Communications Ethics Events and Resources

The Bellisario College of Communications has a rich tradition of fostering integrity and a commitment to ethics and social responsibility. As part of its strategic plan, the College seeks to build upon that tradition. It does so through a fostering of these values among its faculty—through the promotion of ethical inquiry and a concern for the ethical impact of research and creative endeavors. Likewise, it fosters these values among its students—through active engagement with relevant courses and course work and through a pledge and active commitment to the College’s Honor Code.

As part of our effort to promote integrity, ethics and social responsibility, the Bellisario College of Communications hosts an ongoing series of communication ethics events. Please visit this page throughout the year to check for regular updates.

Spring 2017

Martin Baron, editor of Washington Post

March 21, 2017
7 p.m.
Freedman Auditorium (HUB)

The executive editor of one of the top national newspapers, who has been involved with an array of Pulitzer Prize-winning work, is set to present the Oweida Lecture in Journalism Ethics at 7 p.m. March 21 in the HUB-Robeson Center’s Freeman Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public

Big Science, Politics and the Press

April 4, 2017 
5:30 pm
Foster Auditorium, Paterno Library

Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Hiltzik, will present a free public lecture titled "Big Science, Politics and the Press." A Los Angeles Times business columnist, Hiltzik is the author of "Big Science -- Ernest Lawrence and the Invention That Launched the Military-Industrial Complex." His presentation and campus visit is sponsored by the Norman Eberly Professsorship.

The Armor of Light

April 11
6 p.m.
WPSU Studios

Free public event, a screening and panel discussion moderated by Matt Jordan as part of yearlong Talking Together About Guns initiative. The film documents the journey of an evangelical minister trying to find the moral strength to preach about the growing toll of gun violence in America. 

Capitalist Kermit and his chubby cousin

April 12, 2017
4:30 p.m.
Foster Auditorium, Paterno Library

A cultural history scholar will discuss how feelings toward American culture changed in several European countries in the 1970s with the advent of Sesame Street on children’s television. Helle Strandgaard Jensen, an assistant professor of contemporary cultural history at Aarhus University in Denmark, will present “Capitalist Kermit and his Chubby Cousin: Sesame Street and the 1970s Transatlantic Battle for Children’s TV." The lecture is presented by the Department of History, the University Libraries, and the College of Communications Pockrass Lectureship at Penn State.

The media politics of Colombia's transition toward peace

April 19, 2017
3 p.m.
Kern Auditorium

A free public lecture focusing on the road ahead for Colombia after the Nov. 29, 2016, peace accord between Columbia's Congress and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), an armed insurgency the government has been fighting since 1964. Lecture by Jose Antequera Guzman, an award-winning activist, author and lawyer. His owrk on human rights and historical memory in Colombia has been highly acclaimed.

Other Events

For other ethics-related events across the University, please visit the Rock Ethics Institute events page.

Please submit communications ethics-related events to the Page Center's communications strategist Jonathan McVerry ( and Yael Warshel (, assistant professor of journalism and telecommunications.

Past Events


The 2016 campaign: Is it the media’s fault?

Brooke Gladstone, host and managing editor of NPR's "On the Media"
Sept. 26, 2016
5 p.m.
Hintz Family Alumni Center

Free public lecture by Brooke Gladstone, host and managing editor of NPR's "On the Media," which has won numerous awards, including the Bart Richards Award for Media Criticism presented by the College of Communications at Penn State. Gladstone will discuss the current election cycle and the media's role and impact in what's happening with the campaign. She is the recipient of two Peabody Awards, a National Press Club Award and an Overseas Press Club Award. Her visit is sponsored by the McCourtney Institute for Democracy.

Pulitzer Prize panel

Panel: Jacqueline Larma, Associated Press East Coast photo chief; Bill Marimow, editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer; and Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman of the Philadelphia Daily News
Sept. 27, 2016
7 p.m.
Schwab Auditorium

In observance of the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prizes, the Department of Journalism presents a panel discussion featuring Pulizer Prize winners with Pennsylvania connections. Panelists are: Jacqueline Larma, Associated Press East Coast photo chief who was part of a photo team that won a Pulitzer in 1995; Bill Marimow, editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, who won a Pulitzer for investigative reporting in 1985; and Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman of the Philadelphia Daily News, who won a Pulitzer for investigative reporting in 2010.

