Join the SOJC and the University of Oregon Alumni Association on February 11 in Seattle for a conversation about the future of journalism.

In an era when audience attention lasts 140 characters and major media outlets blur the lines between news and commentary, how will the School of Journalism and Communication help to shape the future of journalism?

SOJC Dean Tim Gleason invites you to join a town hall meeting on Thursday, February 11 at 5:30 p.m. at Seattle’s Town Hall to discuss a rapidly-changing media landscape and to debate the future of journalism. Gleason will be joined by Mike Fancher ‘68 retired executive editor, The Seattle Times; brand strategist Scott Bedbury ’80; social media visionary Peter Rinearson; local news correspondent Lara Yamada; and content strategist Heidi de Laubenfels. Topics include the state of a nation with a continued erosion of trust in the media, how to win back the public trust, and what is likely to replace traditional media.

“It’s a critical time in journalism, but the challenges we face equal great opportunities in education. We believe our students will be shaping the future, and this panel is an opportunity for us to share the strategies we’ve implemented to create future innovators and problem-solvers,” said Gleason.

Bedbury, who will moderate the conversation, acknowledges the decline of public trust as a major problem and suggests journalists take action or face a difficult future. “If the trend continues, peoples’ news information will be self-selecting – the only news they digest will be aligned with their own political views. We’re on the early part of that trend, and it looks very divisive.”

Mike Fancher agrees. “Journalists need to educate the public to be better consumers of news — to teach journalistic values not only to journalism students, but also to citizens at large.”

The panel also will discuss the rise and value of citizen journalism. “In the internet age, people want to create their own content and be their own editors,” said Fancher. “The public is pretty smart, and once you accept that the public has something to offer…it opens all kinds of possibilities.”

The event will open with a reception at 5:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. The panel discussion will begin at 6:00 p.m. Admission is $5 for UO Alumni Association (UOAA) members and $10 for non-members and guests. Registration is open at http://www.uoalumni.com/events/2242099.

Bedbury, whose work helped launch both Nike and Starbucks, is a writer, consultant, and CEO of Brandstream.com. Fancher, retired executive editor of The Seattle Times, was a 2008-09Reynolds Fellow in the Missouri School of Journalism and currently serves as chairman of the ethics committee of the American Society of News Editors. Rinearson is a Pulitzer Prize winner and former Microsoft executive and is currently the CEO and founder of Intersect.com. Laubenfels is Deputy Managing Editor for Strategy and Product Development at TheSeattle Times. Yamada is a correspondent for Q13 Fox News in Seattle.