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Visiting lecturer of journalism and communication to visit CMU

Department of Literature, Languages and Mass Communication will host speaker and explore the future of journalism

Journalist and author Mathew LaPlante will seek to dispel fashionable dystopian views about the so-called demise of journalism when he speaks at CMU on Friday, November 8, 2019. In his talk, LaPlante will acknowledge that the current state of journalism isn’t perfect – but point out that neither was the past. 

In a lecture invoking a political slogan born in the 1940s, a presidential scandal from the 1970s, a comedy movie from the 1980s, the birth of social media in the 1990s, and a vision for what “truth” will look like in 2020 and beyond, LaPlante will argue that the power centers that have long dictated media creation and consumption are shifting fast. 

LaPlante offers students a hopeful vision of the future for the humanities and journalism in the era of social media and in the wake of the broken business models of some traditional media. He believes journalism isn’t dying; it’s simply evolving — a theme he spoke on in a 2014 TEDx lecture.  

“I flew around the world in search of truth and justice and the American way,” LaPlante said in his TED Talk, harking on his experiences as a reporter in more than a dozen nations. LaPlante said those experiences made him feel “super” but, as he came to learn, there is nothing particularly special about being a professional journalist. “The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States gives the freedom of the press to all of us,” he noted in the talk.    

Today LaPlante teaches and communicates what some may consider a contrarian view of journalism and its future in his position as Associate Professor of Journalism and Communication at Utah State University. For his coverage of ritual infanticide in Ethiopia, he earned the 2012 Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism and has been awarded numerous other commendations for his work. Recently, he’s turned his focus to science writing. His first solo book, Superlative: The Biology of Extremes was released in April and his most recent collaboration, with Harvard geneticist David Sinclair, was a recent New York Times Best Seller. 

“We enrich our departments and disciplines and teaching by working with teachers, writers and practitioners from other academic institutions,” said Department Head and CMU Professor of English Barry Laga. “LaPlante and his unique life experiences have a lot to offer CMU students and we are pleased to welcome him to campus.” 

LaPlante will lead a public discussion with students and community at 12pm in Escalante Hall, Studio A. Limited studio audience seating is available by contacting dludlam@coloradomesa.edu. A video of the discussion will be shared at CMUnow. 

Community members interested in supporting the department of Literature, Language and Mass Communications in bringing future speakers and programing to western Colorado should contact akimmel@coloradomesa.edu

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Written by David Ludlam