Dangers to Journalism: A Threat to the First Amendment

Date: October 27, 2023

Time: Noon to 1:15 pm

Event Type: Live/Livestream
Members and Non-Members may attend our forums for free

Venue: Maple Room, Inn at the 5th, Market District
205 E 6th Ave

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Enter the Maple Room at Inn at the 5th near the north stairs to 5th Avenue. Details at An optional lunch may be purchased; please, no outside food. Park in the lot north of the railroad tracks on High or park west of Market Square on 5th.
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A famous quote by the widely respected broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite, once called the most trusted man in America, says it all: “Freedom of the press is not just important to democracy, it is democracy.” There are many attacks on journalists, around the world, in the U.S., and even in Oregon. This program will provide new insights into the dangers to journalists and therefore, threats to democracy.

In addition to an overview by Professor Laufer, Micah Loewinger, of WNYC’s On The Media, will discuss his reporting that led to his being called as a witness in the Oath Keepers trial. Eugene Weekly’s editor, Camilla Mortensen, will tell of the encounters of Oregon journalists and newspapers.

You will not want to miss this important program!


Name: Peter Laufer
Title: Professor, Author, Journalist
Organization: University of Oregon

Peter David Laufer is a journalist, author and professor. Peter Laufer reports on borders, identities and migration along with the relationships of humans to other animals. A former and longtime global correspondent for NBC News, he has covered the requisite wars and earthquakes, coups and elections. His NBC documentary on Americans in prisons overseas received the James Polk Award and his broadcast journalism has won a plethora of other prizes. His books include studies of the Mexican-U.S. frontier crises, the collapse of the Iron Curtain and a natural history quartet that looks at turtles, butterflies, exotic pets and animal abuse. His most recent book is Up Against the Wall: The Case for Opening the Mexican-American Border and he currently is researching and writing O Say Can We See: Two Extraordinary Decades. That work is based on his cross-America trips immediately after 9/11, ten year later and in the midst of the Trump/pandemic era. Laufer talked butterflies on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, traded migration opinions with Bill O’Reilly on Fox TV, lectured passengers about butterflies on the Queen Mary 2, held forth of CSPAN’s “Book TV” about soldiers opposed to the Iraq invasion and headlined at Toronto’s Ideacity conference regarding turtles. Peter Laufer holds the inaugural James Wallace Chair in Journalism at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, where he was awarded the Marshall Prize for teaching innovation. He lives in Eugene, Oregon, and Marin County, California.

Name: Micah Loewinger
Title: Reporter
Organization: WNYC's On the Media

Micah Loewinger is a reporter for WNYC’s On the Media, where he focuses on internet culture, politics, and the far-right. His investigation into Zello, a walkie-talkie app used for recruitment and organizing by militia groups, won the John M. Higgins Award for Best In-Depth/Enterprise Reporting. His piece on a Syrian refugee camp in a Swedish Wild West theme park was a finalist for a Livingston Award for international reporting.

Before stumbling into a job at On the Media (OTM), Micah interned for NPR Music, Radiolab, Soundcheck, WNET’s Great Performances, and Bush Radio in Cape Town, South Africa, the continent’s oldest community-run station. Everything he knows about this medium he learned from the best frickin’ college radio station in the world, WNYU 89.1FM, where he served as Program Director. Catch him as an erratic host of the 60’s-70’s experimental psychedelic radio show, Plastic Tales From the Marshmallow Dimension. Micah likes to cook borscht and scroll through Twitter.

Name: Camilla Mortensen
Title: Editor-in-Chief
Organization: Eugene Weekly

Camilla Mortensen

Camilla Mortensen is the editor-in-chief of Eugene Weekly, where she has worked since 2007. Eugene Weekly is an alternative newspaper, covering all of Lane County as well as statewide issues, and steadfastly printing 32,000 papers a week in addition to its digital reach. Eugene Weekly publishes features, solutions journalism, investigative pieces and arts and culture reporting and is locally, family- and woman-owned.

Camilla started off as an environment reporter. Prior to her career in journalism, she earned a doctorate in comparative literature and a master’s degree in folklore and mythology, and wrote a thesaurus for the Library of Congress. Thanks to her background in academia and love for journalism, Camilla has developed a robust internship program at the Weekly training journalists and sending them to positions around the country. In addition to editing and writing for the paper, she teaches writing and news writing at Lane Community College and journalism courses at the University of Oregon.

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