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10 Hilton Field Road
Hanover, NH
Phone: (603) 646-0154
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Upcoming Events

Summer Lecture Series

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Summer Program — 2009: Media in Crisis

Fish Globe

Will the nation soon be deprived of one of its most hallowed professions? This thirteenth consecutive the Osher Institute summer lecture series will review the industry's recent history ... and delve into the deeper implications of today's grave crisis.

If there is a recognized "Big Three" of industries impacted by the present Imperfect Economic Storm, then Banking, Real Estate and Automotive may need to 'move over' and make room for the Media. Smaller dimensionally, but no less critical in impact, its industry is truly in grave crisis, producing self-descriptive headlines each week with another sale, shortfall or closure. And its sudden demise could well deprive the nation of a hallowed profession upon which so much in our democracy has so long depended.

Economically, the Christian Science Monitor, the Chicago Tribune, the Rocky Mountain News, even USA Today and many others were all unique cases, albeit with worrisomely similar underlying fissures. The long welcome revenue shower of campaign monies morphed almost immediately into recession, only then to lose even more to the Internet classifieds. Meanwhile, media consumption habits ruptured along generational lines as never before. Neither television, nor most radio could entirely escape similar destinies, largely incapable of creating their own models of effective resistance.

Our goal is not merely to review recent history, but rather to delve into some of the deeper implications. What voice does national security require in an age demanding ever more accountability and transparency? What free speech rights need assured protection in the increasingly salacious world of talk radio, pop fame and YouTube slander? Is privacy gone forever, another loser to the shallow Facebook ‘friend' collection? What logic is there if foreign reporting shrinks as globalization continues to expand? Do backstreet Mom-and-Pop bloggers deserve our respect and the authoritative mantle of ‘journalists'? And what of media objectivity? Does the press report on, or simply fall enraptured with, one candidate, while effectively dismissing the others as too old, too superficial, too unprepared, too blindly dogmatic?

Our speakers all labored through the best of times, and now some of the unexpected worst. One might not know every name, but you've read them all; subscribed to their media; invited them into your homes; formed opinions along with their own; eagerly awaited their next issue. They are the ones we grew up with; who helped form so many of our opinions. We will miss them while awaiting the verdict on the plethora of ‘replacements' who would attempt to fill the vacuum.

Wednesdays, July 8 - August 12, 2009
9:00 a.m. to Noon
Dartmouth College, at Hanover High School Auditorium

July 8
Increasingly Sick with Some Expiring...But Why? 
Tom Rosenstiel, Architect of Project for Excellence in Journalism, PEW Research Center

Tom Rosenstiel, Architect of Project for Excellence in Journalism, PEW Research Center

Living as we do in an era of instantaneous communication and information overload, it has become far easier for ‘journalists' to obtain information, while not necessarily easier to separate fact from opinion, public from private interests, influence from manipulation and ‘spin' from subtle corruption. Clearly we may increasingly need a nonpartisan, non-ideological and non-political guide. The generally accepted authority is still The Pew Research Center, with its ‘Project for Excellence in Journalism', its annual reports on the "State of the News Media."and Tom Rosenstiel as its chief architect.

July 15
How the Media Boom Went Bust
Dennis Stern, Senior Vice President, Deputy General Manager, The New York Times
John Kuhns, Former Publisher, The Valley News; Current Chairman, Newspapers of New England

Dennis Stern, senior vice president, deputy general manager. The New York Times    John Kuhns, former publisher, The Valley News; current chairman, Newspapers of New England

Almost a weekly litany, and this time newspapers in both large markets and small, are going down for the virtual count. Staffs and salaries cut, labor contracts re-negotiated, ads appearing on front pages, and web-only publications increasing. Where will it end, or indeed will it end? The reasons are multiple, and few outlets seem immune. Will Jefferson's greatest fear (a government without newspapers so much worse than the reverse) prove alarmingly prophetic? Our two speakers represent local and national perspectives, large and small, present and future.

July 22
Transparency vs. Secrecy: Constitutional Conundrum
Peter Teachout, Professor, Expert on Constitutional Law and First Amendment Rights, Vermont Law School
Lyle Denniston, Author and 'Dean' of US Supreme Court Journalists

Peter Teachout, professor, expert on constitutional law and first amendment rights, Vermont Law School    Lyle Denniston, author and 'dean' of US Supreme Court journalists

Conflicting issues for both media and the nation in an age of Terrorism. The public demands accountability and transparency, while government understandably requires confidentiality, and in many cases, secrecy, in the name of national security. Professor Peter Teachout, a specialist in Constitutional law and the First Amendment, tracks evolving free speech/press issues and challenges, while Lyle Denniston reflects on almost 50 years of Supreme Court reporting and the new challenges facing 21st century media.

July 29
Foreign Reporting in a Globalized World
Christopher Wren, Reporter, Editor, Bureau Chief in Five Countries, The New York Times
Barrie Dunsmore, Foreign Affairs Television Correspondent During Seven Presidential Administrations

Christopher Wren, reporter, editor, bureau chief in five countries, The New York Times    Barrie Dunsmore, foreign affairs television correspondent during seven presidential administrations

As the world shrinks and “flattens,” print and broadcasting are retrenching their foreign reporting. Traditionally these outlets maintained bureaus in dozens of countries, but now they fly out of a handful of world capitals or depend entirely on news or broadcast services, many foreign owned and staffed. Increasingly reporting concentrates on crisis coverage, losing much perspective and depth. Our speakers are foreign correspondents with decades of experience in print and television reporting throughout the world.

August 5
Static on Broadcast Media
Bob Hager, Former NBC Television Correspondent Covering Wars and Other Cataclysmic Events
Sandy Gilmour, Former CBS and NBC Domestic and Foreign News Broadcaster
Steve Delaney, Television, Radio and Newspaper Domestic and International Correspondent, Producer and News Director, VPR

Bob Hager    Sandy Gilmour    Steve Delaney

For decades the nightly network news shows we grew up with and their celebrity anchors amounted to an American institution. Although networks still have sizable audiences, in recent years their dominance has been sapped by cable and Internet news sources. Their response has often been to cut back on coverage and produce “softer” news shows. Our panel consists of two former network correspondents, and a third who switched to radio and became a well-known reporter on Vermont Public Radio.

August 12
Enter the Internet Game-Changer
Zephyr Teachout, Expert on Internet Impact on Politics and Government, Duke University Law School
Matt Dunne, US Manager of Community Affairs, Google

Zephyr Teachout    Matt Dunne

Clearly more cause than result, and certainly the big winner to date, we've already felt the generational difference, the impact on politics, the vast research capability, and these are but a few of today's surface factors. Will it consume all in its path; influence everything we do; or instead produce its own problems and unique new challenges? Zephyr Teachout is a recognized expert on broad aspects of its impact, and Matt Dunne comes to us with the global view from Google.

Registration for Media in Crisis
Dartmouth College, at Hanover High School Auditorium
Six consecutive Wednesdays, July 8, 2008 - August 12, 2009
9:00 a.m. - Noon

The Osher Institute members may subscribe by mailing a check for $80 to the Osher Institute, 10 Hilton Field Rd, Hanover NH 03755. Others may join the Osher Institute and subscribe for $160. Please call (603) 653-0154 for more information or e-mail the Osher

Last Updated: 2/1/13