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The purpose of the Ojai Chautauqua is to engage Ventura County in civil discourse about controversial and highly passionate subjects.

ojai chautauqua 2017June 3rd • 4:30-6:30PM

Politics, Media, and Society

If you didn’t know what Twitter was before the 2016 Presidential Election, you certainly do now. Many of us grew up with three television networks and an evening newspaper. Since then we’ve moved from a time of talk radio and cable television to an era dominated by On-Line and Social Media. What does it mean when each one of us can decide the news we want to hear and the news we can simply ignore? How can we take on the common challenges of our society if we can’t agree on common facts? Is this why Politics is broken?Join some of the smartest minds in media and politics on the changing role of Political News Media and what it means for us.

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dan schnur ojai chautauquaModerator - Dan Schnur
Dan Schnur is a professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communications and at the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley. Schnur is the founder of the USC/LA Times Poll and the former Chairman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. He is an educator and political reformer, striving for government transparency, bipartisan cooperation, and civics education. In addition to his classes at USC and Berkeley, Schnur has taught at Harvard University and George Washington University. Schnur also has worked on four Presidential and three Gubernatorial campaigns, and is a featured commentator in national print and television news. He has a weekly column in the San Francisco Chronicle and can be followed on Twitter @danschnur.

Current Panelists for June 3rd:

bill burton ojai chautauquaBill Burton is the Managing Director of the Los Angeles office of SKDknickerbocker -- a national public affairs agency -- and advises political leaders, corporations and nonprofits in California and across the country. Bill was one of the first hires on President Obama’s first presidential campaign where he was the national press secretary beginning in January 2007. He served in the Obama administration as deputy White House press secretary and special assistant to the president. In that capacity, he traveled extensively, both domestically and internationally, advising the president, briefing reporters both on Air Force One and at the podium in the White House briefing room. During President Obama’s reelection, Bill co-founded and served as senior strategist for the super PAC Priorities USA Action. During the 2006 electoral cycle, in which Democrats won control of the House of Representatives, he worked as then-Congressman Rahm Emanuel’s communications director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In 2016, Bill was listed on the PR Week 40 Under 40 for professionals in public affairs, as well as the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) 40 Under 40 Class of 2016.

ken LaCorte ojai chautauquaKen LaCorte, an 18-year Fox News veteran, is the founder of the Internet news source LCN LaCorte News, a mixture of original journalism and news aggregation, with a stated emphasis on fact not opinion. Ken was Vice President of Fox News Digital from 2006 to 2016. He previously was Director of Fox News Editorial, overseeing editorial content for news reporting, starting in 2003. Ken began his career at Fox News in 1998 as the Bureau Chief of the Western Region, where he was responsible for editorial direction and management of news bureaus in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. During his tenure, in this position, he oversaw coverage of numerous stories including the disappearance of Chandra Levy, the arrest and subsequent trial of Robert Blake, and the environmental series Vanishing Freedom. In 1997, Ken challenged California law by publishing the state's Megan’s Law list. Despite a warning from the California Attorney General, he hand copied the state's high risk sex offenders and published them online. In 2004, California officially published the Megan's Law database on the Internet.

naomi seligman ojai chautauquaNaomi Seligman is Communications Director for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Prior to her appointment in 2015, she founded and ran her own consulting firm and represented clients in both the political and entertainment arenas. In her political work, Naomi has helped end the careers of corrupt members of Congress and rooted out misinformation in the media. She also led The Gun Truth Project, a gun lobby watchdog organization. Naomi directed communications operations for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Media Matters and managed the media campaign behind the defense of outed undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson. In the entertainment field, Naomi has worked with actors and actresses to advance their social advocacy efforts. She created a national advocacy and entertainment campaign for ‘INOCENTE,’ the 2013 Oscar winner for Best Documentary Short at the Academy Awards and has worked with the Global Survivors Network, on publicizing the 2011 Oscar-nominated short documentary ‘Killing in the Name,’ and on the award-winning documentary ‘The Power of Two.’

