Al Jazeera adviser to headline UW-Madison journalism ethics conference

March 15, 2011

Al Jazeera's chief strategic adviser in the Americas will be the keynote speaker at the third journalism ethics conference at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Friday, April 15.

Tony Burman, previously managing director of Al Jazeera English, will address the conference "In Your Face: Partisan Journalism in a Democracy." The Center for Journalism Ethics will stage the conference at the Fluno Center.

This year's conference addresses the following question: "Is the rise of a more opinionated and partisan media a positive development for our democracy or not?" Participants from across the political spectrum will explore the implications of partisan media for public broadcasters, news networks and journalism ethics.

"The question of whether partisan media advances democracy is one of the most important issues facing today's journalism ethics," says Stephen J.A. Ward, Burgess Professor of Journalism Ethics and director of the Center for Journalism Ethics.

Also, the Center for Journalism Ethics will announce the recipient of this year's Wisconsin Commitment to Journalism Ethics Award. A committee of journalists and media scholars, under chair Ellen Foley, will choose this year's recipient.

Conference speakers and panelists include Canadian journalist Ira Basen; UW-Madison media historian James Baughman; New York Times public editor Arthur Brisbane; UW-Madison digital media specialist Katy Culver; JoEllen Fair, specialist on media in Africa at UW-Madison; investigative journalists Andy Hall and Brant Houston; UW-Madison political scientists Ken Goldstein and Charles Franklin; communication researcher Shawnika Hull; TV executive Byron Knight; UW-Madison professor and former NPR executive Jack Mitchell; KQED (San Francisco) executive news director Raul Ramirez; global researcher Shakuntala Rao; UW-Madison professor and Colombian attorney Hernando Rojas; UW-Madison political communication expert Dhavan Shah; NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard; and WISC-TV news director Colin Benedict.

Further information on the conference program and registration is on the Center for Journalism Ethics' website at http://ethics.journalism.wisc.edu.

The event runs from 8:45 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Fluno Center, 601 University Ave. Registration is free for students and $20 for others; register by filling out the form on the center's website. The conference will be live streamed from the Center for Journalism Ethics' website. The site will have a blog and Twitter feed allowing bloggers and tweeters to participate in the discussion online.

The Center for Journalism Ethics was established two years ago at the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The Center for Journalism Ethics promotes the ethical standards of democratic journalism through discussion, research, teaching, professional outreach and newsroom partnerships.

This year's conference sponsored by The Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation, The Kurey Co.; Green Line Strategies, American Family Insurance, WISC-TV, Wisconsin Newspaper Association, UW alumna Peppy O'Neill, the Wisconsin Alumni Association, and a gift from an anonymous donor through Lee Wilkins, a member of the Center for Journalism Ethics' advisory board.

News media inquiries for interviews and coverage of the conference should be directed to Wendy Swanberg, assistant to the Center for Journalism Ethics director, at 608-219-4150.