15th edition of Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit to explore trust in the media

SUNY Oswego’s Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit student co-event directors Joshua Holfoth and Victoria Kammer hold posters for the inaugural 2005 edition and this year’s event, “Trust Transformed: Media and the Public, 15 Years Later.”

OSWEGO — The 15th edition of SUNY Oswego’s Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit will examine the relationship between media professionals and news consumers with a program themed “Trust Transformed: Media and the Public, 15 Years Later,” on Wednesday, Oct. 23.

An all-star panel at 3 p.m. in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre will feature SUNY Oswego alumnus Kendis Gibson, anchor host of “MSNBC Live” on weekends, as moderator. Panelists will include Cristina Domingues, anchor of “Your Morning Rochester” and midday shows for Spectrum News; Sharon Newman, senior producer on the MSNBC program “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams”; Doug Schneider, a watchdog reporter for USA Today Network-Wisconsin and writer for the Green Bay Press-Gazette; and Jennifer Williams, senior foreign editor at Vox and co-host of Worldly, Vox’s foreign affairs podcast.

As always, a large student steering committee coordinates the activities, led by co-event directors Joshua Holfoth and Victoria Kammer, and advised this year by Brian Moritz of the communication studies faculty.

“I think this year, we have our largest student involvement ever,” said Kammer, a senior public relations major. Organizers note the theme mirrors the college’s first media summit in 2005, “Why Don’t We Trust the Media? How Can the Media Recover Public Trust?”

“We even have an ‘Advanced TV Production’ class, taught by Mike Cleland, in charge of the live broadcast,” added Holfoth, who is in the college’s combined master of business administration/bachelor’s in broadcasting program. That broadcast will stream live on student-run WTOP TV-10 and on the MediaSummit.org website, and pre-summit coverage will begin streaming with the WTOP-10 Media Summit Red Carpet show.

Louis A. Borrelli Jr., a pioneer in cable television, online media and broadcast production services and a 1977 Oswego graduate, made a founding gift for the media summit in 2005. Two years later, 1976 graduate Al Roker, the national weather anchor and co-host of the third hour of NBC’s “Today” show, provided additional funding to rename the summit in memory of longtime professor Dr. Lewis B. O’Donnell, a seminal figure in the college experiences of Borrelli, Roker and many others.

“Hard to believe we are approaching our 15th O’Donnell Media Summit,” Borrelli said. “I never set out to create the signature event of the fall semester, yet that is what we have. The students who have taken the reins for the better part of 12 years now continually raise the bar and add to the legacy of those who came before them. It is more than gratifying — it is inspiring.”

Distinguished panel

A 1994 SUNY Oswego graduate, Gibson recently came to MSNBC after more than three years as anchor of ABC’s “America This Morning” and “World News Now.” He joined ABC News in 2014 as a correspondent and anchor after spending time in local and national networks. He was an anchor and reporter based in Washington, D.C., during the Obama presidency; a primetime anchor for Fox; an entertainment anchor for CNN; and a show host for HGTV.

Domingues joined Spectrum News in late 2000 and has become a key part of its Rochester programming. She is passionate about covering stories that give underprivileged children a platform, having volunteered with community groups that do the same. Domingues is an Emmy nominee, as well as winner of several New York State AP awards and the Rochester Media Association Award.

In her work with MSNBC, Newman helps tell the fast-moving story of significant changes taking place in U.S. political history. A 1979 Oswego graduate, her more than 40 year career in broadcast journalism began at WOCR and WRVO on campus, and includes award-winning stops in public, local and network radio, as well as management roles in local and cable TV and all three major television news networks.  

Schneider has won the Wisconsin Newspaper Association’s first-place award for government coverage each of the past three years. Schneider joined Gannett in 2000, earning honors for investigative, public-service, breaking news and sports journalism as a reporter and editor at the Press and Sun-Bulletin in Binghamton. He also spent two years at the Palladium-Times in Oswego.

Before taking on her foreign policy leadership role at Vox, Williams was a senior researcher at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and the deputy foreign policy editor for Lawfare. Her work on jihadist groups, terrorism and the Middle East has appeared in numerous publications including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy and The National Interest.

Expert panelists also will appear in a number of classes on campus throughout the day to impart their wisdom, expertise and advice to students.

Several alumni in communication fields will return to take part in the Career Connectors networking event, which will begin at 4:30 p.m. in Tyler Art Gallery. Connectors will include Marissa Sarbak, reporter/anchor for News 12 New York and host of American Kennel Club’s AKC TV; Matt Bishop, producer and AKC TV technical director, and studio manager for B Live, LLC; Justin Berrios, television news producer at News 12 Westchester; Jillian Meisenzahl, a wedding and portrait photographer and freelance graphic designer in Rochester; Rufaro Matombo (aka DJ Tumbo), digital content manager at Safe Horizon; Leah Landry, “Morning Edition” host and grants and underwriting contributor for WRVO; and Anja Godlewski-Dykes, a senior account manager at The Digital Hyve.

For more information, visit MediaSummit.org.

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