Four local journalists and educators will be part of a panel on Wednesday about the media industry, in conjunction with the Durango Public Library’s Literary Festival.
The discussion, “The Changing Face of Journalism: How the ‘digital disruption’ has affected the news industry and journalism education, and why local news matters more than ever,” will include Amy Maestas, senior editor of The Durango Herald; Claudia Laws, audience development manager for the Herald; Paige Gray, assistant professor of English at Fort Lewis College; and Faron Scott, professor of English at FLC and a member of the Herald’s editorial advisory board.
This year’s speaker at the library’s Literary Festival will be Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author and political analyst Carl Bernstein. The panel, to be held the day before Bernstein’s talk, will center on the current state of media, which is a different landscape than when Bernstein and his former colleague Bob Woodward, both investigative journalists at The Washington Post in the early 1970s, broke the biggest story in American politics, which led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. With what became known as “Watergate,” Woodward and Bernstein influenced a generation of journalists who sought a profession that centers on being watchdogs of government.
Today, the legendary journalists do some work as political analysts, drawing from their years of covering American politics.
“Local news matters, especially as the large corporate media companies assert their influence on everything that is reported,” Irwin said. “As a library, we seek to provide unbiased information, and we rely on local news and high-quality journalism to give our customers the best possible information.”
Irwin will moderate the panel. Her focus, she said, will help start a conversation about how future journalists are taught, especially after the changes the media industry has endured in the last decade.
“Bringing in Carl Bernstein is exciting,” Irwin added. “Combining his visit with our panel provides the opportunity to focus on journalism in a world that is fractured by bias and opinion and to create some mutual understanding of how news reporting works.”