Ethics of Politics and the Press Speaker Bios

Conference content


Keynote Speaker

jeremyJeremy Scahill
Jeremy Scahill is the National Security Correspondent for The Nation magazine and is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute. He is author of the New York Times bestseller Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army (Nation Books, 2007), as well as Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield. Mr. Scahill’s work has sparked several Congressional investigations and won some of journalism’s highest honors. He was twice awarded the prestigious George Polk Award, in 1998 for foreign reporting and in 2008 for his book Blackwater. Mr. Scahill has reported from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Nigeria, Yemen, the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere across the globe. Scahill is a frequent guest on a wide array of programs, appearing regularly on The Rachel Maddow Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, and Democracy Now!. He has also appeared on ABC World News, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, BBC, al Jazeera, CNN, The NewsHour, and Bill Moyers Journal.

Media Biases Panel

joanJoan Bray
Joan Bray was elected to the Missouri Senate in 2002 after serving 10 years in the Missouri House of Representatives. Before that she was an editor and reporter for, among others, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where she also served as vice-president of The Newspaper Guild’s Local 49. As the ranking Democratic member of the Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Bray worked with her colleagues to comb through the state’s more than $24 billion budget.
She sponsored landmark measures to help poor, neglected and abandoned communities by providing tax incentives for investments in economically distressed areas. She is a graduate of the Women and Power Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She currently serves as executive director of the Consumers Council of Missouri. She continues to pursue passions reflected in her legislative career through her volunteer positions, among them the board of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri and the Oversight Committee of the National Cooperative Rail Research Program.

terryTerry Ganey
Terry Ganey is a best-selling author and freelance writer, St. Louis editor of the Gateway Journalism Review, visiting professor of journalism at Southern Illinois University, and lecturer at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. As long-serving State Capital Bureau Chief for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting. His disclosures of Missouri’s Second Injury Fund scandal helped send seven men to federal prison and produced $1.6 million in restitution for the state. He also was a correspondent for the Associated Press and served as projects editor for the Columbia Daily Tribune. His non-fiction books, most recently a new edition of: Under the Influence, the Unauthorized Story of the Anheuser-Busch Dynasty (Simon and Schuster, with Peter Hernon) have appeared on The New York Times Best Seller List.

johnJohn Hancock
John Hancock’s political experience spans three decades in grassroots and electoral politics. He is a former state legislator, was the GOP nominee for Missouri Secretary of State in 1992 and 1996, and served as executive director of the Missouri Republican Party from 1997 to 2003. In 2003, he established John Hancock and Associates, and soon after, Public Pulse Research, he is a co-host of Hancock & Kelley on KMOX Radio in St. Louis and has a Political Science degree from the University of Missouri – St. Louis and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Rutgers University.

charlesCharles Jaco
Charles Jaco is a reporter for Fox 2, as well as reporter, writer, and anchor of the weekly Sunday morning news program The Jaco Report. Recently in the national spotlight due to his interview with Todd Akin that many say eventually cost Akin the race, he is the winner of three George Foster Peabody Awards for broadcast journalism excellence, as well as two Edward R. Murrow Awards and five National Headliner Awards. His experience in journalism and broadcasting includes being a correspondent for CNN and NBC Network Radio, and a talk program host for KMOX. He has written opinion and analysis articles for dozens of newspapers and magazines, is the author of four books, and has covered nine wars in the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa.

Invited Scholars

lanceLance Bennett
Lance Bennett is Ruddick C. Lawrence Professor of Communication and Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington. He is also the founder and director of the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement and the author of ten books, including most recently: When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina (Chicago, with Regina Lawrence and Steven Livingston), and The Logic of Connective Action: Digital Media and the Personalization of Contentious Politics (Cambridge, with Alexandra Segerberg). Prof. Bennett has lectured internationally on the importance of media and information systems in civic life. His research has been funded by the NSF, the Ford Foundation, and MacArthur foundation, among others. Current research interests include: press-government relations and the quality of public information, changing patterns of citizenship and civic engagement, and the uses of digital media in public life.

natalieNatalie Jomini Stroud
Natalie Jomini Stroud is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Assistant Director of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin. She is interested in how the media affect our political behaviors and attitudes and how our political behaviors and attitudes affect our media use. Her recent book, Niche News: The Politics of News Choice (Oxford University Press, 2011) explores the causes, consequences, and prevalence of partisan selective exposure, the preference for like-minded political information. Niche News received the International Communication Association’s 2012 Outstanding Book Award. Stroud directs the grant-funded Engaging News Project, which examines commercially-viable and democratically-beneficial ways of improving online news coverage.

