Date(s) - 09/20/2018
9:00 am - 10:00 am

Sands Regency Hotel

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If you find you are unable to attend the presentation, please

email Patty at We are charged for no-shows.

Please RSVP for this upcoming National Security Forum

“Watchdogs and Attack Dogs: The Confusing State of Journalism in National Security Today”

A Presentation and Discussion With

Dr. Alan Stavitsky

UNR, Dean of the Reynolds School of Journalism

With commentary from
CIA (Ret) and NSF Regular
Rae Huffstutler

Thursday Sep 20th 9a.m. at The Sands Regency Casino

“The four pillars of democracy are Judiciary, Executive, Legislature and Media. This fourth pillar of democracy ensures that all people living in far off areas of country are aware of what’s happening in rest of their country. Media ensures transparency in the working of all the above three systems.” (Ayesha Khalid, Voice of Journalists, 22 December 2016)

Who exactly constitutes the fourth pillar of democracy in the United States in 2018? Is “media” the old stalwarts – NBC, ABC, CBS, Washington Post, New York Times? Or the upstart cable news networks – CNN, MSNBC, FOX – who by the way have been on the air nearly 40 years? What about Al Jazeera America (opened 2013, closed 2016)? Or the network of social networks and on-line news sources – Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Instagram? And then there are Breitbart News, BuzzFeed, Drudge Report, DailyKos? Or even further out there – Infowars or Free Talk Live? When we talk about “the media” or “mainstream media” what do we mean and who do we trust? Do we gravitate to journalism that investigates multiple sides of complex issues and challenges our thinking? Or do we seek comfort in reading or listening to stories or tweets that reaffirm our worldview? Or a bit of both? How do these choices in how we stay informed shape our democracy and contribute to our national security?

The National Security Forum is honored to have Professor Alan Stavitsky, Dean of the School of Journalism at University of Nevada, Reno, to guide us through the dizzy world of modern media, journalism, journalistic values, and its impact on national security. Dr. Stavitsky is a leading voice in the world of journalism pushing the next generation of reporters, news anchors, bloggers, videographers, and investigative journalists to understand the complex world of the fourth pillar of democracy and to keep our country and the world informed, responsibly and truthfully. His insight will help all of us with deep respect for both the free press and national security grapple with the critical role transparency and open communications play in shaping our ideas and ideals.

“There are often legitimate reasons for withholding information and journalists are no different from other citizens in recognizing the need for loyalty to their government when it is acting correctly.” (Walter Pincus, A Hoover Institution Essay, Reflections on Secrecy and the Press from a Life in Journalism, Aegis Paper Series No. 1602)

Complementing Dr. Stavitsky’s presentation, Rae Huffstutler from our NSF community will present perspectives on how the need to protect national security works in an open society committed founded on the principle of freedom of speech. A point – counterpoint format for this NSF presentation will help shape our understanding of what we hear and read about national security and how we can each contribute constructively to supporting the fourth pillar of democratic debate.

Professor Alan Stavitsky, is Dean of the Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism and Center for Advanced Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno and, as a tenured full professor, holds the Fred W. Smith Chair in Journalism at the Reynolds School. His scholarship on media policy and the digital transition in journalism has been published in leading academic journals, and he is author and co-author of books on public broadcasting ethics and history. The Library of Congress named Dean Stavitsky to the position of Distinguished Scholar to its Radio Preservation Task Force. He has served as a consultant to local, national and international public media organizations; advised the Corporation for Public Broadcasting on policies to ensure editorial independence; and testified before the Federal Communications Commission on issues of localism in broadcasting. Stavitsky earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a master’s degree in journalism and a doctorate in communication from The Ohio State University. A native of New Jersey, he worked in broadcast journalism in Wisconsin and Ohio before beginning his career in the academy.

Robert (Rae) Huffstutler, currently lives in Incline Village and serves on the NSF Program Committee. Before moving to paradise, served as the Executive Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Director of Photo Interpretation, and as the Director of Soviet Research at the Agency.

A full breakfast will be served ($20 Members, $30 Non-Members, and $10 for students with ID and military personnel in uniform; free for WWII Veterans). We recommend that you arrive by 8:30 to enjoy some breakfast, coffee, and conversation. Breakfast service and registration open at 8:00 a.m.

Please RSVP below. Membership forms will be available at the forum, though you can also access the application form by clicking HERE. For your convenience, we accept cash, check and credit card payments for both the breakfast and membership fees.


Bookings are closed for this event.