Reporters and lawyers debate big changes in journalism at URI talk

Kingston, Nov. 7, 2012 – Is investigative journalism on its way out? Are bloggers breaking the law and plagiarizing by lifting reports from mainstream news sources?

Those compelling and timely questions will be debated by local reporters and lawyers during panel talks to commemorate Journalism Day Nov. 15 at URI.

The program will be held in the ballroom at Memorial Union.

“Journalism Day, which has been an annual event here for the last 25 years, is a way for our students to learn about the big issues they will face after they graduate,” says Professor Linda Lotridge Levin, who arranged the event. “It also gives them a chance to connect with working journalists.”

In the first talk – “Is Investigative Journalism Dead?” – panelists will explore the crucial role of journalists as government watchdogs. With newspapers and television stations shrinking their staffs and cutting their budgets, observers worry whether news organizations are still doing investigative reporting.

Panelists are: Tom Farragher, Boston Globe Pulitzer Prize winner for investigative reporting and a URI journalism graduate; Mike Stanton, Providence Journal Pulitzer Prize winner for investigative reporting; and Tim White, Emmy-winning investigative reporter for Channel 12, in Providence.

The discussion will start at 9:30 a.m.

In the second talk – “Online News Aggregators: Ethical or Unethical?” -speakers will discuss online blogs that take, without permission, news from the mainstream media and the ethical and legal issues associated with this practice.

Panelists are: Peter Phipps, managing editor for new media at The Providence Journal and an adjunct journalism professor at URI; Mark Tetreault, an attorney with Barlow, Josephs and Holmes, in Providence, who will focus on intellectual property law; Linda Henderson, retired library director at The Providence Journal and a member of the board of online Rhode Island Library Project; and Bob Plain, publisher and editor of the blog, “Rhode Island’s Future,” and a URI journalism graduate.

That talk will start at 11 a.m.

The Rhode Island Press Association will host a lunch of pizza for students, panelists, and other reporters at 12:30 p.m. in the Union’s ballroom. For more information, contact Professor Levin at or 401-874-4287.