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Ojai Chautauqua - June 3 - Politics, Media, and Society

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Matilija Auditorium

703 El Paseo Road

Ojai, CA 93023

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June 3

Politics, Media, and Society

If you didn’t know what Twitter was before the 2016 Presidential Election, you certainly do now. Many of us grew up with three television networks and an evening newspaper. Since then we’ve moved from a time of talk radio and cable television to an era dominated by On-Line and Social Media. What does it mean when each one of us can decide the news we want to hear and the news we can simply ignore? How can we take on the common challenges of our society if we can’t agree on common facts? Is this why Politics is broken?Join some of the smartest minds in media and politics on the changing role of Political News Media and what it means for us.

Current Panelists (more being added in the coming days):

Moderator - Dan Schnur
Dan Schnur is a professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communications and at the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley. Schnur is the founder of the USC/LA Times Poll and the former Chairman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. He is an educator and political reformer, striving for government transparency, bipartisan cooperation, and civics education. In addition to his classes at USC and Berkeley, Schnur has taught at Harvard University and George Washington University. Schnur also has worked on four Presidential and three Gubernatorial campaigns, and is a featured commentator in national print and television news. He has a weekly column in the San Francisco Chronicle and can be followed on Twitter @danschnur.

Panelists - Bill Burton
Bill is the Managing Director of the Los Angeles office of SKDknickerbocker -- a national public affairs agency -- and advises political leaders, corporations and nonprofits in California and across the country. Bill was one of the first hires on President Obama’s first presidential campaign where he was the national press secretary beginning in January 2007. He served in the Obama administration as deputy White House press secretary and special assistant to the president. In that capacity, he traveled extensively, both domestically and internationally, advising the president, briefing reporters both on Air Force One and at the podium in the White House briefing room. During President Obama’s reelection, Bill co-founded and served as senior strategist for the super PAC Priorities USA Action. During the 2006 electoral cycle, in which Democrats won control of the House of Representatives, he worked as then-Congressman Rahm Emanuel’s communications director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In 2016, Bill was listed on the PR Week 40 Under 40 for professionals in public affairs, as well as the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) 40 Under 40 Class of 2016.

Panelist - Ken LaCorte
Ken, an 18-year Fox News veteran, is the founder of the Internet news source LCN LaCorte News, a mixture of original journalism and news aggregation, with a stated emphasis on fact not opinion. Ken was Vice President of Fox News Digital from 2006 to 2016. He previously was Director of Fox News Editorial, overseeing editorial content for news reporting, starting in 2003. Ken began his career at Fox News in 1998 as the Bureau Chief of the Western Region, where he was responsible for editorial direction and management of news bureaus in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. During his tenure, in this position, he oversaw coverage of numerous stories including the disappearance of Chandra Levy, the arrest and subsequent trial of Robert Blake, and the environmental series Vanishing Freedom. In 1997, Ken challenged California law by publishing the state's Megan’s Law list. Despite a warning from the California Attorney General, he hand copied the state's high risk sex offenders and published them online. In 2004, California officially published the Megan's Law database on the Internet.

Panelist - Naomi Seligman
Naomi is Communications Director for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Prior to her appointment in 2015, she founded and ran her own consulting firm and represented clients in both the political and entertainment arenas. In her political work, Naomi has helped end the careers of corrupt members of Congress and rooted out misinformation in the media. She also led The Gun Truth Project, a gun lobby watchdog organization. Naomi directed communications operations for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Media Matters and managed the media campaign behind the defense of outed undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson. In the entertainment field, Naomi has worked with actors and actresses to advance their social advocacy efforts. She created a national advocacy and entertainment campaign for ‘INOCENTE,’ the 2013 Oscar winner for Best Documentary Short at the Academy Awards and has worked with the Global Survivors Network, on publicizing the 2011 Oscar-nominated short documentary ‘Killing in the Name,’ and on the award-winning documentary ‘The Power of Two.’

Panelist - John Thomas
John is the founder and President of Thomas Partners Strategies, a public affairs and advertising firm working with political campaigns, corporations, ballot measures, non-profits and universities. During the last election cycle, his political advertising work caught the attention of the LA Times, who referred to him as “Billy the Kid of Political Battles.” John is a frequent political commentator and author, representing the Republican Party, in media ranging from local and national radio, to CNN, FOX 11, PBS, and print outlets including Daily Caller, Politico, RollCall, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Campaigns and Elections Magazine. He serves on the boards of Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy and CalWatchdog, which is a leader in California political investigative journalism.

Panelist - Alice Walton
Alice has a leadership role at the public affairs firm Ek, Sunkin, Klink & Bai. For more than a decade, Alice was a reporter covering politics in California -- most recently with the Los Angeles Times, where she helped grow the “Essential California” newsletter to a daily readership of over 200,000 subscribers. Alice began her career as a reporter with City News Service, the largest regional wire service in the country. She covered L.A. city and county politics, court hearings, breaking news and award shows including the Oscars and Golden Globes. In 2010, Alice launched The City Maven, a one-of-the-first digital publication, which focused on the news of Los Angeles City Hall. She later joined 89.3 KPCC public radio as an on-air reporter. She is a board member and past president of the Greater L.A. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.


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Matilija Auditorium

703 El Paseo Road

Ojai, CA 93023

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