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July 14 Tuesday

The Role of a Free Press in a Time of Turmoil; A Virtual “Brown Bag Lunch” Discussion

  • Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 12:00PM - 1:30PM
  • Zoom
  • Open To The Public
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The Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression and the Media Freedom & Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School invite you, your journalist colleagues and others from your organization to the next in their series of occasional lunchtime discussions of current issues facing journalists and their lawyers.

The New York Times’ recent solicitation, publication, and disavowal of an inflammatory opinion piece by Senator Tom Cotton has led to much soul-searching about the proper role of the institutional press in America.  This Zoom event at noon on Tuesday, July 14, will explore some of the fundamental issues that are fueling an ongoing debate about the actions and responsibilities of a free and independent press in an era of deep partisan divide, destruction of institutional political norms, and mistrust of the traditional news outlets.

The flare up at the Times brought into stark relief a growing divide among journalists and First Amendment advocates over the meaning and value of “neutrality” in publishing news, the role of major news organizations as platforms for opinion; and the guideposts those organizations use to decide whose voices deserve to be heard.  This session will take a deep dive into these issues and inquire broadly into how the institutional press serves democracy in a society rife with social unrest, disinformation, extreme inequality, and political divisiveness.

First Amendment advocate and Visiting Lecturer at Yale Law School Floyd Abrams will moderate a panel with deep insights into these issues, comprised of Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent for PBS, Wes Lowery, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist now with CBS News, and Jay Rosen, media critic, writer, and  professor of journalism at New York University.

Please join us and add your voice to the discussion by registering at:


This is bound to be a vibrant and robust discussion, and we hope to see you (virtually) on July 14!

David A. Schulz
Media Freedom &
Information Access Clinic

Speaker Bios:

Yamiche Alcindor is White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, a role she began in 2018.  She is also currently a contributor for NBC News and MSNBC, and previously worked as a national political reporter for The New York Times and a national reporter for USA Today.  Ms. Alcindor covers stories at the intersection of race and politics as well as fatal police encounters.  She has reported on the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. and the protests in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland. 


Wesley Lowery for many years was a national correspondent covering law enforcement, justice and their intersection with politics and policy for The Washington Post.  He was a lead reporter on the Post project tracking the number of people shot and killed by police that won both a Pulitzer Prize and George Polk award in 2016, and is the author of two books, “They Can't Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore” and “A New Era in America's Racial Justice Movement.”  He left the Post earlier this year to join the new CBS News program, “60 in 6,” the new “60 Minutes”-Quibi initiative.


Jay Rosen has been on the faculty of the NYU Arthur Carter Journalism Institute since 1986, and from 1999 to 2005 he served as chair of the Department. As a press critic and reviewer, Mr. Rosen has published in The Nation, Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and others.  He is the author of PressThink, a popular weblog about journalism and its ordeals, and also blogs at the Huffington Post.  His book “What Are Journalists For?” explores the rise of the civic journalism movement and he speaks frequently about civic journalism. From 1993 to 1997 Mr. Rosen directed the Project on Public Life and the Press, an initiative of the Knight Foundation.



Floyd Abrams is Senior Counsel at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, a Visiting Lecturer at Yale Law School this fall and will be a Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School next spring. He has argued frequently in the Supreme Court in First Amendment and other cases.  Former Yale Law School Dean Robert Post has stated of him that “no lawyer has exercised greater influence on the development of First Amendment jurisprudence in the last four decades.

Sponsoring Organization(s)

ISP, MFIA, Abrams