Schieffer Symposium panel to address Obama’s presidency

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    Bob Schieffer, 1959 alumnus and moderator of CBS’ “Face the Nation,” will discuss Barack Obama’s presidency, the economic crisis and the future of journalism in the fifth annual Schieffer Symposium hosted by the university.

    Schieffer, who recently interviewed Obama on “Face the Nation,” said even though Obama had made appearances on news shows all week, there wasn’t a shortage of issues to talk about.

    Obama talked about Pakistan, the increasing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border and the economic bailouts, which will be a part of the Schieffer Symposium’s topics of conversation, Schieffer said.

    “Never has a president faced as many serious issues like Obama when coming into office,” Schieffer said. “(The Obama administration) recently forced out the chairman of General Motors, which is a rather remarkable thing … we’ll definitely talk about that.”

    Schieffer said the panelists include David Brooks, columnist for The New York Times and commentator on PBS’ “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” and Gwen Ifill, managing editor and moderator of PBS’ “Washington Week” and senior correspondent for “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.”

    Ifill’s book, “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama,” discusses the presence of black politicians, and how race and media influence the public perspective, Schieffer said.

    Brooks recently returned from Afghanistan and can offer insight into the latest policy changes, Schieffer said.

    The two other panelists are Trish Regan, anchor of CNBC’s “The Call,” and Mark Shields, a national political columnist and a frequent commentator on “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” Schieffer said.

    The topics of conversation are limitless, especially with the turbulent economy, government bailouts, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, Schieffer said. Journalism is also experiencing a dramatic shift because of economic resources, as well as rapidly growing technology, he said.

    “Democracies cannot exist without free press,” Schieffer said. “… We all have to keep in mind that we’re in the information businesses; we’re not in the newspaper business anymore.”

    Newspapers need to find business models, he said.

    “You cannot have democracy as we know it without an independent press that is not only independent but reliable,” Schieffer said. “The honest answer is that nobody knows where all this is going because technology is moving so quickly.”

    Originally, Andrea Mitchell, chief foreign affairs correspondent for NBC News, was set to appear but canceled to accompany the presidential party overseas to Europe, Schieffer said. Trish Regan was called in to fill her spot, Schieffer said.

    “Obama and the Press: is the media doing its job?” will be the theme directing the topics of conversation amongst the panelists, Schieffer said. He and four other panelists will take questions from the audience throughout the symposium.

    Schieffer said he believes the media are doing a good job covering all aspects of Obama’s presidency and the repercussions of the staggering economy.

    Margaret Kelly, executive director of community projects, said the first reservations began at the end of February and tickets ran out last week.

    “Obama and the Press: Is the media doing its job?”

    What: Schieffer Symposium

    When: 6:30 p.m. tonight

    Where: Brown-Lupton University Union Ballroom