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Truth vs. Propaganda: Knowing the Difference and Why It Matters
Sunday, March 7 at 7 p.m.
A recent Washington Post editorial claimed "America is in crisis; we can't agree on what's true and what's false anymore. Some 'news sites' are not merely alternative, they cloak themselves in the mantle of news while peddling deception." Helping us weigh this familiar assertion will be Brian Murchison, Charles S. Rowe Professor of Law and Director of the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics at W&L; Aly Colon, Knight Professor of Ethics in Journalism; and John X. Miller '77, '80L, senior editor at The Undefeated at ESPN. An expert on the First Amendment, Murchison will explore the competing values of freedom of speech and truth-telling as foundations of American democracy; Colon will consider the ethical questions haunting advocacy journalism; and Miller, former visiting journalism professor at W&L, will offer insights from his long career pursuing the truth as a newspaper editor and reporter.
This session is a Zoom webinar. You will receive a link to join the webinar after registering. We are asking that you submit questions beforehand through the registration page.
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Brian Murchison
Brian C. Murchison has been on the law faculty since 1982. He is the Charles S. Rowe Professor of Law and currently Director of the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics. He has written about First Amendment values, Internet anonymity, due process in the regulatory state, separation of powers, and statutory interpretation. His undergraduate and law degrees are from Yale, and he practiced law in Washington, D.C.  Professor Murchison teaches Torts, Mass Media Law, Administrative Law, and co-founded the law school's Black Lung legal clinic, which represents coal miners in federal workers' compensation claims. In 2017-18, he chaired W&L's Commission on Institutional History and Community. He has participated frequently in the Law & Literature Alumni College. A highlight for him in recent years was teaching an undergraduate seminar on the separation of powers in W&L's Spring Term.
Aly Colón
Aly Colón is the Knight Professor of Media Ethics in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications at Washington and Lee University.  Prior to joining Washington and Lee, Colón spent more than 30 years in journalism. He worked for a news service, daily newspapers, public radio, network television and a journalism institute. Most recently, he served as a Director of Standards & Practices at NBC News and Telemundo Network News. He held editing and reporting positions at The Seattle TimesThe Everett HeraldThe Oakland Press and Fairchild News Service. He also spent a decade teaching professional journalists about ethics and diversity at the Poynter Institute, a global resource in journalism. Editor of Best Newspaper Writing book, more than 400 pages of award-winning journalism used by journalists and university journalism professors. Colón has conducted newsroom training for more than 50 news organizations and has done consulting on diversity, ethics, writing, editing and leadership. He has been a media consultant and independent journalist, and has worked as a corporate communication manager.
John X. Miller ’77, '80L
John X. Miller is the senior editor for news, commentary and HBCUs for The Undefeated, ESPN's multimedia platform for exploring the intersections of race, sports and culture.
He is a veteran journalist of more than four decades, having been a top editor at several newspapers including the Detroit Free Press, USA Today, the Charlotte Observer, Winston-Salem Journal and Myrtle Beach Sun News. Significantly, he was a founding staffer of USA Today in 1982 and an original staff member of The Undefeated in 2016, making his decades-long career truly unique.
He currently serves as board chair for the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, has been a Pulitzer Prize Juror, and was the first Donald W. Reynolds Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism at W&L in 2005. He is a HistoryMaker, a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.
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