Saint Peter’s College Hosts First Annual Media and History Conference – April 10, 2008

Jersey City – The Departments of Communication and History at Saint Peter’s College will host the first annual Media and History Conference on Thursday, April 10, 2008.  The theme for this year’s conference, “Freedom of the Press,” reflects the meeting’s open examination of censorship of press, speech and artistic expression throughout history.  


To take place from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Pope Lecture Hall, presentations will be given by leading scholars in the fields of history, journalism and media studies.  Topics include today’s cultural atmosphere of censorship and intolerance for dissent, controversial ideas and controversial art, as well as government interference and pressures during times of national crisis and war.  


Conference panelists will also discuss the looming threat to free expression and the First Amendment. The first panel, “Assaults on the Press,” chaired by Dr. John Wrynn, S.J., of Saint Peter’s Department of History, will share a historical perspective of censorship and governmental interference with journalists.  Panelists from Saint Peter’s College include Dr. Jerome Gillen, Associate Professor in the Department of History, Dr. David Gerlach, Assistant Professor of History and Dr. Pamela Brown, Professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism.  Dr. Brown is also the Director of the Law and Justice Program for Rider University.


The second panel, “Moral Panics and Media Censorship,” chaired by Dr. Barna Donovan of Saint Peter’s Department of Communication, will provide a contemporary view on censorship, the media and free expression.  Panelists from Saint Peter’s include Dr. Raymond A. Schroth, S.J., Professor of Humanities and Dr. Cynthia Walker, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication. Also participating from Fairleigh Dickinson University is Dr. Kathleen C. Haspel, Assistant Professor of Communications Studies.


The event’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Paul Levinson, novelist and Chair of Fordham University’s Department of Communication and Media Studies.  Also a frequent commentator on television shows such as FOX News’ The O’Reilly Factor and PBS’s The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Dr. Levinson has been interviewed more than 500 times on radio and television. He has also published more than 100 scholarly articles on the history and philosophy of communication and technology. Dr. Levinson will be discussing the unconstitutionality of the FCC’s control of broadcast content, and how citizens can object to the tight regulations on expression.


Dr. David Greenberg, Assistant Professor of History, Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University, will give closing remarks for the conference. Dr. Greenberg is the acclaimed author of Nixon’s Shadow: The History of an Image and Presidential Doodles, featured on major media outlets such as CNN and CBS. A columnist for Slate magazine, he has also written for The New York Times and The New Yorker, among many other publications.  He holds a B.A. from Yale and Ph.D. in history from Columbia.


To complement the conference, Saint Peter¹s O¹Toole Library is offering a Freedom of the Press timeline exhibit, which follows the evolution of media censorship in the United States. It will be on view until the end of April.




Saint Peter’s College is the Jesuit College of New Jersey. Founded in 1872, Saint Peter’s has an enrollment of approximately 3,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. The main campus is located in Jersey City. The College has a branch campus for adults in Englewood Cliffs, NJ and also offers courses at various corporate sites at the Jersey City waterfront and in South Amboy, NJ.