Is a free press dangerous?

TRAVERSE CITY -  Bob Giles, former editor and publisher of The Detroit News, will address the question, "Is a Free Press Dangerous?" at the final International Affairs Forum lecture of the 2014-15 season, set for 6 p.m. June 18 in Milliken Auditorium.

The role of a free press in the United States is rapidly evolving. The digital era has given the press powerful tools to hold governments accountable, yet hard times for news organizations mean fewer reporters are bearing witness to violence and progress in distant lands. Whistleblowers leaking government secrets to reporters are raising alarms about government over-reach while, some believe, violating national security. Independent bloggers are making their mark in the daily news cycle, sometimes drowning out careful analysis. Polarized politics are shaping how people consume the news. Is the press pushing its First Amendment freedoms too far?

Giles currently lives in Traverse City after spending more than a decade as  curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. Prior to his role at Harvard Giles spent nearly 40 years as a newspaper reporter and editor, including more than ten years as executive editor and later editor and publisher of The Detroit News (1986-1997.) In 1994, the paper, under this leadership, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for its disclosures of a scandal in the Michigan House Fiscal Agency. Earlier in his career, as managing editor of the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal, Giles directed coverage of the campus shootings at Kent State University in 1970 and shared with his staff a Pulitzer Prize for local reporting.

IAF lectures are rebroadcast on UpNorth TV public access cable television three times a week, and available online for streaming on demand. Board members also produce “Beyond the Headlines,” a roundtable-style interview program that focuses on current foreign affairs issues and airs on UpNorth TV.

The IAF is affiliated with NMC and the World Affairs Council of America. All lectures are held in the Dennos Museum Center's Milliken Auditorium on the NMC campus at 6 p.m., with a reception prior to the lecture from 5:15 to 6 p.m. Admission is free to all students and educators, and $10 for others. Subscriber tickets for the entire season are available; visit or call (231) 995-1700 for more information.

RELEASE DATE:  May 29, 2015


Karen Segal
International Affairs Forum co-chair
(231) 715-6064


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