Montana State University

Burton K. Wheeler conference on the evolving media in Montana is set Sept. 30-Oct. 1 in Missoula

September 2, 2009

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The Burton K. Wheeler Center at Montana State University will discuss how changing technology and ownership affects an informed public at its fall conference, "Failure to Inform: Is There a Looming Media Crisis in Montana?" scheduled Sept. 30-Oct. 1 in Missoula.

"Fair and effective public policy can be crafted only with the help of an informed public," said Ralph Johnson, director of the Wheeler Center. "But as rapid and radical changes occur in media ownership, new technology and news gathering and distribution, what does the future hold for our democracy? What is the case in Montana? Is our media industry immune from what is happening on the national level?"

Chris Peck, a Wyoming native who is currently the editor of the Memphis Commercial Appeal and co-founder of "Journalism That Matters," will be the keynote speaker. The former editor of the Spokesman Review will speak at 7 p.m. in the North Underground Lecture Hall on the campus of the University of Montana. His talk is free and open to the public.

The remainder of the conference, which is co-hosted by the UM School of Journalism, will be held at Missoula's Holiday Inn Downtown at the Park. Among the issues that will be discussed is how changing ownership affects Montana media, how Montanans will get their information in the future, and the role and responsibility of the citizenry in shaping the future of the media.

The conference fee is $35 and includes a continental breakfast, lunch and all conference materials. Registration is open until Sept. 25. A full conference itinerary can be found at: http://www.wheelercenter.org/#program:8

For more information about the conference, contact Julie Hitchcock at 994-0336 or jhitch@montana.edu.

Julie Hitchcock (406) 994-0336, jhitch@montana.edu.