Foster-Foreman Conference of Distinguished Writers Series

Keynote: Kevin Merida, editor of The Undefeated
Oct. 19, 2016
7 p.m.
Schwab Auditorium 

Free public session with Kevin Merida, editor of The Undefeated, ESPN's website reporting on issues of sports and race. Merida previously served as managing editor of The Washington Post. He had worked at the Post since 1993 and a series he edited became the book "Being a Black Man: At the Corner of Progress and Peril." He also coauthored a biography of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Foster-Foreman Conference of Distinguished Writers Series

Elisabeth Rosenthal, editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News
Oct. 20, 2016
10:35 a.m.
Freeman Auditorium, HUB-Robeson Center

This free public lecture will feature Elisabeth Rosenthal, editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News. She previously worked 22 years for The New York Times covering medical issues and authoring an acclaimed crowd-sourced series about the high costs of medical care in the United States.

Oscar-award winning film 'Spotlight'

Oct. 25, 2016
7 p.m.
State Theatre, downtown State College

Screening of Academy Award-winning "Spotlight," followed by a question-and-answer session including Penn State alumnus Tom Ortenberg, an executive producer for the film and CEO of Open Road Films.

The Role of Ethics in Sports

Joel Litvin, former president of league operations for the NBA
Oct. 26, 2016
7 p.m.
Sutliff Auditorium, Lewis Katz Building

Joel Litvin, former president, league operations, for the NBA, will draw on his experience as a lawyer and his 27-year career in the league office for a discussion on sports ethics. The event is sponsored by the Penn State Roundtable on Sports and Society, which includes the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism in the College of Communications. The is free and open to the public.

Lecture by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Carol Guzy

Nov. 1, 2016
7 p.m.
Freeman Auditorium, HUB-Robeson Center

Carol Guzy, a four-time Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist for the Washington Post and native of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, will be speaking abour her career and her craft. Her presentation is organized by the Department of Journalism and sponsored by Nikon.

Big Data, Ethics and Philosophy

A Harold K. Schilling Memorial Lecture
Daniel Susser, assistant professor of philosophy at San Jose State University
Nov. 10, 2016
3:30 p.m.
Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library

A trend has emerged in discussions about privacy, surveillance, and the ethics of big data, wherein a distinction is made between the collection of information about people and the uses to which that information is put. The idea is that the cat is already out of the bag, so to speak, with regard to collection: an incredible amount of information is collected about each of us by a large and rapidly growing number of parties for a wide variety of reasons, both good and bad, and there is no stopping it.

Arthur W. Page Spring 2016 Professional-in-Residence

Jennifer Stapper, chief of communications for the United Nations Volunteers
Keynote presentation: Feb. 3, 2016
7 p.m.
HUB-Robeson Center - HUB Auditorium

Through a generous donation from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Arthur W. Page Center has established the Arthur W. Page Center Professional-in-Residence Lecture Series that attracts and hosts top communication professionals to the Penn State Campus. Professionals spend one week during a semester speaking to communication classes, meeting with faculty, delivering a keynote address, and networking with others on campus.

Penn State Research in Africa: Building Synergy Within Community

The Alliance for Education, Science, Engineering and Development in Africa and the University Office of Global Programs

Yael Warshel, assistant professor of journalism-telecommunications
Feb. 22, 2016
3 - 5 p.m.
Millennium Science Complex - Cafe Commons (Third floor)

Yael Warshel will present on the topic of "Becoming Moroccan and/or Saharawi?: Children's Co-Constructions of Citizenship."

Journalism Ethics

N. N. Oweida Lecture in Journalism Ethics

David Folkenflik, NPR media correspondent
March 16, 2016
7 p.m.
Kern Auditorium

A free public lecture and question-and-answer session by David Folkenflik, an NPR media correspondent based in New York City. His stories are broadcast on NPR's newsmagazines and shows, including "All Things Considered," "Morning Edition" and "Talk of the Nation." The endowed annual Dr. N.N. Oweida Lecture in Journalism Ethics focuses on journalism ethics. Previous lectures focused on theoretical and practical challenges facing journalists every day.

