Pin It

Middlebury College Hosts Discussion: "Terror and the Mass Media" 

Local Matters

MIDDLEBURY -- The explosions erupting across the Middle East may seem far removed from the bucolic Middlebury College campus, but the chaos will come a little closer next Sunday, when the College Summer Language Schools host a "Symposium on Terror and the Mass Media."

The daylong event, which is free and open to the public, aims to foster dialogue between American citizens and students and a host of visiting foreign journalists, scholars and political strategists. Discussion topics include "The Politics of Terror," "Is Terrorism Challenging Press Freedom?" and "Marketing Fear." The presenters -- all lecturing in English -- include the director of research for the office of the French president, and the deputy chief of the International Terrorism Group at the National Counterterrorism Center in Washington.

There are also two Arab speakers in the mix: Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed, a journalist affiliated with Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper, an Arabic international daily, and Dubai-based Al-Arabiyya TV; and Mahmoud Abdalla, director of Middlebury's Arabic School and assistant professor and coordinator of the Arabic program at Wayne State University.

Abdalla, an Egypt native, will open the event with a discussion of the role of Arab media in shaping public opinion. He intends to discuss the linguistic and emotional challenges facing Arab reporters trying to cover war stories fairly. He points out, for example, that Americans are fighting something called the "War on Terror," but American and Arab audiences may not agree on the definition of "terrorism." He stresses that honest, accurate and knowledgeable media coverage is vital. Even one biased article based on misleading stereotypes "may bring Arab-American relations back 10 years."

That applies to Western journalists as well. Abdalla says he'd like to see more of them enrolled in his Arabic language courses. And he'd like to see ordinary Vermonters attend the symposium. "This is a wonderful opportunity for direct, face-to-face contact with a person, flesh and blood, an educated Arab journalist and reporter," he says of Al-Rashed, adding that he hopes participants "can ask what questions they have about the Arab world, or concepts like terrorism and jihad openly and freely."

Symposium on Terror and the Mass Media, Sunday, July 30, 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m., Robert A. Jones House, Middlebury College. Info, 443-5510.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Pin It

More by Cathy Resmer

About The Author

Cathy Resmer

Cathy Resmer

Cathy Resmer is a former staff writer and currently an associate publisher at Seven Days, and is one of the organizers of the Vermont Tech Jam. She's also the Copublisher and Executive Editor of Kids VT, Seven Days' free monthly parenting publication.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Seven Days moderates comments in order to ensure a civil environment. Please treat the comments section as you would a town meeting, dinner party or classroom discussion. In other words, keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

Recent Comments

Social Club

Like Seven Days contests and events? Join the club!

See an example of this newsletter...

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2016 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So Champlain St Ste 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation