Columnist Leonard Pitts to speak Feb. 18 at University of Idaho
Best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. was the keynote speaker for the sixth annual Oppenheimer Ethics Symposium at the University of Idaho.
Pitts addressed the media’s coverage of racial issues in the context of the 2016 presidential election, delving into the roots of racism on a national scale. His talk came a little more than two weeks after the Iowa caucuses and nine days after the New Hampshire primary.
“Leonard Pitts has been a consistent voice for justice for all Americans, especially during the past year when racial tensions have escalated in many American cities,” said Patricia Hart, interim director of UI’s School of Journalism and Mass Media, which sponsors the symposium. “He provided valuable context and insights during this election season.”
In 2004, Pitts received the Pulitzer Prize for commentary for his work as a columnist for the Miami Herald, syndicated nationally by the Tribune Content Agency. He has also received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the National Association of Black Journalists.
He is a best-selling author of two nonfiction books, “Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood” in 2006, and “Forward from This Moment: Selected Columns” in 2009, a compilation of his columns. He also has written three novels, “Before I Forget” in 2009, “Freeman” in 2012, and “Grant Park,” published last October.
His twice-a-week syndicated column appears regularly in The Spokesman-Review and The Lewiston Tribune.
The Oppenheimer Ethics Symposium is produced annually by the University of Idaho School of Journalism and Mass Media, which is housed in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences. The event is underwritten by a gift from UI graduates Douglas F. Oppenheimer, president of Boise-based Oppenheimer Companies, and Arthur F. “Skip” Oppenheimer, chairman of the board. Previous symposia have brought nationally known journalists, journalism educators and ethics experts to Boise and Moscow.
In addition, the 2016 symposium, one of the university’s Black History Month events, received financial support from the UI Office of Human Rights, Access and Inclusion.
Steven A. Smith
UI School of Journalism and Mass Media