"Double Exposure" Panel
October 10, 2013 6:30 PM
Location: Lisagor Room
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A National Press Club panel will tell how a mid-size city newspaper was able to unearth the extraordinary story of how an iconic photographer of the civil rights movement led a double life as an FBI informant.
The event, called “Double Exposure,” is cosponsored by the National Press Club’s Press Freedom Committee and its Young Members Committee.
The panel will bring to life how the Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis used a precedent-setting Freedom of Information Act lawsuit--and years of reporting--to piece together the facts about Ernest Withers. Withers was a photographer to whom Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders had given close access. But, it turned out, he was at the same time secretly shooting pictures of King and other civil rights leaders for the FBI and providing agents with personal information on these figures and on their plans.
The panel has particular resonance today. It comes on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. It arrives on the heels of recent news about the government's sweeping domestic surveillance operations. The discussion hopes to highlight the challenges public-affairs journalism faces as news organizations’ business models are under stress.
The discussion will shed light not only on the government's past surveillance practices but also on FOIA and the public's right to know what its government is up to.
Panelists will include:
• Marc Perrusquia, reporter, the Commercial Appeal
• David Garrow, Pulitzer prize-winning historian and author on the Civil Rights Movement
• Mizell Stewart III, VP/Content-Newspapers, The E.W. Scripps Company
• David M. Giles, Vice President/Deputy General Counsel, The E.W. Scripps Company
•(moderator) Charles D. Tobin, Attorney, Holland & Knight LLP
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