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Virtual panel explores trust in media

Students and faculty gather at the Media Innovation Center for the Trust in Media panel event

The WVU Reed College of Media and George Washington University School of Media and Public Relations co-hosted the virtual panel event, "Who Informs the Citizenry: Finding Trust and Truth in a Fractured Age," on November 3. 


In an era of amplified polarization combined with rampant mis- and disinformation online - where do divided communities find trust and truth? This collaborative panel looks back at the year of the pandemic and engages diverse community members across rural/urban divides to explore how citizens in different communities access and share essential information. To whom do we turn for truth and where do we put our trust? How and why do communities agree or disagree on what is true? How can journalists help the larger community arrive at a shared truth in a time of public crisis?


  • Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds is founder of Voice Media Ventures and an advocate for local news media. As second generation publisher of Black Voice News (BVN), Paulette is transforming the half century old weekly print outlet into a solutions-oriented data journalism and justice-focused digital organization.
  • Dr. Brian Castrucci is the president and chief executive officer of the de Beaumont Foundation, a leading voice in health philanthropy and public health practice. Brian is an award-winning epidemiologist with 10 years of experience working in state and local health departments.
  • Ellen Clegg is the retired editorial page editor of the Boston Globe, and is working on a new book tentatively titled "What Works: The Future of Local News." Her work on this topic was recently highlighted in the Nieman Reports in an article, "The Local News Crisis Will Be Solved One Community at a Time."
  • Kristine Villanueva is the project editor for Equally Informed, a Resolve Philly initiative that brings news and information to communities affected by the digital and information divide. Previously, she was the audience engagement editor at the Center for Public Integrity. During the pandemic she has worked on coverage of anti-Asian hate.
This event was moderated by Jesse Holland, assistant professor at the GWU School of Media and Public Affairs and Mary Kay McFarland, teaching associate professor at the WVU Reed College of Media, who was joined by a group of in-person students and faculty at the Media Innovation Center. More than 100 attendees joined the panel discussion virtually.