Three journalism heavyweights visit Tampa Bay area this week
The amount of journalism talent in the Tampa Bay area is about to reach ridiculous levels this week.
It begins with appearances Wednesday and Thursday by David Fanning, executive producer of the esteemed PBS series Frontline, in venues allowing local folks to quiz the founding executive producer of public television's high-profile investigative series and the mind behind programs ranging from a seven-part examination of 9/11 to a Pulitzer Prize-winning examination of the cast iron pipe making industry.
I'll be appearing with Fanning at the Palladium in St. Petersburg Wednesday night (7 p.m. for a VIP reception; 8 p.m. for the panel discussion), on a panel which also includes the St. Pete Times' international correspondent Susan Taylor Martin, WEDU producer Spencer Briggs and WTVT-Ch.13 investigative reporter Doug Smith. The topics are to include global issues and the state of modern journalism -- to be honest, I expect to be listening a lot.
Fanning also appears at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies Thursday night by himself in a similar set-up -- 7 p.m. VIP reception and 8 p.m. event -- to discuss his process working on Frontline more directly and answer questions one-on-one. Details on both events, organized and supported by Tampa public TV station WEDU-Ch. 3, can be found here.
Also on Thursday, Cokie Roberts, a political commentator for ABC News, a senior news analyst with National Public Radio, author and syndicated columnist will speak at a luncheon organized by and supporting WUSF-Ch. 16 at 11:15 a.m. in the Tampa Convention Center. She's traveling the country to talk up the 10th anniversary of her book We Are Our Mothers' Daughters. Details on Roberts' luncheon can be found here.
Roberts co-hosted ABC's Sunday morning politics show until 2002, when former Bill Clinton aide George Stephanopolous took over the show.
And Farai Chideya, former host of National Public Radio's late, lamented black-focused public affairs show News and Notes, is scheduled to be the featured speaker at a daylong symposium held by the University of South Florida's Institute on Black Life on the implications of Barack Obama's election to president and the impact on community leadership.
The symposium, called “The Role and the Road to Leadership in the 21st Century,” will be held at the Embassy Suites, 3707 Spectrum Blvd., on USF’s Tampa campus. Details on that event are available here.
Chideya left News and Notes earlier this year, after NPR had announced it was canceling the show amid a series of cost-cutting moves, but before the program actually ended; reportedly, she was disappointed that the radio network would not pay for the show to cover the inauguration of the country's first black president.
Looks like anyone lamenting the state of modern journalism will have plenty of chance to rub shoulders with some people who are still doing great work.