Gazan Refugee Children's Media Uses: Implications for Establishing a Children, Youth, Media and Conflict Zone Lab at Penn State

The Rock Ethics Institute

Yael Warshel, assistant professor of journalism-telecommunications
March 24, 2016
Noon - 1 p.m.
133 Sparks Building

Responding to research about children and media that has emphasized an analysis of the effects or interpretation by children living in peace zones of fictive violence, nascent literature about children, media and conflict, has instead emphasized an analysis of the effects or interpretation by children living in peace zones of non-fiction violence, or news. In this brownbag, Yael Warshel will discuss alternative conceptions for the analysis of children, media and conflict based on research she conducted with Palestinian children. That research is discussed in the article made available for this talk, “It’s All about Tom and Jerry, Amr Khalid and Iqra, Not Hamas’s Mickey Mouse: Palestinian Children’s Cultural Practices Around the Television Set”. Warshel describes Palestinian family television viewing dynamics, including how parents of children living in Gazan refugee camps attempted to “use” media (regardless of their contents) as mediating artifacts to manage the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They did so in an effort to safely divert their children’s leisure practices into the home (attempting to navigate them away from becoming victims of centralized Israeli violence on the one hand, and learning “bad” habits from youth mobilizing in the camps to perpetrate networked Palestinian violence, on the other hand). Warshel uses the theoretical and methodological frameworks she discusses in the article as a basis for which to introduce the concept of a globally-focused transdisciplinary initiative about Children, Youth, and Media in Conflict Zones at Penn State. She will conclude by referencing her continued use of these frameworks in the research she conducts across the North and West African Sahara.

RSVP required via Rock Ethics Institute:

What Do You Stand For? And, Does it Really Matter?

Don Davis Lecture in Advertising Ethics

Pamela Divinsky, founder of the consulting firm The Divinsky Group
April 5, 2016
7:30 p.m.
Freeman Auditorium (HUB Robeson Center)

Free public lecture by Pamela Divinsky whose company works with organizations to define what they stand for and develops "stand strategies" that strengthen their business, fortify their reputational equity, cultivate loyalty and ambassadorship, and drive material social impact. The event is conducted under the auspices of the Davis Symposium in Advertising Ethics, conducted annually by the Department of Advertising/Public Relations at Penn State.

Fair Play in Sports News

The Ben Bronstein Lecture in Ethics and Public Relations

Lester Munson, ESPN senior writer and legal analyst
Jennifer Ridgley, senior director of communications for the Pittsburgh Penguins
Nov. 18, 2015
7 p.m.
Freeman Auditorium, HUB-Robeson Center

A panel discussion and question-and-answer session focusing on the cultural shift in sports ethics and how communications professionals (sports communicators and journalists) should respond. The endowed annual Ben Bronstein Lecture in Ethics and Public Relations, is free and open to the public. Featured guests are Lester Munson, senior writer and legal analyst for ESPN and an adjunct instructor at Northwestern University, and alumna Jennifer Bullano Ridgley  ('03 Ad/PR), senior director of communications for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Film: 'The Line'

Nov. 18, 2015
7 p.m.
State Theatre

As part of Women’s Day of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Ms. Shwartzman visits Penn State to screen her film on date rape and discuss her work with Circle of 6 a mobile app cited as a stand-out tool to prevent violence by harnessing mobile technology to strengthen community and encourage bystander intervention. In January 2014, the White House highlighted the film, The Line, and Circle of 6 at the White House Council on Women and Girls call to action to outline best practices for prevention of violence on college campuses. Since then, the app and film have garnered attention and forged relationships with campuses across the country to educate and empower young leaders to create a world without sexual violence.

Arthur W. Page Fall 2015 Professional-in-Residence

Lewis Goldstein, VP of marketing & branding at Organic Valley
Keynote presentation: Dec. 1, 2015
7 p.m.
HUB-Robeson Center - Alumni Hall

Goldstein will speak about the challenges of promoting organic foods as a form of sustainable consumption, issues related to ethics in labeling, and GMO information on packaging. He will also focus on the Organic Valley brand and highlight a recent communication campaign, "Save the Bros."