion

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Session Description

Join leading global media executives and journalists in a lively discussion about news stories that drove headlines this past year and how the media chose to cover them. How do media outlets decide what to include? What information is selected to stay out? During intense coverage, do the media strike the right balance with objective reporting, or are they disproportionately driving public perception about an issue? Expect topics to range from the current challenges in Ukraine, to the next infectious disease in Africa, fallout from the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the continued Boko Haram kidnappings and suggestions from the crowd!

When | Where

10:00 - 11:15 Friday, April 17 SBS, Edmond Safra Lecture Theatre

Session leaders

  • Sandy Herz Moderator
    Director of Global Partnerships, Skoll Foundation
    Sandy Herz cultivates strategic partnerships for the Skoll Foundation, with a portfolio that includes Sundance, BritDoc, BBC, NPR, PBS NewsHour, Public Radio International, and HarperOne, as well as the foundation’s flagship relationship with the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. Consistent with Skoll’s mission, Sandy seeks out world-class storytellers and platforms to create broader awareness of, engagement with, and impact from the work of leading social entrepreneurs. Sandy started her career in corporate finance in New York, working on leveraged buyouts during the “Bonfire of the Vanities” age before having an early mid-life crisis and discovering social entrepreneurship. Prior to joining the Skoll Foundation, Sandy worked with several innovative grassroots non-profit organizations and spent six years as Executive Director of the Software Development Forum. She received a BA from Brown University, an MA from the Stanford School of Education, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. However, her best education came from selling frozen food door-to-door out of the back of a pick-up truck in the Boston suburbs one summer during college.
  • Sara Just Speaker
    Executive Producer, PBS NewsHour
    SARA JUST - BIO Sara Just is the executive producer of PBS NewsHour and Senior Vice President of WETA. Since she came on board to lead the program in 2014, the NewsHour has seen growth in its audience, both on air and online, as well as a redesign of the broadcast, the launch of a variety of new features, contributors and partnerships, and an expansion of the number of enterprising stories the NewsHour covers around the world. The program has recently won a variety of journalism’s top awards and honors, including the Peabody Award and Emmy Awards. Just came to public broadcasting after more than 25 years at ABC News. In recent years, she served as ABC’s Washington Deputy Bureau Chief and Senior Washington Producer for Good Morning America. She previously spent 17 years at Ted Koppel’s Nightline, where she worked on a wide variety of award-winning foreign, domestic and political stories. Just moved to ABC’s Digital division in 2006 and led ABCNews.com’s political coverage over two presidential campaigns and supervised the development of political online products and partnerships, bridging digital and television coverage. Just is the recipient of 12 Emmy Awards, 2 duPont Silver Batons, 3 Peabody Awards, 3 Webby honors, 2 Cines, a Gracie, a James Beard Award and an RFK Journalism Award. In 2012 she completed the Sulzberger Leadership Program at Columbia University’s Journalism School. Just is a graduate of Columbia University. She serves on the boards of the Columbia Spectator and the Hope for Henry Foundation and the advisory board of Intelligence Squared-US. She lives in the Washington DC area with her husband and two sons.
  • Madhulika Sikka Speaker
    , Independent
    Madhulika Sikka is former Executive Editor for NPR News, overseeing all desks and reporters, and helping set the agenda for the entire News division. Previously, Sikka was executive producer of NPR's Morning Edition, public radio's most-listened-to program. Under her leadership, Morning Edition traveled across the globe and the country reporting on the defining issues of our time. Sikka, an award-winning news producer, joined NPR in 2006 from ABC News where she was a Senior Producer at Nightline. She has also worked for NBC News in London and CBS News in Tokyo. She has a BA from the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies and a MPhil from Cambridge University in Economic & Political Development. She is the author of A Breast Cancer Alphabet (Crown Feb 2014)
  • Ray Suarez Speaker
    Freelancer, Individual
    Veteran journalist Ray Suarez was most recently the host of Al Jazeera America’s daily news program, Inside Story. The program covered a wide array of national and international news stories, from the rise of Donald Trump to long-term unemployment to the Russian seizure of the Crimean peninsula to the arrival of the zika virus on US soil. Before coming to AJAM, Suarez spent 14 years as a correspondent and anchor at public television’s nightly newscast, The PBS NewsHour where he rose to become chief national correspondent. During his years at The NewsHour, Suarez covered the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, four presidential elections, broadcast from the floor of seven party political conventions, moderated two presidential primary candidates’ debates, reported from the devastating Haitian earthquake, the 2006 Mexico elections, the H1N1 virus pandemic in Mexico, and on the explosion of tuberculosis/HIV co-infection in South Africa among hundreds of other stories. Before arriving at The NewsHour Suarez was the Washington-based host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation for six-and-a-half years. During Suarez’ time as host, the program’s carriage more than doubled to more than 150 radio stations, and the audience more than tripled in size to two-and-a-half million. The New York Times called Suarez the “thinking man’s talk show host,” and “a national resource.” The magazine Utne Reader called him a “visionary.” Talk of the Nation made history, broadcasting live coast to coast across South Africa and across the United States, connecting these two audiences to talk about the post-apartheid future during the first elections after liberation. During Northern Ireland’s first Christmas in peace after decades of The Troubles, Talk of the Nation became the first radio program ever simulcast over Ireland’s RTE, Britain’s BBC, and NPR in the United States.
  • Solomon Mugera Speaker
    Editor BBC Africa, BBC
    Solomon Mugera is in charge of BBC’s language services that broadcast to Africa on radio, TV, online, mobile and social media, reaching a weekly audience of more than 90 million. The languages include English, Hausa, Swahili, Somali, Kinyarwanda/Kirundi and French. BBC Africa has more than 200 employees based in London and on the continent where it operates bureaux in four key cities, Abuja, Dakar, Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. In addition, it has offices in Abidjan, Accra, Bujumbura, Kampala, Kigali and Kinshasa. Over the past four years, BBC Africa has transformed from being a heavily radio-focussed broadcaster to a multimedia operation, with daily news and current affairs TV bulletins in English (Focus on Africa), Swahili, French and Hausa. Prior to being appointed Editor for BBC Africa, Mr Mugera headed the BBC Swahili service. He began his journalism career in Kenya where he first worked for the state broadcaster KBC later joining privately owned TV station KTN. Mr Mugera holds an MA in Media Management and has more than 20 years of experience as a broadcast journalist.