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The State of the Media and the Future of the Free Press


Join Senator Maggie Hassan for a panel discussion on the current state of media and the future of the free press. This briefing will explore a range of topics including the current state of media, disinformation, “fake news,” and threats to the free press.

The discussion will take place Wednesday, June 20th at 1:30 pm in the Kennedy Caucus Room (Russell 325).

Led by moderator Sonya Gavanker, our panelists will explore a variety of topics as they relate to journalism and the media. Additional panelists will be announced.

Moderator: Sonya Gavanker, Director of Public Relations, the Newseum

With an extensive background in the field of communications, Sonya Gavankar has recently worked to bring a cohesive voice to one of D.C’s newest museums, the Newseum. Gavanker has worked as an expert communicator throughout her time as a spokesperson, television and podcast host, filmmaker, and multi-media content creator. 

Alison Bethel McKenzie, Executive Director, Society of Professional Journalists

Bethel McKenzie has more than 35 years of experience as an award-winning reporter, bureau chief, senior editor, and media trainer. She has worked in senior-level positions at The Boston Globe, The Detroit News, Legal Times, and as managing director at the Nassau Guardian in The Bahamas. She currently writes a weekly lifestyle column for the South Florida Times, is a co-founder and vice president of the board of directors for the Media Institute of the Caribbean, and acts as an advisor/consultant for, a news website based in Barbados.

Kate Nocera, DC Bureau Chief, Buzzfeed

Kate Nocera is the DC Bureau Chief for BuzzFeed’s Washington, DC bureau. Nocera is a recipient of the National Press Foundation's 2014 Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting on Congress.

Amy Mitchell, Director of Journalism Research, Pew Research Center

Amy Mitchell has been Director of Journalism Research at Pew Research Center for more than five years. An expert in research design and analysis, Mitchell specializes in how technology is changing the flow of news and information, how the public accesses and engages with news, and the influence of political identity on news choices. Mitchell speaks frequently to national and international audiences, including government leaders, news and information providers, technology companies and fellow researchers.

David Lougee, President and Chief Executive Officer, TEGNA Inc.

TEGNA Inc. is one of the most geographically diverse broadcasters in the U.S., operating 46 broadcast television stations in 38 markets across the country. Prior to becoming TEGNA’s President and CEO, David Lougee spent 10 years as President of TEGNA Media. Lougee serves as chairman of the NBC Affiliates Board, and is the immediate past joint chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). He is also on the Board of Directors for BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.), as well as for the Broadcasters Foundation of America, and he is a past chair of the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) Board of Directors.