National Reporter’s Shield Law Panel

billBill Freivogel
Bill Freivogel is Director of the School of Journalism at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. A graduate of Washington University Law School and a member of the Missouri Bar, he spent 34 award-winning years as a reporter and editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He was Assistant Bureau Chief in Washington before returning to St. Louis and serving as Deputy Editorial Page Editor. He was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize, and also shared the Sidney Hillman Award, Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, National Press Club’s Washington Correspondence Award and ABA Silver Gavel Award. His research focuses on media law and the Supreme Court.

josephJoseph E. Martineau
Joseph E. Martineau is an attorney at Lewis, Rice & Fingersh, L.C., where he focuses his practice on media and communications law, intellectual property law, and health and commercial law litigation. He is also an adjunct professor at Washington University teaching Communications Law to undergraduate and graduate level students. He has published in the fields of defamation and invasion of privacy law, the first amendment, and media law in general. He has argued cases in the appellate and Supreme Courts of both Missouri and Illinois. Among other honors Mr. Martineau was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2005-2014, and was named the Best Lawyers’ 2012 “St. Louis Litigation – First Amendment Lawyer of the Year.”

christinaChristina Wells
Christina Wells is the Enoch H. Crowder Professor of Law at the University of Missouri School of Law where she teaches Freedom of Speech, Remedies, Administrative Law and Gender & the Law. Professor Wells received the Shook, Hardy & Bacon Research award for her article on the constitutionality of statutes regulating funeral protests. She also received that award in 2005 for her articles on the effects of fear and risk assessment on decision-making in times of crisis. In 2008, she received the Husch Blackwell Sanders Distinguished Faculty Award for excellence in teaching. In 2003 and again in 2007, Professor Wells received the Sustained Outstanding Achievement Award for her work at the law school.

New Media and Politics Panel

johncombestJohn Combest
John Combest started — “arguably the state’s best known and most popular political Web site,” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch – in 2001 to provide a comprehensive source of daily political news to his fellow Missouri politicos. In February 2007, John was named as a “Most Influential St. Louisan” by the St. Louis Business Journal, and in July of that year, the paper recognized him as a “30 Under 30” honoree. In 2000, John served as an aide to U.S. Senator John Ashcroft in the St. Louis District Office. He later worked at a St. Louis-based public relations firm, focusing primarily on public and governmental affairs. While at the firm, he also worked with clients in the transportation, real estate and health care industries who wanted to use the Internet more effectively. John currently is a manager in Public Affairs at Monsanto Company. John has a Bachelor’s degree in political science from Washington University in St. Louis. He lives in St. Charles, Mo. with his wife, Monica.

jasonJason Rosenbaum
Jason Rosenbaum is a reporter for the St. Louis Beacon, covering politics, policy, and everything in between. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism he has covered the Missouri General Assembly for the Columbia Daily Tribune, as well as publishing work in Missouri Lawyers Media, the Columbia Business Times and the St. Louis Business Journal. He has covered elections from the local level to the presidential contest in 2008. Maintaining a prodigious digital presence Mr. Rosenbaum is part of KWMU’s weekly “Politically Speaking” podcast along with Joe Mannies and Chris McDaniel.

toddTodd Abrajano
Todd Abrajano is the Founder and President of Turning Point Public Affairs. He has over fifteen years of experience with political strategy, legislative and regulatory grassroots advocacy, and direct government relations. Among other positions public and private Mr. Abrajano has served as director of communications for the MO House of Representatives, overseeing the office and serving as the press secretary for the Speaker of the House. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Todd directed “Spin Room” media relations for the McCain-Palin campaign during the VP debate held at Washington University in St. Louis. During the 2012 election cycle, he served as a top communications strategist for two high-profile U.S. Senate campaigns. Todd received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science with a concentration in international relations from Yale University.

Featured Speakers

Jeremy Scahill
National Security Correspondent for The Nation magazine and Author of Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield (2013)

John Hancock

Former executive director of the Missouri republican party and co-host of Hancock and Kelley on KLMX Radio

Lance Bennett

Ruddick C. Lawrence Professor of Communication and Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington