IU Media School speaker series to feature E.J. Dionne, Peter Hessler and Asma Khalid

  • Feb. 23, 2017


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Award-winning print, audio and magazine storytellers are featured in the spring speaker series at The Media School at Indiana University.

Syndicated political columnist E.J. Dionne, author and New Yorker correspondent Peter Hessler and NPR/WBUR reporter Asma Khalid will speak in March and April on topics including the 2016 election cycle and China’s global influence. The lectures will be free and open to the public.

"This semester, our speaker series is stronger than ever, with first-rate media practitioners who have covered the world," said James Shanahan, dean of The Media School. "Our students and the IU community will benefit immeasurably, now more than ever in a time where the very foundations of journalism are being questioned."

Here’s the lineup:

E.J. Dionne, The Washington Post

Dionne is an author and syndicated columnist for The Washington Post whose work is grounded in years of reporting on government and politics on local, national and international levels. He will speak at 5:30 p.m. March 28 in Presidents Hall in Franklin Hall; the title of his presentation is "Lee Hamilton Wouldn’t Recognize the Place: What Has Become of Politics in Washington?"

The Massachusetts native started his career at The New York Times, where he spent 14 years on the politics beat in Paris, Rome and Beirut. He joined The Washington Post in 1990 to cover national politics, then launched his column, now syndicated and appearing in more than 100 newspapers in the U.S. and abroad. His reputation for keen political analysis has led to appearances as a commentator on NPR, CNN and NBC, among others.

Dionne is author of six books, including "Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism From Goldwater to Trump and Beyond," published in 2016.

In his career, Dionne has amassed dozens of awards, including the American Political Science Association’s Carey McWilliams Award, which honors journalistic contributions to the understanding of politics, and the Sidney Hillman Foundation’s Hillman Award for Career Achievement.

Dionne is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a professor at Georgetown University, where he teaches in the McCourt School of Public Policy.

While at IU, he will receive the Lee H. Hamilton Public Service Fellowship, presented by former U.S. Congressman Lee Hamilton, a distinguished scholar in IU’s School of Global and International Studies and professor of practice in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Peter Hessler, The New Yorker

Hessler is a staff writer at The New Yorker and contributor to National Geographic who has drawn on his international experiences for several books, including a trilogy exploring his decade in China. He will be speaking at 6 p.m. April 12 in the Global and International Studies Building Auditorium; the title of his presentation is “Learning to Speak Lingerie: Chinese Entrepreneurs in Egypt and the Chinese Worldview.”

He first traveled to China with the Peace Corps in 1996. For two years, he taught literature at Fuling Teachers College, an experience he detailed in his first book, "River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze."

He joined The New Yorker in 2000 as the magazine’s correspondent in China. His “Letters From China” articles featured people such as NBA star Yao Ming, factory workers and rural families and addressed China’s fast-changing culture.

Two more books followed: "Oracle Bones" (2006), a finalist for the National Book Award, which juxtaposes contemporary events with ancient archaeology in China; and the third book of the trilogy, "Country Driving" (2010), which explores economic development and China’s urbanization.

Hessler won the American Society of Magazine Editors excellence in reporting award for “China’s Instant Cities,” published in National Geographic. In 2011, he was named a MacArthur Fellow.

Hessler now lives in Cairo, where he covers revolution, politics and cultural change. His visit is part of the campus-wide "China Remixed" series of programs and events sponsored by the IU Arts and Humanities Council.

Asma Khalid, WBUR

Khalid has covered issues including politics, demographics, the Boston Marathon bombings and the trial of James “Whitey” Bulger for NPR and for WBUR in Boston. She will be speaking at 2 p.m. April 21 in Presidents Hall in Franklin Hall; the title of her presentation is "From a Presidential Election to Podcasts: The Future of News."

She joined NPR’s election team to focus on stories leading up to the 2016 election cycles, some of which were included in NPR’s Politics Podcast. She explored how the Puerto Rico fiscal crisis would influence the Florida vote and interviewed "new millennials," Obama-era young adults who would cast their first votes for president in 2016.

Khalid also used data to dig into demographic trends, such as the Perfect State Index she created to find the most “representative” U.S. state ahead of the 2016 primary season.

After the election, Khalid drew attention with her essay, “What It Was Like as a Muslim to Cover the Election,” where she described public reaction as she traveled the country talking to all kinds of voters, and attending town halls and rallies, church suppers and dinners.

Khalid now is back at WBUR where, after witnessing technology’s effects on policy and politics, she leads Bostonomix, a new business and tech team exploring the innovation economy.

Previously, she worked as a producer for NPR’s "Morning Edition," was an NPR reporting fellow and was a reporter for WAMU, NPR’s affiliate in Washington, D.C.

Khalid, a 2006 graduate of the IU journalism program, received a master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Cambridge.

While visiting campus, Khalid will receive the IU Hutton Honors College Young Distinguished Alumni Award.

Since its inception in 2006, the speaker series has brought many top names in media to the IU campus, including NPR’s television critic Eric Deggans, PBS Newshour’s Margaret Warner, Sage Steele of ESPN and author Gay Talese, among others.   

Peter Hessler

Peter Hessler

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