Monday, February 16, 2009

Award Winning Civil Rights Reporter to Speak in Nashville






Howard Witt, the ground-breaking journalist who broke the Jena 6 story in 2006, will speak to the public and student journalists at 1 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 18, in Lipscomb's Shamblin Theatre and again Wednesday evening at 6:30 at Woodmont Hills Church.

The Jena 6 story, involving the trial and public outcry surrounding several African American teens accused of assaulting a white teen, became one of the most significant racial controversies of our decade. Witt was recognized in 2007 as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting for his coverage of civil rights issues.

Witt will speak on "Writing Stories that Change Lives."

Among many stories of international significance, he covered the Lockerbie bombing, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the ouster of Ceausescu, the release of Nelson Mandela and the end of apartheid, the Moscow coups in 1991 and 1993 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Since 2003, Witt has been stationed in Texas. In 2005, he wrote a series documenting the long-term aftereffects of the Oklahoma City bombing on survivors and first responders, as well as a series tracking the resurrection of Antoine's Restaurant, a New Orleans icon crippled by Hurricane Katrina.

He is the Southwest bureau chief of the Chicago Tribune, based in Houston. He joined the paper as a summer intern in 1982 and during his nearly 25 years at the Tribune, has been a national correspondent, foreign correspondent and editor. He left the paper in 1999 and was editor in chief of the Washington City Paper in 2000-01. In late 2001, Witt returned to the Tribune, joining the paper's Washington bureau as chief diplomatic correspondent.

Witt has won the Nieman Foundation's Taylor Award for Fairness in Journalism, the American Judicature Society's Toni House Journalism Award, and the Chicago Bar Association's Herman Kogan Award.

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