2017 Conference

The Diederich College of Communication will host the fifth annual conference of the O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism on Thursday, November 9th.

Topic: Pandemics and the Hand of Man: Debating human intervention in the natural world
When: Nov. 9, 2017, 2:30 - 5 p.m.
Where: The Lubar Center, Marquette University Law School (Eckstein Hall)

Tickets are optional but recommended: Go here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/obrien-fellowship-conference-tickets-38144894406


This year’s conference will discuss and debate the threat of pandemics from diseases that are driven by human decisions.

The conference will feature the journalism of 2016-17 O’Brien Fellow Mark Johnson and associated graduate and undergraduate Marquette students. Johnson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning health and science reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, used the fellowship to examine the growing threat posed by diseases that jump from animals to humans. Panelists will discuss climate change’s role in the spread of diseases, and the ethics of steps such as the genetic modification of animals that carry disease. Johnson and student journalists will talk about their roles in reporting the “Outbreak” stories.

The conference -- free and open to the public -- is scheduled for the Lubar Center in the Marquette Law School (Eckstein Hall) from 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

For more information, contact Dave Umhoefer, director of the O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism, at (414) 288-5956, david.umhoefer@marquette.edu

Schedule of Events

2:30 p.m. – Welcome
2:45 p.m. – Interview and panel discussion on climate change and the ethics of various responses to the threat of zoonotic diseases, moderated by Mark Johnson, 2016-17 O’Brien Fellow, health and science reporter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
3:45 p.m. – Break
4:00 p.m. – Panel discussion on “Outbreak” series, moderated by Greg Borowski, Comm ’89, deputy managing editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
5:00 p.m. – Closing remarks

Expected Speakers

Mark Johnson is a health and science reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He is a three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, winning as part of a team in 2011 for stories on the use of genetic technology to save a 4-year-old boy suffering from a mysterious disease. His reporting at Journal Sentinel spans 17 years.

Mark Hoffman is an award-winning photographer at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, where he has worked since 1992. His work includes the “Outbreak” series with Mark Johnson.

Dr. Jonathan Patz MD, M.P.H., is director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a professor and the John P. Holton Chair in Health and the Environment. He co-chaired the health expert panel of the US National Assessment on Climate Change, and has been a lead author for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the organization that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

O’Brien student journalists on Mark Johnson’s team:

McKenna Oxenden is a senior journalism student at Marquette University and the managing editor for the Marquette Journal. She is currently working with 2017-18 O’Brien Fellow Erin Richards as her second internship with the O’Brien Fellowship.

Ryan Patterson is a a Marquette University journalism graduate and a reporter at the Sheridan Press in Sheridan, Wyoming.

Devi Shastri is a Marquette University journalism and biomedical sciences graduate and two-time O’Brien Fellowship student reporter, previously working with O’Brien Fellow Miranda Spivack.

Johnston Hall


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