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“Media maze” to be explored as part of “Consider It” series in Berks County

Sep 06, 2018 • by Berks County Community Foundation
Consider It

READING, PA – Explore conspiracy theories, fake news and the “media maze” in the next installment of Berks County Community Foundation’s “Consider It” discussion series on October 15.

The term media means a lot more than talking heads on TV or the top three daily news stories you read on your phone.

Media means everything from a morning newspaper and the nightly news to right-wing radio shows, left-wing blogs, news aggregator websites, nonprofit journalism operations, small publishing companies, large media corporations, social media… to say nothing of the advertisers, philanthropists and other funders who have the potential to influence them all.

The media is a maze of opinion, conjecture, rumors, conspiracy theories, disinformation, misinformation, fake news, political manipulation and…. the truth?

Ahead of the upcoming midterm election, this vast topic will be explored at Berks County Community Foundation’s next “Consider It” dinner entitled: “Do you hear what I hear? Navigating the media maze in the era of fake news.”

The dinner will be held Monday, October 15, 2018, at 5:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, 701 Penn St., Reading, Pa.

A $10 admission fee includes dinner, a presentation by several speakers, and a question-and-answer session.

Register here:

If you would like to attend but need help paying admission, contact [email protected]

State Sen. Judy Schwank and Berks County Commissioners Chairman Christian Leinbach are co-chairs of the nonpartisan “Consider It” program, which is designed to promote thoughtful discussion of divisive local and national issues while maintaining a level of civility among participants.

During dinner, which will be served in between the speakers’ presentations and the Q-&-A, the topic will be discussed at your table with one of the speakers or a representative of the Consider It program.

The speakers:

Derek Arnold, a Communication Instructor at Villanova University. Arnold teaches about conspiracy theories and their connection with social media and news, the people who are most likely to believe in such theories, how the theories evolve, how they are covered by the media, and how to defend against them. Arnold has been in education for 30 years and at Villanova for 14 years.  He received his B.A. from LaSalle University and M.A. from Purdue University. He has taught courses in political and business communication, persuasion, communication law, rhetoric, and crisis communication and scandal.Catherine Dunning Catanach, APR, an Instructor of Communication Arts & Sciences at Penn State Berks. Catanach teaches about “fake news” so that her students can determine whether they are digesting valuable and critical news, and so they can fact check and verify credible news sources. Before joining PSU Berks, Catanach taught public speaking and public relations at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and was an adjunct in the MBA program at Alvernia University. She has more than 20 years of marketing and public relations experience in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. She earned a B.A. from Moravian College in Advertising/Communications and a M.S. from Drexel University in Arts Administration. She is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America.Michael E. Hartmann, a senior fellow and director of the Center for Strategic Giving at the Capital Research Center in Washington, D.C. Hartmann recently wrote an article in which he explored the evidence for how philanthropic support of nonprofit magazines skews left. For more than 18 years, he served on the program staff of The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee, including as its director of research. He assisted Bradley’s vice president for programs in administering the foundation’s grantmaking in K-12 education, employee rights, economic growth and prosperity, energy and the environment, law and legal reform, equal opportunity and individual liberty, and family and society. He is a past visiting fellow of the Philanthropy Roundtable in Washington, D.C., where he researched and wrote Helping People to Help Themselves:  A Guide for Donors. Before joining Bradley in 1998, he was director of research at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute. A graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, Hartmann has published law-review articles on the constitutionality of school vouchers and aspects of welfare reform, as well as on the First Amendment and intellectual-property rights.Karin Mallett, WFMZ TV anchor and reporter. She returns as the moderator for the sixth installment of the Consider It series. She has been with 69 News since 2003. She’s been on the front lines of stories not only in Berks County and the Lehigh Valley but across the country. While with WFMZ, Karin helped develop two franchises: the Emmy Award-nominated “Crime Alert: Cold Case Files” and her popular travel series “One Tank Trip.” In 2005, Karin was honored with an Associated Press award for her coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Her series, “Convoy of Hope,” followed a group of men from Berks County as they made their way to Louisiana and Mississippi with truckloads of donations.Bala Peterson, chair of the board of BCTV, a nonprofit media provider in Berks County, and founder of Cast & Crew Digital, a technology consulting and marketing firm based in Reading. Peterson is passionate about narrative-based marketing and storytelling. His experience as a computer scientist affords him the opportunity to tackle software development and other technical challenges. He served in previous technical and product development roles at Santander (formerly Sovereign) Bank and Comcast Interactive Media. Peterson holds a Bachelor’s degree in computer science from Kutztown University, and a Master’s in project management from Boston University. Peterson was born in Nigeria, raised in the Netherlands, and currently resides in Reading.Nina Sachdev, Communications Director at Media Impact Funders, a Philadelphia-based member-supported network of funders who seek to improve society through media and technology. Sachdev spent a decade as a journalist at The Dallas Morning News, The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, Calif., The Philadelphia Daily News and Philadelphia Weekly. She is the creator and co-editor of the award-winning The Survivors Project: Telling the Truth About Life After Sexual Abuse, a book-length work of nonfiction that utilizes first-person storytelling to address the reality of healing from the effects of sexual abuse. Nina holds a Master’s in journalism from Temple University.

Five previous “Consider It” events tackled marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania, immigration reform, school choice, Right-to-Work laws, and the greater Reading area’s economy and revitalization. The events were perceived favorably by attendees, with 83 to 93 percent stating that differing sides of the issue were represented adequately and 86 to 92 percent stating they had gained insight into the issue.

“Consider It” is supported by a committee of community residents who have differing political views and backgrounds. Committee members are Steve Elmarzouky, Bill Gage, Mary Kargbo, Joan London, Karen Miller, Art Grim, Kevin Murphy, Michael Rivera, and Marilu Rodriguez-Bauer.

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