Common Law Grounds Symposium To Eye Media Impact on Political Dialogue

Journalists, Scholars Will Discuss Bias, 'Fake News'
Of Bubbles and Biases
October 16, 2017

How is dialogue about politics possible when people disagree not only about values and policy, but also about the relevant facts reported by the media? A symposium sponsored by Common Law Grounds at the University of Virginia School of Law on Friday will bring together journalists, experts and scholars to discuss the difficulties of democracy in the current media environment.

"We read different newspapers, watch different television stations, listen to different radio stations and read different websites," said third-year law student Megan Keenan, who helped organize the event, "Of Bubbles and Biases: The Press and Democratic Dialogue."

"Common Law Grounds is questioning whether we can break out of these media bubbles and have productive conversations with others."

Dean Risa Goluboff will kick off the event in Caplin Pavilion with introductory remarks at 10 a.m. During the first panel, at 10:15 a.m., journalists will discuss the challenges they face in reporting truthfully and objectively. At a second session at noon, two experts who study the media will explore how the media environment has changed and the impact of changing business models on the industry. For the final session, the panelists and audience will join a moderated discussion.

"The discussion will begin with an exercise in which audience members watch or read different news coverage of the same event from different media sources in order to see how differently those sources chose to cover the event," Keenan said. "We will then hold a discussion about whether — and if so, how — meaningful dialogue among people who disagree about values and facts is possible."

Common Law Grounds is a group of ideologically diverse Law School students who periodically meet with members of the faculty and staff to work through scenarios in small groups across ideological lines.

Friday, Oct. 20

Caplin Pavilion

10-10:15 a.m.

Event Kickoff

  • Dean Risa Goluboff

10:15-11:45 a.m.

Session 1: Challenges Facing Journalists

  • Robert Blau, Bloomberg News
  • Richard Leiby, The Washington Post
  • Paige Lavender, Huffington Post
  •  Peter Hasson, The Daily Caller

12-1 p.m.

Session 2: State of the Media

  • Michael Barthel, Pew Research
  • Meredith Clark, UVA Media Studies

1-2 p.m.


2:15-3:30 p.m.

Session 3: Discussion

  • Rachel Wahl, UVA Curry School

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