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October 30, 2018

Join FGCU for Nov. 13 festival celebrating 1st Amendment

 A week after the midterm elections, national, regional and local journalists will convene at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) to celebrate free speech and a free press.

free speech logoThe Free speech. Free press. 2018 First Amendment Festival on Tuesday, Nov. 13 features NPR’s Mara Liasson, the News-Press’ Amy Bennett Williams, the Miami Herald’s Jeff Kleinman, FGCU’s Lyn Millner, CBS News’ Alex Pena and WGCU’s Rachel Iacovone. Its four events are designed to give the public the chance to engage with journalists on the state of the freedom of the press, free speech and access to information within the U.S.

Headlining the festival is NPR national political correspondent Liasson, who will speak at a free event at 7:30 p.m. in FGCU’s Cohen Center. Liasson’s reports can be heard regularly on NPR’s award-winning newsmagazines “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.” She provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, D.C. — focusing on the White House and Congress — and also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway.

A breakfast with journalists, featuring an address by FGCU alumnus Pena, launches the festival at 7 a.m. Attendees will also have the chance to meet reporters from WGCU, the News-Press, Naples Daily News, ABC 7, NBC 2, WINK News and Fox 4. Pena plans to discuss his international work and status as the first graduate of FGCU’s journalism program. The breakfast will be held in Sugden Hall, Room 114. Tickets are $25, with proceeds going to the journalism program, and are available online.

FGCU Associate Professor Millner hosts a free, hands-on session for telling the difference between fact-based news and fake news at 10:30 a.m. in the U. Tobe Recital Hall in the Music Building. In addition to founding the journalism program, Millner is a longtime journalist and author.

A panel of national, regional and local journalists discuss the impact the First Amendment has and had on their careers at a free session at 1:30 p.m. in the WGCU TV studio in the Myra Janco Daniels Public Media Center. The panel includes: Kleinman, a 30-year veteran of the Miami Herald, where he is currently the day editor; Williams, an environmental reporter and storyteller at the News-Press, where she has worked since 1988; and Iacovone, an FGCU journalism graduate who is now a reporter and host of “All Things Considered” for WGCU.

The Free speech. Free press. 2018 First Amendment Festival is the result of a partnership between four Southwest Florida organizations.

“We, at FGCU and WGCU, are delighted to partner with our colleagues from the News-Press and Naples Daily News in sponsoring a critical discussion on the First Amendment,” said FGCU President Mike Martin. “The rights to free speech and the maintenance of a free press are central in sustaining American democracy, so this is a topic of continual interest and contemporary importance. We hope to engage our students and the community in this discussion.”

Fox News’ Phil Keating was originally slated to participate in the panel at WGCU, but continuing coverage of Florida’s election has prevented him from making it to Fort Myers for the event.