2016 Burleigh Media Ethics Lecture

Samantha Grant’s Lecture at Marquette University

Thank you to all who helped make the 2016 Burleigh Media Ethics lecture a success. The Diederich College of Communication would like to thank Samantha Grant, this year’s lecturer, for taking the time to come to Marquette to discuss her film that concerns ethical issues in the media; our Associate Dean Dr. Joyce Wolburg and Director of Special Projects Julie Rosene for bringing Grant to campus; Emily Fisher who worked behind the scenes to ensure the event ran smoothly; and Interim Dean Ana Garner and Brittany Carloni for introducing Grant at our event.

For those who missed this year’s lecture, here is a brief recap:

Filmmaker and journalist Samantha Grant discussed her documentary A Fragile Trust and how she convinced Jayson Blair — one of the worst plagiarists the journalism industry has ever encountered — to talk about why he plagiarized a shocking amount of material while working for The New York Times. A Fragile Trust started as a graduate school thesis and eventually turned into a feature-length film, thanks to Grant’s persistence. Making the film was not an easy process, but Grant pushed through the problems she encountered because she felt it was a story that had to be told.

During her lecture, Grant drew a distinction between Jayson Blair and Macarena Hernández, a Times reporter that Jayson plagiarized. Grant pointed out that Hernández was asking questions about how she could help tell the stories of parents whose sons were killed during active duty in Iraq, whereas Jayson expressed concerned that his by-lines appear one day and evaporate the next. The reasons why these two journalists became reporters are very different. It was a subtle but important point in the film that serves as a reminder to those in communication fields to examine their motives when reporting or creating content.

There were many other key insights, some of which our students shared through their live Twitter feeds.

Be sure to check out these additional images from our event, too!

Samantha Grant, Filmmaker, Documentarian and Journalist