Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Prominent newspaper publisher to address U in annual speech

October 2, 2000

Distinguished publisher Jay T. Harris will deliver the annual Siebert Lecture at the Kellogg Center this week.

Harris’ address, titled “Press Freedoms and the Responsibility of Journalists in the Age of New Media,” will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday and is free to the public.

Stephen Lacy, director of the MSU School of Journalism, said the speech series is focused primarily on law and journalism. The lecture series honors Frederick S. Siebert, who taught media law at MSU.

Siebert was also director of the School of Journalism from 1957 to 1960 and dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences from 1960 to 1967.

The lecture series began in 1968. This week’s lecture brings a renowned speaker to campus.

“(Harris) is one of the top publishers in the country,” Lacy said. “He’s won numerous journalism awards for his accomplishments.”

Lacy said it’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t heard of Harris, the publisher of the San Jose Mercury News.

Harris is currently chair of the board of the Bay Area Council and is a member of the boards of several other organizations including the American Press Institute, the Pacific Council on International Policy and the Council on Foreign Relations.

And some say he’s an interesting speaker, too.

“Harris is a very good speaker,” Lacy said. “He is committed to the basic ethical entities of journalism and is very passionate about it.”

Nationwide, Harris is one of the highest-ranking blacks in the newspaper business. That enables him to talk informatively about issues of diversity in the newsroom and society, Lacy said.

“We try to select someone who has a message that we think would be valuable for the university to hear in the field of First Amendment issues and press freedom,” said James Spaniolo, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

Spaniolo described Harris as a thoughtful and articulate person and said he believes it would be beneficial for anyone to hear him lecture.

“His comments will be both informative and challenging,” Spaniolo said. “It’s important for students and those who are interested in journalism to hear from people who are at the front lines of the journalism profession and Jay Harris is a person who’s had enormous experience.”

The speakers who have presented lectures have all been distinguished journalists. Lacy said they are all accomplished and recognized in their fields.

Previous speakers include ABC news and law correspondent and MSU alumnus Tim O’Brien, University of Michigan President Lee Bollinger and Commissioner of the Federal Communication Committee James Quello.

“We’ve had a long line of people who have spoken over the years representing different experiences and points of view,” Spaniolo said.

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