Past lectures and events

 (Sponsored and co-sponsored by the Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence)

The press impact in Ferguson, MissouriDavid Fallis, deputy investigative editor of The Washington Post Bernard Lafayette


Bill Adair, founder of PolitiFact, “A fact-checker’s tales from the 2016 election” (Part of Pulitzer Prize series)

Coming Sept. 28 2017:  “The Opioid Crisis: Follow the Pills”  -- The winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting, Eric Eyre, will be joined by attorney Patrick McGinley to talk about the news reporting that exposed the role of major drug distributors in West Virginia.

Coming Oct. 23, 2017: Future of Journalism Education Roundtable


David Fallis, deputy investigative editor of The Washington Post, discusses the news organization’s year-long study of police shootings in the United States and its unprecedented online database documenting all incidents. The project won a 2016 Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting.

Free Speech on Campus, a panel discussion focusing free speech, academic freedom and hate speech, featuring Laura Kipnis, a cultural critic and Northwestern University communications professor whose essay in The Chronicle of Education prompted a Title IX investigation; Joe Cohn, legislative and policy director for Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and Ken Paulson, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment, and president of the First Amendment Center.

Diane Nash, Civil rights legend speaks to MTSU students on Constitution Day (co-sponsor)


“From the Front Lines of Ferguson: Covering the New Civil Rights Movement” with St. Louis Post-Dispatch Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Carson, St. Louis alderman and activist Antonio French, and USA TODAY national reporter Yamiche Alcindor.

Josh Williams, multimedia editor of The New York Times, speaks. (co-sponsor)

Douglas Rushkoff, media theorist, speaks on: “Don’t Sell Your Friends: How Social Media Became Social Programming.” (co-sponsor)

Award-winning former CBS and CNN investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson speaks on topics such as governmental intimidation of journalists, and network news’ increasing reliance on pop culture “reporting.” (co-sponsor)

Civil Rights Movement icons Revs. James Lawson and C.T. Vivian speak on “No Voice, No Choice — The Voting Rights Act at 50” as part of Constitution Day (co-sponsor)

Cartoonist Daryl Cagle speaks on “First Amendment and Beyond: An Editorial Cartoonist’s Life.” (co-sponsor)


Leonard Pitts Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, speaks on “It’s Time to Face Facts.”

Sebastian Junger, author of War and the Perfect Storm, speaks on “Dispatches from War: Stories from the Front Lines of History.”

“Global Politics in the Post-Obama Era” featuring international human rights lawyer and media commentator Arsalan T. Iftikhar as speaker.


“Living the First Amendment” lecture with John Seigenthaler and son John M. Seigenthaler.

Sandy Johnson, managing editor of the Center for Public Integrity, speaks on “Uncovering Corruption: Tracking the Special Interest Money that is Making Washington Ungovernable.”


Earl Graves Sr., founder and publisher of Black Enterprise magazine, speaks.

Journalist George Curry (Sports Illustrated, St. Louis Post-Dispatch) speaks.

“From Crime Lab to Crime Fiction” with speaker Dr. Kathy Reichs, producer of the Fox TV series “Bones”.

Feminist, political activist and journalist Gloria Steinem, co-founder of Ms. magazine, speaks.

Pop culture critic and author Chuck Klosterman speaks.

Award-winning National Public Radio legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg speaks on  “Establishing Justice: The New Supreme Court.”


Columnist and TV commentator Eugene Robinson speaks on “We’re Someplace We’ve Never Been: Race, Diversity and the New America.”

Constitution Day talk on “Free Speech on University Campuses: The State of Play” with guest speakers Gene Policinski of the First Amendment Center and Nashville Scene columnist and Vanderbilt professor Bruce Barry, with a performance by the First Amendment Center’s Freedom Sings multimedia program.

“The Internet and the First Amendment” with speakers that include Robert Cox, president of the Media Bloggers Association.

“Panel on First Amendment Freedoms” with John Seigenthaler, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, and former NAACP executive Elaine Jones.

Investigative reporter Mark Danner discusses his new book “Torture and Truth: America, Abu Gharaib and the War on Terror.”

“Civil Liberties: Surveillance and Terrorism” with author and editor Roger Newman.

“Body Image and the Media” with documentary filmmaker Jesse Epstein.


USA Today columnist DeWayne Wickham lectures on “Race, the Media, and Presidential Politics: The Truth about the Fact.”

“Women, Media and the Presidential Election”, with speakers Carol Swain (Vanderbilt Law), Rita Henley Jensen (Women’s eNews editor and founder) and author Maurine Beasley.

John Seigenthaler, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and others debate the reliability, credibility and erroneous information on Wikipedia’s Seigenthaler biographical entry.

“The Media and Hillary Clinton”, with The New Yorker editor Susan Morrison as speaker.

