UI Oppenheimer Ethics Symposium: Government’s Secret or Public’s Right to Know?

Thursday, March 6 2014

MOSCOW, Idaho – Exploring the grey area between government secrets and the public’s right to know those secrets, the University of Idaho’s Oppenheimer Ethics Symposium will focus on the role of ethics and American press coverage on March 28 at 4 p.m. in the Administration Building auditorium. It is free and open to the public.

The symposium, supported by the School of Journalism and Mass Media, will feature keynote speaker Paul Farhi, Washington Post media reporter. Farhi, will discuss the ethical issues surrounding the reporting of national secrets

“This will be the first opportunity for students, faculty and community members to raise national-security reporting issues with a nationally recognized media expert,” said Kenton Bird, director of the university’s School of Journalism and Mass Media. “We are thrilled that Mr. Farhi will be able to share his insights into larger questions of individual privacy, government secrecy and the public’s right to know.”

A much-debated and topical issue, the discussion began for symposium organizers with the controversy surrounding actions of the American press in reporting Edward Snowden’s revelations. Snowden, the U.S. government contractor who leaked documents to the press about National Security Agency surveillance of American citizens is rumored to be hiding in Russia.

Farhi’s talk will be followed by a panel discussion, facilitated by Shaakirrah Sanders, professor, University of Idaho College of Law, and will feature distinguished legal, media and ethics specialists: retired journalist Karen Dorn Steele, media lawyer Duane Swinton, University of Idaho philosophy professor Graham Hubbs, and Farhi.

The Oppenheimer Symposium will continue Saturday, March 29, with a daylong program aimed at high school and college journalists and their teachers. Farhi will open that event with an 8:30 a.m. talk about the future of the news media.

The first two Oppenheimer Symposiums were held in Boise in 2011 and 2013. The symposium 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.

“We’re grateful for the Oppenheimer family’s commitment to professional ethics and media education,” Bird said.


About the School of Journalism and Mass Media
The University of Idaho School of Journalism and Mass Media (JAMM) combines hands-on professional programs with a liberal arts approach to the study of mass media. The School offers bachelor’s degrees in Advertising, Broadcasting and Digital Media, Journalism and Public Relations.

Steven A. Smith, (208) 885-788, sasmith@uidaho.edu or oppenheimerethics@gmail.com

Kenton Bird, (208) 885-4947(208) 885-4947, kbird@uidaho.edu

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu.