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Well-known Memphians Will Discuss How the Local Media Treat the Issue of Race University News
For release: March 23, 2009

For press information, contact Dr. Joseph R. Hayden, 901-678-4784 or 2401

How do Memphis journalists cover race in their stories?  What images, perceptions, and stereotypes abound?  Are local race relations really “black-and-white”? The 27th annual Freedom of Information Congress at the University of Memphis will address these issues in a panel discussion, “Black and White in Memphis Media,” on Tuesday, March 24, at 7 p.m. in the Michael D. Rose Theatre.

Panelists will include Memphis Mayor W.W. Herenton; WMC-TV news anchor Joe Birch; former WMC-TV news anchor Donna Davis; television news directors Ken Jobe of WHBQ, Bruce Moore of WREG, and Jim Turpin of WPTY; Otis Sanford, editor for opinion and editorials with The Commercial Appeal; Dr. Karanja Ajanaku, Tri-State Defender director; and Johnnie Turner, executive director of the local chapter of the NAACP.

The Freedom of Information Congress is an annual event that conveys the importance of free speech and journalistic excellence.  In most years, this has been done by bringing in one speaker with national recognition.  “The focus of this year's panel is not a single prominent journalist, but a critical issue of public policy and media practice – media and race in Memphis,” said Dr. David Arant, chair of the University of Memphis Journalism Department. “We have the major players – politicians and journalists – all on the same stage. It should be quite an evening.”

The forum will be followed by a question-and-answer session during which audience members are invited to interact with the panelists.

Parking near the Rose Theatre is available for a fee in the garage just off Zach Curlin, near its intersection with Walker Avenue.  Free parking is available in any general parking lot.

The Freedom of Information Congress is sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists, Common Ground, and the University of Memphis Journalism Department.  More information is available online at

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