Campus News Society & Culture

Media advisory: Dangers of covering war zones lead McGill Symposium on journalistic courage

Athens, Ga. – The dangers associated with covering war zones-especially in the Middle East-open a two-day discussion of journalistic courage Oct. 8-9 at the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The setting is the seventh annual McGill Symposium, which will be held from Oct. 8 from 2:30 to 5 p.m., and Oct. 9 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Drewry Room (Room 238) of the Journalism Building.

Leading off are three journalists with broad experience covering war zones across the world. They are:
Dorothy Parvaz, special projects editor, Al Jazeera, who also is the 2013 recipient of the McGill Medal in Journalistic Courage
Sherif Mansour, Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists
Lisa Schnellinger, senior project consultant, UPINext/Pakistan

Six other journalists and journalism experts from across the U.S. will join Parvaz, Mansour and Schnellinger to consider what journalistic courage means and how it is exemplified by reporters and editors. They are:
John Tlumacki, photographer, The Boston Globe, Boston
Sara Ganim, reporter, CNN, Atlanta
Alison Young, reporter, USA Today, Arlington, Va.
Frank D. LoMonte, executive director, Student Press Law Center, Washington, D.C.
Karl Etters, reporter, Tallahassee Democrat, Tallahassee, Fla.
James Yoakley, instructional coach, Knox County Schools, Knox County, Tenn.

The McGill Symposium brings together students, faculty and leading journalists to consider what journalistic courage means and how it is exemplified by reporters and editors, said John F. Greenman, professor and Carter Chair in Journalism, who co-directs the program.

The McGill Symposium is not a public event. Limited seating is available to Grady students and faculty.

Parvaz, Mansour and Schnellinger begin the day Oct. 8 with a discussion of “Pitfalls and Land Mines: Making our way Through Conflict Reporting.” Schnellinger will moderate the discussion.

Later that day, Parvaz will receive the McGill Medal.

Up next, Tlumacki will discuss of “Eyewitness to Terror: The Trauma of the Boston Marathon and the Courageous Battle to Recover.” Mark E. Johnson, a senior lecturer at the Grady College, will moderate the session.

Ganim, who won the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State, will discuss “The Sports Writer’s Challenge: Taking on the Beloved Institution.” Professor Vicki Michaelis will moderate the discussion. Michaelis is the John Huland Carmical Distinguished Professor of Sports Journalism.

Young will discuss “Haunted by Ghost Factories: Digging into Dirt and Big Data.” Professor Patricia Thomas will moderate. Thomas is the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism.

LoMonte, Etters and Yoakley will discuss “The Hazelwood Decision at 25,” in the concluding session. Professor Kent Middleton will moderate.

For nearly 30 years, the McGill program has brought significant figures in journalism to UGA to honor Ralph McGill’s courage as an editor. The symposium was added in 2007.

McGill, while editor and publisher of The Atlanta Constitution, was regarded as the “conscience of the south,” using the newspaper’s editorial pages to challenge segregation in the 1950s and 1960s. McGill was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1958 for “long, courageous and effective leadership.”

Established in 1978, this annual lecture series addresses major issues impacting the American press.

The McGill Symposium is funded by the McGill Lecture Endowment.

UGA Grady College
Established in 1915, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers undergraduate majors in journalism, advertising, public relations, digital and broadcast journalism and mass media arts. The college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism and the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media. For more information, see or follow @UGAGrady on Twitter

Note to editors: Reporters interested in covering all or part of the symposium, should contact Sarah Freeman, Grady College director of communications, 706-201-5373 or