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Founded in 1951, The Charlottesville Committee on Foreign Relations (CCFR) is a civic, non-partisan organization dedicated to the promotion of informed discussion of American foreign policy and international affairs.

It has achieved a distinguished record of bringing together concerned citizens in our area with leading authorities on world developments. The hallmark of CCFR is the creation of opportunities for in-depth exchanges on major international issues that increasingly affect our lives.

Richard W. Stevenson - Senior Editor, New York Times

“Journalism in the Age of Populism”

Thursday October 11,2018

Populism is on the rise both in the US and in Europe. The average share of the vote for “populist right” parties doubled from 6.7% in 1960s to 13.4% in the 2010’s. Populist parties on the left enjoyed an even greater increase, going from 2.4% to 12.7% in the same period. Along with that populism have come great challenges to the practice of journalism and investigative reporting. Among those challenges are how to compete with non-traditional news outlets, how to maintain unbiased reporting, how to defend credibility, and how to fund investigative reporting and still survive financially.
 
As alternative sources of news increase, employment in traditional investigative reporting has declined. Many of the alternative sources of news are highly biased and not subject to editorial oversight. To what extent should the traditional press cover the topics raised by these alternative outlets and devote time and resources to correcting mis-statements by those alternative sources?
 
President Trump frequently characterizes some news outlets, such as The New York Times, as “fake news.” At times Mr. Trump has restricted access to press briefings for “unfriendly” reporters. In countries in Europe where populism is also on the rise, restrictions on the free press can be more pronounced. In this age of populism, how should journalists protect their access to news, maintain reasonably unbiased reporting, and defend their credibility?
 
In this age of populism, journalists also are faced with the challenge of deciding how much coverage to give populist actors and what to cover. As some actors bypass traditional news channels, communicating directly with their constituents, how should the press report on this, if at all. And how and when should traditional press highlight inaccuracies in the messages sent through non- traditional channels?
 
The effects of populism on journalism are felt both on the right and on the left. In early September Steve Bannon was removed from a panel at the New Yorker yearly ideas festival due to pressure from liberals. Bob Woodward, who has won almost every journalism award available, recently has been broadly attacked by conservatives for his reporting in his new book.
 
Our speaker in October is well qualified to comment on all of these challenges. Richard Stevenson is a senior editor at The New York Times and serves as enterprise editor in the Washington bureau, overseeing a team of investigative reporters. He has been with The Times for more than three decades as a reporter and editor in a wide variety of assignments.
 
Prior to his current assignment, Mr. Stevenson was Europe editor, overseeing the Paris and London newsrooms, directing coverage of European news and managing the International New York Times. Previously, he was Deputy Washington Bureau Chief for The Times from 2006 to 2011.
 
Mr. Stevenson graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelors of Arts degree in 1981. He then attended the London School of Economics as a Thouron Scholar and received a masters degree in area studies from the LSE.
 
 
6:00 Cocktails    6:45 Dinner    7:45 Address and Discussion

Meal A: Roasted Bistro Filet
Meal B: Pan Roasted Salmon
Meal C: Boursin Dumplings