Former Washington Post executive editor to open new lecture series at Fairfield University with post-election talk


Image: L DownieLeonard Downie Jr., the former executive editor of The Washington Post, will launch Open VISIONS Forum-Espresso, a new 'on-the-go' lecture series at Fairfield University. Downie will deliver a free, public lecture, "The Lessons of the 2012 Election and Its News Coverage," at 7 p.m., Tuesday, November 13 at the Fairfield University Bookstore, 1499 Post Road, Fairfield.

Open VISIONS Forum-Espresso is a sister series to the University's long-established signature lecture series Open VISIONS Forum (OVF) - but with a twist.

"Our newly designated OVF-Espresso format offers community audiences a well-measured jolt of intellectual stimulation," said Philip Eliasoph, Ph.D., professor of art history and OVF's founder and director. "And in the same way we might enjoy the mobility of an espresso coffee on the run, these presentations can be timed and paced with greater flexibility. We invite the distinguished listeners among our OVF loyalists to attend these programs - many of which are free - at smaller venues on campus and at the Fairfield University Bookstore downtown and share with us a quickly paced 'moveable feast' of ideas."

Eliasoph said he's pleased the inaugural event will feature Leonard Downie. Downie is the Weil Family Professor of Journalism at The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and vice president at large of The Washington Post, where he was executive editor from 1991 to 2008. During his 44-year tenure at the Post, he was an investigative reporter, an editor on the local and national news desks, London correspondent, and, from 1984 to 1991, managing editor under the then-executive editor Ben Bradlee. As deputy metro editor from 1972 to 1974, Downie helped supervise the Post's Watergate coverage. He also oversaw the newspaper's coverage of every national election from 1984 through 2008. During his years as executive editor, the Post won 25 Pulitzer prizes.

Downie received his bachelor's and master's degrees, as well an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, from The Ohio State University. He is the author of five books, including "The New Muckrakers," "The News About the News: American Journalism in Peril" and "The Rules of the Game," a novel about journalism and politics in Washington. He co-authored a major report on the state of the news media, "The Reconstruction of American Journalism," which was published by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2009.

Downie is a founder and board member of Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc., an advisory board member of the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism at the University of Maryland and chairman of the board of advisers of Kaiser Health News. He is also a member of the Aspen Institute's Commission to Reform the Federal Appointments Process.

James Simon, Ph.D., associate dean of Fairfield University's College of Arts and Sciences, will introduce Downie. Dr. Simon covered politics for 10 years with The Associated Press and was named national journalism "Teacher of the Year" in 2003 by a division of the largest journalism educators group. He also served as assistant secretary of the environment for the state of Massachusetts, then worked in the Dukakis presidential campaign in 1988 before moving back to the academic world.

This event is a collaboration with the departments of English, politics and communication and the Program in the Environment at Fairfield University.

For further information contact Elizabeth Hastings at ehastings@fairfield.edu.

Bookmark and Share

Media Contact: Mike Horyczun, (203) 254-4000 ext. 2647, mhoryczun@fairfield.edu

Posted on October 17, 2012

Vol. 45, No. 84