Launch Symposium

What is Media at Risk?

April 19 - 21, 2018

“What is Media at Risk?” is a cross-disciplinary conference bringing together media practitioners, media scholars, and media assist organizations to define what “media at risk” means globally in circumstances of political intimidation and what can be done to resist it.

Given the proliferating nature of creeping authoritarianism around the world, these efforts will help highlight Penn’s mission to explain more fully what political intimidation in the media – in documentary, journalism, entertainment, and the digital environment – looks like worldwide.

Video and transcripts from our launch are now available.

Video + Transcripts

Now Available

Date & Time

April 19-21, 2018

Thursday, April 19


Soraya ChemalyWho Defines Risk and Why It Matters
Location: Perry World House

Friday, April 20
9:15am – 9:45am
9:45am – 10:00am


Michael X. Delli Carpini
Barbie Zelizer

10:00am – 12:00pm


Bethany Wiggin (moderator)
Maria RessaExponential Lies (and How to Fight Them)
Samuel SinyangweThe Challenges and Possibilities of Digital Activism
Amy SiskindWriting History in the Age of Social Media
Zeynep TufekciThe New Censorship: If Everything is Potentially Fake, What Role for Journalism?

12:00pm – 1:00pm


1:00pm – 3:00pm


Jim English (moderator)
Marjorie DavidHow Media Consolidation and Net Neutrality Foster Censorship in the Entertainment Industry
Jeffrey JonesWho’s Joking? Late Night Comedy’s Cover Up
Maureen RyanSpin Cycle: The Powerful Forces Brought to Bear on the Entertainment Reporting Process
Nancy Wang YuenThe Curious Case of Hollywood and “Freedom of Speech”

3:00pm – 3:15pm


3:15pm – 5:15pm


John Jackson (moderator)
John CaldwellDocumentaries in Risk-Delegation Systems
Sam GregoryDiversifying ‘Media’ at Risk: Challenges for Eyewitnesses, Media Activists and Human Rights Media Makers
Simon KilmurryDangerous Docs: Filmmakers Under Attack
Bryce Renninger Risk and Short Films in an Attention Economy

5:15pm – 7:00pm


Saturday, April 21
9:30am – 10:00am


10:00am – 12:00pm


Michael X. Delli Carpini (moderator)
Arzu GeybullaNo Longer Just a Risk, But an Everyday Reality: Stories from Azerbaijan
Parker HigginsProtecting Journalists in the Age of Trump
Jay RosenThe Campaign to Discredit the Press
Silvio WaisbordWho Cares? When Society Fails to Safeguard Journalists at Risk

12:00pm – 2:00pm


Barbie Zelizer

INTERLOCUTORS: Ra’anan Alexandrowicz / Sarah Banet-Weiser / Nick Benequista / Ruth Ben-Ghiat / Charlie Beckett / Caty Borum Chattoo / Aymar Jean Christian / Susan Douglas / Jonathan Gray / Daniel Grinberg / Lisa Henderson / Tom Herman / Risto Kunelius / Judith Matloff / John Nerone / Sylvia Ryerson / Ivan Sigal / Sky Sitney / Nikki Usher / Todd Wolfson …and more

STUDENT COMMITTEE: Megan Genovese / Jennifer Henrichsen / Muira McCammon / Hanna Morris / Aaron Shaprio