Topic: Speakers

January 26, 2009

How extensive use of the Internet helped land President Obama in the White House to the rising challenge of global climate change are just two of the important topics to be addressed by upcoming speakers at Ball State University.

Among those scheduled to appear on campus during the current spring semester are three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman as well as NBC Today show financial editor Jean Chatzky.

First to speak, however, will be Robert Kennedy Jr., son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and chief prosecuting attorney for the environmental advocacy group Riverkeeper. He will reflect on "Our Environmental Destiny" during a Wednesday, Feb. 18, presentation at in Emens Auditorium. The 8 p.m. address, part of the university's Bracken Environmental Lecture Series, is free and open to the public, as are all of the events following.

Hailed as a leader of a new breed of environmentalist, Kennedy also is senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council and the author of "Crimes Against Nature," a 2004 book calling into question many of the environmental policies of the United States. A passionate voice advocating for greater conservation of the nation's natural resources — which he says play vital roles in our work, our health and our identity as Americans — Kennedy reminds audiences that we all have responsibilities to protect and preserve our planet for future generations.

Next, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Elizabeth Ware Packard professor of communications and director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, will discuss "Emerging Media and the Path to the Oval Office" at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 24, in the Art and Journalism Building, Room 175. Hers is the first address in the university's new David Letterman Distinguished Professional Lecture and Workshop Series, named for the program's benefactor and the university's most prominent alumnus, CBS Late Show host David Letterman.

Each presidential election year, the Annenberg Center conducts the National Annenberg Election Survey, the largest and most comprehensive regular temperature taking of the American electorate. It also is the sponsor of FactCheck, the oft cited nonprofit devoted to examining the factual accuracy of U.S. political advertisements and claims.
Jamieson, a frequent commentator on the American campaign and election process for National Public Radio, CBS, PBS' "The NewsHour," CNN and The New York Times, is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the author, co-author or editor of 15 books, including "Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment" (Oxford, 2008) and "unSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation" (Random House, 2007).

The Bracken Environmental Lecture Series renews on March 4 when Friedman speaks at 7 p.m. in Emens Auditorium.  He'll examine the crises of global climate change and rising competition for energy as portrayed in his latest book, "Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution — and How It Can Renew America."

Friedman proposes that an ambitious national strategy — which he calls 'Geo-Greenism' — is not only what we need to save the planet from overheating; it is what we need to make America healthier, richer, more innovative, more productive and more secure.
The Letterman series welcomes Brian Storm, former director of multimedia at, for a workshop on "Multimedia Storytelling in the Age of Emerging Media" March 25–26. He is now president of MediaStorm, a multimedia production studio based in New York City.

Jean Chatzky, financial editor for NBC's "Today" show, will be the Miller College of Business featured speaker during Financial Literacy Week, with a 6:30 p.m. lecture on April 6 in Emens Auditorium.

Chatzky, also a columnist for the New York Daily News and frequent guest on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," will discuss her global platform that's made significant strides helping millions of men and women battle an epidemic with a devastating impact — debt.