Truth & consquences symposium - facts, filter bubbles, and fake news - July 23-28
In this "post-truth" era, how and what should we believe? Join us for an exploration of how information is disseminated and consumed.

Between partisan news, filter bubbles, and pundits-for-hire, media literacy and critical thinking are more important than ever. 

We are pleased to partner with New York Times best-selling author and founder Wendell Potter, the University of Tennessee's College of Communication and Information, School of Information Sciences, and School of Journalism and Electronic Media for a deep dive into the rise of fake news, the truth of search engines, the impact of nonstop breaking news, the decline of critical thinking and what we can do about it. 

Limited seating available. Please register for all events you'd like to attend.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Merchants of Doubt film poster depicting steam stackDocumentary Screening & Discussion:
Merchants of Doubt (PG-13, 2014) - FREE
2:00 at the East Tennessee History Center

A documentary that looks at pundits-for-hire who present themselves as scientific authorities. Directed by Robert Kenner. Moderated by Jesse Fox Mayshark.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Lunch and Learn: East Tennessee in the Headlines - FREE
Noon at East Tennessee History Center

photo of Jack NeelyJack Neely looks back at major events in East Tennessee and how the word got out about each. Pre-order a bag lunch, bring your own, or just drop in and have a listen. 

Opening Reception and VIP Dinner - $35
5:00–7:00 at the East Tennessee History Center

Join us for dinner and an intimate conversation with Wendell Potter. 

An Evening with Wendell Potter at the Historic Bijou - FREE
7:00–9:00 at the Historic Bijou Theatre 

photo of Wendell PotterNew York Times best-selling author, former corporate public relations executive and, once again, a journalist. A Tennesseean by birth who earned University of Tennessee's highest honor of Torchbearer, Potter has covered Congress, the White House and Supreme Court for Scripps-Howard newspapers. After a long career in public relations in the health insurance industry, he had a crisis of conscience in 2008 and blew the whistle on a corrupt industry in his book, Deadly Spin. His latest book is Nation on the Take. He is the founder of

A book signing will follow the presentation.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Symposium Sessions - FREE
8:00–5:00 at the East Tennessee History Center

If you can't make it for a full day, feel free to pop in for individual sessions. Be sure to register as space is limited!

  • 8:00 - Breakfast and Registration
  • 9:00 - Welcome Remarks
  • 9:15 - How We Interact with the Internet & How It Interacts with Us
    Presenter: Diane Kelly, PhD - UT's CCI, School of Information Sciences
  • 10:30 - Evolution of News
    Presenters: Catherine Luther, Lori Amber Roessner, and Nick Geidner, UT's CCI, School of Journalism and Electronic Media
    • Tracing the roots of fake news and alternative facts in American journalism
    • Impact of technology and corporate ownership on the quality of news
    • How the rise of social media and use of big data have affected the spread of fake news

Break for lunch--bring your own or try downtown fare!

  • 1:15 - Fake News, Consumer Information/Profit Driven News and Confirmation Bias
    Presenter: Wendell Potter, NYT best selling author and founder of
  • 2:30 - Pushing the Boundaries of the First Amendment
    Presenter: Scott Barker
  • 3:45 - A Return to Critical Thinking: Solutions - all presenters

Register button

Partners and sponsors

In partnership with Wendell Potter and, UT's College of Communications, School of Journalism and School of Information Sciences, and Friends of the Knox County Public Library. Made possible by the Jane L. Pettway Foundation and the Knox County Public LIbrary Foundation.