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School of Arts and Sciences

Edward R. Murrow Forum Celebrates Tenth Anniversary

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

April 8 Event Features George Stephanopoulos

Arianna Huffington signing books

by Rachel Clarke, A15

Huffington
Arianna Huffington signing books at the at the Tufts
bookstore before the 2014 Murrow Forum


This year, the Tufts Edward R. Murrow Forum on Issues in Journalism, established to commemorate journalist Edward R. Murrow, widely considered one of the most influential journalists of the 20th century, celebrates its tenth anniversary. ABC News' Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos is the guest for anniversary event, to be held April 8 in the ASEAN auditorium. The Murrow Forum is hosted by the Communications and Media Studies (CMS) program in the School of Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with the Edward R. Murrow Center of Public Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and the Tisch College of Citizenship of Public Service.

The Murrow Forum, which has hosted a roster of world-renowned journalists including Tom Brokaw, Chris Matthews, Ted Koppel, Dan Rather, Katie Couric, and Arianna Huffington, was first established in 2006 to foster a discussion of pertinent issues in journalism.

Couric
Katie Couric at the 2011 Murrow Forum.
(photo by John Ciampa)

Neal Shapiro, A80, current Chief Executive Officer of WNET and former President of NBC News, and Julie Dobrow, director of the CMS program, conceived of the Murrow Forum ten years ago, and have worked together to plan the event each year since. As chair of the Communications and Media Studies Alumni Board, Shapiro called on the advice of the late David Burke, A57, former Vice President of News at CBS and ABC, a mentor to Shapiro who had helped the CMS program grow. "We were trying to think of something important that we could do," says Shapiro, "and David Burke said to us 'you need a big speaker.'" That year, Burke secured Koppel as the inaugural Murrow Forum speaker. "Koppel opened the forum with his signature tagline, 'I'm Ted Koppel and this…is Tufts University,' upon which the room erupted in laughter," recalls Shapiro.

For Dobrow, a few other moments from Murrow events stand out. "When Dan Rather, and also Christiane Amanpour, sat down with a group of our student journalists, the attention they paid to students was astounding and encouraging," recalls Dobrow. Dobrow recollects a humorous Murrow Forum moment when Arianna Huffington signed books at the at the Tufts bookstore before the event. "She saw a large stuffed elephant and promptly sat down on it in front of a group of people," says Dobrow.
 

Koppel
The first Murrow Forum featured Ted Koppel.
(photo by Melody Ko/Tufts University)

Although some of the early Murrow Forums featured a panel discussion that included print and broadcast journalists, more recently, the event has featured a noted journalist in a one-on-one interview with Jonathan M. Tisch, A76, Co-Chairman of the Board of the Loews Corporation and host of the Emmy-nominated television series "Beyond the Boardroom with Jonathan Tisch."

Stephanopoulos will discuss "Who Do You Believe in the 24/7, Multi-Platform World of News?" Tisch will interview Stephanopoulos about a range of current issues in journalism. "I'm interested to learn his view on the dynamic state of journalism and the role of television in a 24/7 news-cycle when there are a multitude of information sources available," says Tisch. "Also, given his former career in politics, I would like to get his perspective on the 2016 Presidential election. It should be another informative conversation for the students and greater Tufts community." The forum will end with an opportunity for the audience to ask Stephanopoulos about his years in politics and journalism.

Stephanopoulos currently leads ABC's coverage on all major issues, including politics, current affairs, and breaking news from the United States and around the world. He is an anchor on "Good Morning America" and "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." He previously worked in Washington D.C., first as an aide for Ohio Congressman Ed Feighan, and later as deputy campaign manager for communications with Bill Clinton's presidential campaign.
 

Stephanopolous
George Stephanopoulos will speak at the 2015
Murrow Forum.

Shapiro believes that it is important to honor Edward R. Murrow's memory through the event. "I think Edward R. Murrow probably cast the largest shadow of any broadcaster when it comes to being a pioneer, when it comes to the quality of work, and when it comes to being a symbol of how to use words and pictures together," explains Shapiro. He also notes that Edward R. Murrow "is a constant reminder that we have to report on serious issues of the day. "Too much of news is consumed about things that aren't really important," says Shapiro.

The Tufts Edward R. Murrow Forum on Issues in Journalism will host ABC News' Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on April 8 at 3:30 PM in the ASEAN auditorium. The forum is free and open to public.

The CMS program and Tisch College will also host a series of workshops for students earlier in the day on April 8. Many Tufts alumni, including Marian Porges, J82, NBC, John Davidow, A77, WBUR, Anthony Everett, A83, WCVB, Patrice Taddonio, A06, WGBH, Simone Press, A08, Huffington Post, and Nicholas Dynan, A11, GlobalPost, will facilitate these workshops, which will touch on issues such as "digital first" (how the editorial process changes when news is online first), gender, race and journalism, and investigative reporting.