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University to host media experts for journalism seminar

Friday, 03 February 2012

The University of Maine at Presque Isle will host three media experts for a journalism seminar entitled Information Overload: How Do You Find the Truth? at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15 in Wieden Auditorium. The public is invited to attend this free evening seminar, which will feature award-winning journalist and documentary film-maker Darrell Dorgan of North Dakota and local media experts Shawn Cunningham of WAGM-TV and Jen Lynds of the Bangor Daily News. This event is sponsored by the Maine Association of Broadcasters and the Maine Press Association.

According to event organizer Dr. Jacqui Lowman, the seminar will focus on the changing media landscape: how people are getting their news nowadays, how that shifts and blurs the lines of what news is, and why this matters to all of us as news consumers.

"People today are overwhelmed by information. Where should you go? Whom can you trust? The idea behind the seminar is to help people come up with solutions that will work for them," Lowman said.

The evening's media experts will discuss the impacts as they see them, why this changing media landscape is good – or bad – for us, and what they think the media are going to look like in the future. The speakers bring with them years of experience in many facets of the news industry.

Darrell Dorgan, who returns to UMPI to serve as a Journalist in Residence, is an award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker from North Dakota. He spent more than 25 years working in the journalism field. His most recent journalism related work was as a producer, anchor and writer for Prairie News Journal – an hour-long news program viewed in three states and two Canadian Provinces. Dorgan writes and produces historical documentaries for television. His newest documentary film is Theodore Roosevelt: A Cowboy's Ride to the White House.

Dorgan is the recipient of more than 50 awards for journalism excellence, including an Emmy nomination in 1992 and a National Associated Press award for Reporting Beyond Reproach. He served as a Distinguished Lecturer at UMPI – as well as its first Journalist in Residence – in 2008 and has a scholarship named after him at the University. In addition to his extensive journalism and filmmaking work, Dorgan recently retired as the Executive Director of the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame after 15 years in the position. He now heads Dorgan Films and Dakom Communications. Most recently, Dorgan was appointed by U.S. President Barack Obama as a member of the American Battle Monuments Commission. Dorgan is a Vietnam Veteran, a member of AMVETS and a life member of the Disabled American Veterans.

Shawn Cunningham is an anchor/reporter for WAGM-TV. She serves as the anchor for the station's 5:30 p.m. newscast, "The First Edition," and as the primetime anchor/producer of "The Late Edition," as well as the station's 10 p.m. newscast "Newsource 8 at Ten." She has received several honors, including a national health journalism fellowship coordinated by the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Health Foundation in 2010, as well as two Aegis Media Awards, three Maine Association of Broadcasters awards, and two Telly Awards. She is a Past President of the Maine Federation of Business and Professional Women and was twice named by the organization Maine Young Career Woman of the Year. She is very involved with several community organizations, including Maine Business and Professional Women's clubs, Momentum Aroostook and the Presque Isle Kiwanis Club.

Jen Lynds is a journalist covering Aroostook County for the Bangor Daily News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Maine at Presque Isle, she holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications with a minor in English/Writing. She wrote for the campus newspaper, the University Times, during her four years at UMPI and served as editor for three years. She also worked as a freelance reporter for the Houlton Pioneer Times during college. After graduation, she spent three years as an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer working to decrease poverty in the state and also worked with homeless youth in Bangor before taking a job with the NEWS. An avid cyclist, she speaks French and Russian and volunteers as a state advocate for the Lupus Foundation of America.

The format for the seminar will provide time for the speakers to give their viewpoints on the issue and then the rest of the time will focus on a discussion with the audience.

The Information Overload seminar serves as an excellent learning/professional development opportunity for all news consumers and especially those who are interested in or are members of the news industry. For more information, contact the Office of Community and Media Relations at 207-768-9452 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..