john thomas ojai chautauquaJohn Thomas is the founder and President of Thomas Partners Strategies, a public affairs and advertising firm working with political campaigns, corporations, ballot measures, non-profits and universities. During the last election cycle, his political advertising work caught the attention of the LA Times, who referred to him as “Billy the Kid of Political Battles.” John is a frequent political commentator and author, representing the Republican Party, in media ranging from local and national radio, to CNN, FOX 11, PBS, and print outlets including Daily Caller, Politico, RollCall, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Campaigns and Elections Magazine. He serves on the boards of Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy and CalWatchdog, which is a leader in California political investigative journalism.

john thomas ojai chautauqua Alice Walton has a leadership role at the public affairs firm Ek, Sunkin, Klink & Bai. For more than a decade, Alice was a reporter covering politics in California -- most recently with the Los Angeles Times, where she helped grow the “Essential California” newsletter to a daily readership of over 200,000 subscribers. Alice began her career as a reporter with City News Service, the largest regional wire service in the country. She covered L.A. city and county politics, court hearings, breaking news and award shows including the Oscars and Golden Globes. In 2010, Alice launched The City Maven, a one-of-the-first digital publication, which focused on the news of Los Angeles City Hall. She later joined 89.3 KPCC public radio as an on-air reporter. She is a board member and past president of the Greater L.A. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

May 6th Panelists - An Unconventional Presidency:

ojai chautauquaClaudia Cowan is the Fox News Channel San Francisco-based correspondent. Cowan covers breaking news such as the Asiana crash at SFO, the reaction to the ruling on Proposition 8, the impact of President Trump’s travel ban, as well as local and state political stories on immigration, deportation, Sanctuary Cities, and the anti-fracking movement. She also covers general news issues such as education, healthcare, science, technology, and the environment. Cowan has covered political candidates and campaigns throughout her career, most recently reporting on then candidate Trump during his 2016 Presidential Campaign. Cowan began her career at FOX News, Los Angeles in 1998 and also has worked for NBC and CBS affiliates in other California media markets.

Henry C. “C.J.” Jackson is a writer and editor for POLITICO, focusing on President Donald Trump and the current administration. He teaches at USC's Annenberg School of Communications and serves as a Dole Fellow at the Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas, his alma mater. Jackson brings more than a decade of covering national politics, campaigns and elections. Prior to POLITICO, he was a national writer for The Associated Press in Washington D.C., and Des Moines, Iowa, and began his career at The Kansas City Star.

ojai chautauquaMike Madrid is a principal at the public affairs firm, GrassrootsLab. An expert on Latino voting trends, Madrid has served as the press secretary for the California Assembly Republican leader and as the political director for the California Republican Party. He was named one of the USA’s most influential Hispanics by Hispanic Business Magazine. A graduate of Georgetown University, Madrid is a regular commentator on Latino political issues in statewide and national media publications.

ojai chautauquaJohanna Maska is a former White House Aide and LA-based Consultant. Maska was Director of Press Advance for President Barack Obama, managing President Obama’s public image on trips for eight years across the United States and to 40 countries including extended tours of Asia, South America, Europe and Africa. She played a key role on both the 2008 and 2012 Presidential elections, starting in Iowa in 2007 and concluding in early 2015. Prior to that Maska worked in politics in Iowa and Kansas. In Los Angeles Maska works with businesses from early stage to publicly traded on international strategic communications, crisis preparedness and growth.

ojai chautauquaSeema Mehta is a political writer for the Los Angeles Times. Mehta covered the 2016, 2012 and 2008 Presidential campaigns, as well as Gubernatorial, Senate and Mayoral races in Los Angeles and across California. She appears weekly on MSNBC and was named one of the top state political reporters by the Washington Post. Mehta contributed to the coverage of devastating wildfires that won the Los Angeles Times the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. She can be followed on Twitter @LATSeema

 

 


Watch the May 6th, 2017 panel on
An Unconventional Presidency - Donald Trump's First 100 Days



Watch the October 8, 2016, panel on the
2016 Presidential Election - Part Two - What Happenes Next?



Watch the September 17, 2016, panel on the
2016 Presidential Election - Part One - How Did We Get Here?



Watch the June 7, 2015, panel on Income Inequality


Watch the April 12, 2015, panel on Immigration


Watch the November 9, 2014, panel on The Future of Fracking



Watch the June 22, 2014, panel on The Future of Water

 

Stay tuned for the 2015 Ojai Chautauqua Season

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