UGA’s Peabody-Smithgall Lecture to examine media and democracy

UGA’s Peabody-Smithgall Lecture to examine media and democracy

Athens, Ga. – The Peabody Awards will present its inaugural Peabody-Smithgall Lecture on the theme of “The Media and Public Life” at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1, in the University of Georgia Chapel. Author and journalism professor Michael Schudson will be the first speaker at what is scheduled to become an annual event. The event is free and open to the public as well as UGA students, faculty and staff.

Author of six books, Schudson is professor in the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and also in the communication studies department at the University of California-San Diego.

His lecture will focus on the news media, but he will also comment on universities, think tanks, the research, information and investigation capabilities of government agencies, and the openness of legislatures themselves to public and media scrutiny. A primary concern will be the re-configuration of informational sources in public life over the past 30-40 years. His specific topic will be “Moderating the Conversation of Democracy.”

“Michael Schudson’s questions have explored the key roles of journalism, advertising and collective memory in our shared social and cultural life,” said Horace Newcomb, director of the George Foster Peabody Awards at the University of Georgia. “His work on the public role of the media has shaped an entire field of study. We are truly fortunate that he will present the first Peabody-Smithgall Lecture, an event that furthers the mission of the Peabody Awards programs.”

Among the books authored by Schudson are The Sociology of News (2003) and The Good Citizen – A History of American Civic Life (1998). He served as the editor of two more. His articles about the American news media, popular culture, advertising and cultural memory have appeared in Columbia Journalism Review, Wilson Quarterly and The American Prospect, and he has written op-ed pieces for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Financial Times and numerous other newspapers.

Schudson received a bachelor’s from Swarthmore College and a master’s and Ph.D. from Harvard University. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a resident fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto, Calif., and a MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellow.

The Peabody-Smithgall Lecture is named in honor of Lessie Bailey Smithgall and her late husband, Charles Smithgall. In the late 1930s, Mrs. Smithgall introduced Lambdin Kay, general manager of Atlanta’s WSB Radio, and John Drewry, dean of the University of Georgia’s School of Journalism. Their efforts led to the establishment of the George Foster Peabody Awards at the University. In 2003, the Smithgalls endowed the Lambdin Kay Chair for the Peabodys, now held by Horace Newcomb. The Peabody-Smithgall Lecture is supported with funds from the Lambdin Kay Chair.

The Peabody Awards, established in 1940 and administered by UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, are the oldest honor in television and radio. Today the Peabody recognizes distinguished achievement and meritorious public service by TV and radio stations, networks, producing organizations, individuals and the World Wide Web.

Each year, the awards competition attracts more than 1,000 entries, all of which become a permanent part of the Peabody Archive in the University of Georgia Libraries. The collection is one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most respected moving-image archives. For more information about the Peabody Archive or the Peabody Awards, visit www.peabody.uga.edu.