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Experts to Convene Oct. 20 for Discussion of Current Media Climate

Old Dominion University will host a panel discussion, titled "Information Overload: Perils to Democracy in the Digital Age," at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20, in room 117 of the Gornto Teletechnet Center. The event is free and open to the public.

The program will feature David Dent, New York University professor and author of "In Search of Black America"; Mark Jurkowitz, associate director of the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism; Donald Luzzatto, editorial page editor for The Virginian-Pilot; Brenda Andrews, publisher of the New Journal and Guide; Margaret Mulholland, associate professor of oceanography at ODU; and Jeff Jones, associate professor of communication at ODU. Cathy Lewis, host and executive producer for WHRO and community engagement liaison for ODU, will moderate the discussion.

"Many of us are seriously concerned about the current media environment and its effect on democracy," said Joyce Hoffmann, associate professor of journalism at ODU and former public editor of The Virginian-Pilot, who organized the event for the College of Arts and Letters.

Hoffmann cites two recent surveys, one that found 20 percent of the American public believes that President Barack Obama is a Muslim and another that found 25 percent of the people in Hampton Roads consider global warming a myth, as proof of the difficulty of discerning fact from fiction within the current media climate.

"Information overload within the news media gives people such confusing signals. It's time for us to develop systems to educate people to be astute consumers of media," she concluded.

This article was posted on: October 19, 2010

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