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In an environment where divisive culture wars and partisan politics have sharply divided the way the public engages with news and different forms of media, journalists are challenged to not only engage their audiences but also get them on side.
This panel discussion will explore how trust – or a lack thereof – is reshaping the reporter’s role, and what they can do about it.
- Frank Sesno, Founder of Planet Forward, Author of Ask More, GWU Professor
- Eugenia Harvey, Chief DEI Officer / Executive Producer, WNET
- Edmund Lee, Media Reporter, The New York Times
Aaron Kwittken (he/his/him)
Founder & CEO, PRophet
Aaron Kwittken is founder and CEO of PRophet, an AI-driven PR SaaS platform backed by MDC Ventures. He is also founder and chairman of KWT Global, a highly acclaimed PR and brand strategy firm with offices in New York, London and Los Angeles. A proud George Washington University alum, Aaron serves on GW’s School of Media and Public Affairs advisory committee. He’s president-elect of PRSA-New York and past president of the Americas for the International Communications Consultancy Organization (ICCO); a former Board member of the PR Council; a former adjunct professor at NYU; writes for Forbes and The Drum; and is the creator and host of the popular Brand on Purpose podcast that features companies that do well by doing good. He has deep expertise in marketing technology, brand strategy, reputation management, crisis management and purpose-driven marketing. An endurance sports enthusiast, Aaron puts social impact at the center of everything he does personally and professionally.
Follow Aaron on Twitter: @AKwittken
Follow PRophet on Twitter: @PRophet_PR
Frank Sesno, Founder of Planet Forward, Author of Ask More, GWU Professor
Frank Sesno is an Emmy Award-winning journalist with more than thirty years of experience reporting from around the world. Well known as bureau chief, anchor, White House Correspondent and talk show host on CNN, he is also a nationally renowned moderator who has engaged some of the world’s leading personalities, and he appears regularly on U.S. and international media.
Frank has interviewed heads of state including five U.S. Presidents and many other influential figures such as Benyamin Netanyahu, Condoleezza Rice, Anderson Cooper, Karl Rove, Bill Gates, Walter Cronkite, Hillary Clinton and Colin Powell. He has interviewed Nobel prize-winning scientists, renowned economists, Hollywood celebrities, CEOs, best-selling authors and leaders from a wide range of industries.
He is widely quoted and active across media, appearing on television and radio around the world on CNN, BBC, NPR, CBC, Australian television, Al Jazeera and Chinese Television. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Politico and many others have turned to Frank for his observations and analysis. Frank hosts an annual Chesapeake Bay Summit with Maryland Public Television and recently narrated two feature-length documentaries, The Limits of Hope: Inside Obama’s White House (2016) and My Dear Children (2017), a film about “faith, family and tragedy” resulting from pogroms after the Russian Revolution.
Frank currently serves as Director of Strategic Initiatives at The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, where he also teaches classes on the art of the interview, journalism ethics, documentary and sustainability reporting. He was previously the school’s director for 11 years, leading SMPA’s nearly two dozen world-class faculty.
He created PlanetForward.org, a multi-platform project that brings students and experts together to examine sustainable innovations that “move the planet forward.” The project is headquartered at the School of Media and Public Affairs.
Follow Frank on Twitter: @franksesno
Eugenia Harvey, Chief DEI Officer / Executive Producer, WNET
Eugenia Harvey is the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for The WNET Group.
Harvey is an award-winning producer, showrunner and television executive who joined The WNET Group as executive producer of Chasing the Dream: Poverty & Opportunity in America, a public media initiative providing critical programming on poverty, income inequality and opportunity, and Peril & Promise: The Challenge of Climate Change, a public media project reporting on the human stories of climate change and its potential solutions. Both initiatives have led to numerous partnerships and have inspired content for The WNET Group’s local and national programs and websites, PBS Digital Studios, public radio and digital productions. The Chasing the Dream initiative was nominated for two New York Emmys in 2019 for its Getting Off the Streets series and under Eugenia’s leadership, was nominated for two in 2020 for its series, A Dream Deferred. She continues to oversee these projects.
Prior to joining The WNET Group, Harvey served as an executive producer for Third Rail with OZY. She was also the series producer of the Race Matters: Solutions series for PBS NewsHour with Charlayne Hunter-Gault. Harvey’s previous television work includes various high-profile projects for BET, A&E, ABC News, CBS News and CNN.
Harvey received her Masters of Science in Journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from The University of Georgia.
Follow Eugenia on Twitter: @Eugeniaharvey
Edmund Lee, Corporate Media Reporter, The New York Times
Edmund Lee covers the media industry for The New York Times. He has reported on major changes at news and entertainment companies, including 21st Century Fox, Comcast and The Walt Disney Company, as the industry grapples with challenges from Silicon Valley.
Prior to that, he was the managing editor at Vox Media’s Recode, where he oversaw a group of editors and reporters since 2014. He was part of a team that won a SABEW award for Recode’s coverage of Twitter.
He has also written for Bloomberg Businessweek, Advertising Age, Portfolio magazine and Women’s Wear Daily. He started his career at The Village Voice.
Mr. Lee lives in Brooklyn with his family.
Follow Edmund on Twitter: @edmundlee