Police Intimidation of the Press: The Marion, KS Search & Seizure Outrage

Public officials probably don’t miss the watchdog function of the press in light of the violation of press freedom in Kansas earlier this year. And perhaps some of their constituents have forgotten the benefits of a robust Fourth Estate. Violations of both the First and Fourth Amendment now worry some in the media. Accusations of "fake news" undermine media credibility and create combativeness by public officials to challenge the legitimacy of a free press.

Join four experienced journalists and a media lawyer for a discussion organized by HKSNEAA Board Member Bill Seymour about the impacts these changes are bringing to journalism and any "chilling effects" they might have on aggressive reporting.

Walter Smith Randolph is Connecticut Public Broadcasting’s investigative editor where he leads The Accountability Project, a group of reporters who produce investigations for CT Public’s NPR and PBS affiliated stations. He also serves as Vice President-Broadcast of the National Association of Black Journalists and is an adjunct professor at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT. The New York City native spent a decade reporting at television stations across the country before joining CT Public.

Eric Meyer is the majority owner, editor, and publisher of the Marion County Record in Marion, Kansas. Police in Kansas raided his local newspaper and mother's home on August 11, seizing computers, cellphones, hard drives, routers and other materials and records. It sparked outrage from First Amendment advocates, and may have contributed to the death of Meyer's 98-year-old mother and the paper's co-owner. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation began an investigation and helped to get items seized returned to the paper. Meyer has spent over 45 years in journalism, including as news, photo and graphics editor at the Milwaukee Journal, was a Pulitzer-Prize nominee for coverage of computer hackers, and spent over two decades as a journalism professor at the University of Illinois.

Dean Pagani is a professor of communications at the University of New Haven. He began his career in journalism, transitioned into communications roles in Connecticut state government and the U.S. Senate, and now represents private and non-profit clients as a public relations consultant. In his work as a photojournalist, he has experienced firsthand the changing nature of the relationship between the press and authority.

Paul Bass has been a reporter and editor in New Haven for 45 years. He founded the online-only New Haven Independent and parent nonprofit online Journalism Project in 2005. He is the co-author, with Douglas W. Rae, of Murder in the Model City: The Black Panthers, Yale, & The Redemption of a Killer (2006, Basic Books) about the 1969 murder of a Black Panther in New Haven and the resulting trials and FBI revelations surrounding the case. He is also a former lecturer in political science at Yale University.

Caitlin Vogus, a 2010 graduate of Harvard Law School, is the deputy director of advocacy at Freedom of the Press Foundation, where she works to defend and protect press freedoms, journalists, and whistleblowers. Prior to FPF, Caitlin was the deputy director of the Free Expression Project at the Center for Democracy & Technology, a senior staff attorney at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, an attorney advisor at the Federal Communications Commission, and a law clerk at the Virginia Court of Appeals.

Contemporary Issues in the Media is sponsored by the Harvard Kennedy School New England Alumni Association. This webinar is co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Association of Massachusetts and the Harvard Club of Kansas City.

RSVP: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYkfuCsqD4oE9amw6qkWG5GwPE9aMsvPJ_d#/registration


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Cost: Free

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7:00PM - 8:00PM Wed 18 Oct 2023, Eastern timezone

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