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University of Wisconsin–Madison
School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Nikole Hannah-Jones to address conference

Award-winning New York Times Magazine journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones will deliver the keynote address to open the 2016 Center for Journalism Ethics conference at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on April 29.

This year’s conference focuses on “Race, Ethnicity and Journalism Ethics.” The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Union South on the UW-Madison campus. The keynote will begin at 9 a.m. Registration is now open at the center’s website. The cost for early bird registrants is $20, including a buffet lunch, but increases to $25 April 9. Registration is free for all students and UW-Madison faculty and staff.

Hannah-Jones has reported on the history of racism and inequality and its legacy in modern policies that have maintained racial injustice. She has written personal reports on the black experience in America to offer a case for greater equality.

Earlier this spring, she earned a George Polk Award for radio reporting for “The Problem We All Live With,” broadcast on “This American Life.” For that story, she investigated the Normandy School District in Missouri, from which Michael Brown had graduated just before he was killed in nearby Ferguson. The two-part series examines school integration and the impact of resistance by largely white communities.

Building on the keynote, four panels will address the ethical challenges journalists face when dealing directly and indirectly with issues of race and ethnicity. Session topics will include:

  • Journalistic representations of race: language, imagery, sources and their effects
  • Journalism ethics and race in education coverage
  • Journalism ethics and race in criminal justice coverage
  • Solutions to the issues raised throughout the conference

“We’re looking forward to a challenging, stimulating and productive day of candid discussion,” Professor Robert Drechsel, director of the center, says. “Whether the context is politics, criminal justice, education, sports, the economy or national security, journalism inherently plays a critical role in framing issues and images of race and ethnicity for the public. The question is not whether journalism does this, but how and with what impact.”

Also during the conference, the Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics will be presented to the Associated Press for its handling of ethical issues encountered in the reporting of a series of stories revealing the use of slave labor by the fishing industry in Southeast Asia. The stories resulted in the freeing of 2,000 slave laborers. Two of the reporters who did the stories will participate in a panel discussion of the ethical issues they faced and how they resolved them.

This is the eighth annual conference of the Center of Journalism Ethics, housed in UW-Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Founded in 2008, the center’s mission is to foster vigorous debate about ethical practices in journalism, and provide a resource for producers, consumers and students of journalism.