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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 29, 2008

Update (March 6, 2008): Chicago Tribune writer Philip Hersh, considered to be the "dean" of U.S. Olympics reporters, will deliver the keynote address for the conference via video from 9:30 to 10 a.m. Saturday, March 8 in room 101 of the Becker Communications Studies Building. The title of Hersh's lecture is "China Bound."

'China, The Olympics and Global Media' focus of conference March 7-9

Reporters from The New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and other news media from across the nation will join student journalists, faculty and members of the University of Iowa community March 7-9 to discuss global media and the upcoming Beijing Olympics.

The event, "China, The Olympics and Global Media," will focus on the role of the 21st century media in the modern Olympics, sports journalism in social and global perspective, and media and communication needs and strategies for the 2008 games. The three-day conference includes public presentations and discussions with professional journalists.

Organized by Judy Polumbaum, professor of journalism and mass communication in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as part of the Iowa Olympic Ambassadors Project, the conference will involve two dozen students who will spend this summer in Beijing as volunteer reporters and writers with the Olympic News Service for the 2008 Olympics and Paralympics.

An International Programs Major Projects conference, the event begins at 2 p.m. Friday, March 7, in Pappajohn Business Building, Room W401, with a public forum on the Olympics and journalism. Participants include Cynthia Faulkner,; Vicki Michaelis, USA Today; Lynn Zinser, The New York Times; Roger Thurow, Wall Street Journal; Elliott Almond, San Jose Mercury News; Pat Borzi, freelance journalist; Joanne Gerstner, Detroit News; Sandra Harwitt, tennis writer; Bryce Miller, Des Moines Register; Roxanna Scott, USA Today; Jay Weiner, freelance journalist; and Tom Witosky, Des Moines Register. The forum will be moderated by Polumbaum.

Day two of the conference begins at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday, March 8, with a kickoff address by John Erickson, historian and professor emeritus in the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Erickson will present "Putting sports in its place" in Becker Communication Studies Building, Room 101. Erickson's presentation will be followed by a discussion  with Scott, Thurow and Witosky.

Saturday's afternoon and evening events also include sessions on "Historical and contemporary perspectives," "Further observations on sports, media, and Olympics coverage," and "Images of the Olympics." USA Today columnist Christine Brennan will join the proceedings for an evening session.

Friday and Saturday presentations are all open to the public and free of charge. Sunday, March 9, the third and final day of the event, will consist of workshops for the student participants.

For a complete conference schedule, visit For special accommodations, contact Heidi Vekemans, IP events coordinator at 319-335-3862 or

International Programs, the Provost's Office, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Honors Program, Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, Department of Athletics and Daily Iowan are conference sponsors.

UI International Programs enables UI students, faculty, staff and the public to learn from and about the world. Its offices, degree programs and events provide life-changing opportunities on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity, and give all university constituents access to vital international knowledge. For more information, visit or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the UI Office of the Provost.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Kelli Andresen, International Programs, 319-335-2026,