CNN anchor Fredricka Whitfield lectures on “Underreported and Overexposed: People of Color in the Media”.

“History in the Making: Press Coverage of the Presidential Campaign” with speakers John Seigenthaler, Bill Kovach, John Mashek and Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press journalist Walter Mears.

“One on One with Candy Crowley” CNN chief political correspondent.


Terry Gross, co-executive producer and host of NPR’s Fresh Air, lectures.

Media Ethics Summit Conference (co-sponsor).

Study in Free Expression Theory (co-sponsor).

“Will Work Leave You Speechless” lecture from Vanderbilt professor-author Bruce Barry.


Former Vice President Al Gore returns to teach and lecture.

Symposium titled “Covering the Front Lines: The Evolution of War Journalism and the Lasting Effects of War Coverage in Journalism”, with speakers that include journalist and author David Halberstam, former Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent for The New York Times.

“Self-Inflicted Wounds — Journalism’s Lost Credibility” with Al Gore, John Seigenthaler, Pulitzer Prize-winning The Washington Post  reporter Carl Bernstein, USA Today executive editor John Hillkirk, and The New York Times Jonathan Landman among the speakers and panelists.

“Women and Media: Are Women’s Voices Heard in Mainstream Journalism?” Speakers include TV news correspondent Lynn Sherr (“20/20”).


Rhythm & Blues in Black & White: A Discussion of Race and Music”, a panel in conjunction with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s exhibit Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues, 1945-1970.

“When War is Reduced to a Photograph”   lecture by Barbie Zelizer, professor at the University of Pennsylvania. 


Embedding journalists with a military fighting force lecture, from Eric Ludgood, CNN vie president of international programming.

“The Media and the Emotions of War” with Columbia University professor and author Todd Gitlin.

“The Rise and Fall of the Marketplace of Ideas”, from communications scholar John Durham Peters of the University of Iowa.

“Shaking the Foundation: Investigative Journalism and the Death Penalty” with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ken Armstrong.

“News Media and Cultural Diversity: Challenges and Best Practices” panel that includes El Paso Times editor Don Flores and Seattle Post-Intelligencer editor Kenneth Bunting.


Former Vice President Al Gore participates in a year-long lecture series on “Media and Democracy.”

“Race in the New Century: A View from the Newsroom, panel with Pulitzer Prize-winning Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Acel Moore.

Herman S. Gray, author of “Watching race: Television and the Sign of Blackness”, speaks.

Post Sept. 11 Journalism, with two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning Baltimore Sun editor William K. Marimow.

“A Word on Words” 30th anniversary of taping, with two shows dedicated to First Amendment issues. Participants include author David Halberstam, Bill Kovach, and authors Winston Groom (Forrest Gump) and Alice Randall (A Wind Done Gone).

“Journalism After 9-11” panel with former  New York Times writer Anthony Lewis, columnist and scholar Geneva Overholser, University of London professor Philip Drummond, and Shaker Elsayed, secretary general of the Muslim American Society.

Creative freedom and producing music outside the recording industry’s big business mainstream, from Ian MacKaye, founder of independent record label Dischord and singer-guitarist for punk band Fugazi.

Jim Newton, deputy metro editor for politics and government at the Los Angeles Times, speaks.


In the wake of the 9-11 terrorist bombings, panel deliberates national security versus civil liberties. Panelists include John Seigenthaler, state ACLU director Hedy Weinberg, and Pulitzer Prize-winning and former NBC News president Michael Gartner.


Tom Wicker, The New York Times columnist, lectures.


 Author James Tobin, biographer of war correspondent Ernie Pyle and the Wright brothers.

Seminar titled “Can They Really Say That? Popular Music and the First Amendment” with lecturers that include Nina Crowley, executive director of the Massachusetts Music Industry Coalition.


Conference titled “Journalism Education, the First Amendment Imperative, and the Changing Media Marketplace.” Speakers include journalism professor and scholar James Carey and media critic, writer and professor Jay Rosen of New York University.


Former newspaper reporter/publisher Hodding Carter III, speaks.


“The Old News, the New News and the First Amendment” with speakers that include former Chicago Tribune editor Jim Squires, Dan Hallin of the University of California, and Richard Campbell of the University of Michigan.

Nationally syndicated columns Carl Rowan lectures on “A View from Washington.”


Tom Wicker, The New York Times columnist, delivers an address on freedom of speech.


Political Cartooning and the First Amendment seminar and exhibit. Guest speakers include Sandy Campbell (The Tennessean), David Horsey (Seattle Post-Intellegencer), Etta Hulme (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), Sam Rawls (United Features) and Draper Hill (The Detroit News).


Symposium on the Fairness Doctrine, with guest panelists Wendell “Sonny” Rawls, Fred Graham, Jim Squires, Jerome Barron, and Rep. Jim Bates.

Symposium on the Red Scare. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Studs Terkel is among the speakers.