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UIS to present Government Accountability and a Free Press Project

October 24, 2007

Contact: Cheryl Peck, 206-7823, cpeck1@uis.edu

Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller will take part in evening panel

SPRINGFIELD -- On November 7 the University of Illinois at Springfield will host the first two programs in the Government Accountability and a Free Press Project, a series of events designed to explore legal, ethical, and practical political and policy issues that may arise as members of the press engage in investigative reporting that is intended to uncover less-than-transparent government conduct.

The project is a collaborative effort of UIS' College of Public Affairs and Administration, Center for State Policy and Leadership, and Sangamon Auditorium. All events in the project are open to the public.

The project opens with a luncheon seminar exploring a number of related issues at noon in the Public Affairs Center Lobby on the UIS campus. Advance reservations are required.

Photo of Charles Lewis
Charles Lewis

The discussion will feature Charles Lewis, president of The Fund for Independence in Journalism, and a panel of investigative reporters including Bernard M. Judge, veteran Chicago newspaper executive and editor emeritus of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin; Phil Kadner, award-winning Page 2 news columnist and associate editor for The Daily Southtown; and Dave McKinney, Springfield bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Pinky Wassenberg, dean of the College of Public Affairs and Administration, will serve as moderator.

Lewis founded the Center for Public Integrity in 1989 and served as its executive director until December 2004. From 1977 through 1988, he did investigative reporting for ABC and CBS news; at CBS he was also a producer for senior correspondent Mike Wallace at 60 Minutes.

Reservations, including lunch, are $10. Contact the Center for State Policy and Leadership at 217/206-7163.

Photo of Judith Miller
Judith Miller

Later that evening, at 7:30 p.m. a panel discussion featuring Judith Miller, Pulitzer Prize-winner and former investigative reporter for The New York Times, will be held in the Studio Theatre, located on the lower level of the Public Affairs Center. Admission is free; however tickets are required.

Miller will begin the program with a keynote address about freedom of the press. Lewis and a panel of investigative reporters will respond, followed by questions and reactions from the audience.

In July 2005, Miller was jailed for contempt of court for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the source of a leak outing Valerie Plame as a covert CIA agent; while Miller did not write about Plame, she reportedly possessed evidence relevant to the investigation. She subsequently spent 85 days in jail, twice as long as any American reporter has ever been confined for protecting a confidential source. She ended her 30-year career with the Times in November 2005 and has since become an advocate for enactment of a federal shield law to protect the relationship between reporters, their sources, and the public's right to know.

Joining Charles Lewis and Phil Kadner on the panel for the evening discussion will be Charles N. Wheeler III, associate professor and director of the Public Affairs Reporting program at UIS and a 24-year veteran newsman with the Chicago Sun-Times, including 19 years with the paper's Statehouse bureau.

Bill Wheelhouse, general manager of public radio station WUIS 91.9 FM, will moderate.

Tickets for the evening program are available at the Sangamon Auditorium Ticket Office, 217/206-6160.

Those unable to attend either program in person can watch a live webcast by going to www.uis.edu/technology/uislive.html at the time of the event.

The Government Accountability and a Free Press Project continues on February 1, 2008, with the L.A. Theatre Works' radio theater production of Top Secret:The Battle for the Pentagon Papers in Sangamon Auditorium. The play presents an inside look at The Washington Post's 1969 decision to publish a top secret government study documenting U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The subsequent trial tested the parameters of the First Amendment, pitting the public's right to know against the government's desire for secrecy.

Additional support for the November 7 events has been provided by the College of Education and Human Services, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Office of the Provost at UIS and by the Illinois Press Association. Miller's address is also presented as part of the ECCE (Engaged Citizenship Common Experience) Speakers Series at UIS and is sponsored by UIS' Office of Undergraduate Education. †††††



The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs: 21 bachelorís, 20 masterís, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.

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The Government Accountability & A Free Press Project at UIS

See the speakers' bios

The Fund for Independence in Journalism

UIS College of Public Affairs and Administration

UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership

Sangamon Auditorium

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