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National Ethics Conference Focuses on Entertainment Journalism at Ninth Workshop

Posted Sep. 16, 2013

Industry experts will discuss topics such as Privacy vs. Adoration, Access to Celebrities, How to Get a Job in Entertainment Media, Stalking and Paparazzi, and Dealing with Publicity and Press Agents

enter photo description
Mark Avsec, entertainment lawyer and
professor, will keynote the ninth annual
Poynter Kent State University Media Ethics
Workshop on Sept. 19.

Celebrities are followed by the paparazzi, have minimal privacy and are constantly in the public eye, yet they still want and need fans and attention. That attention, in the form of entertainment media ethics, is the focus of this year’s Poynter Kent State University Media Ethics Workshop, “That’s Entertainment?” The ninth annual event will take place at Kent State’s Franklin Hall on Thursday, Sept. 19.

“We picked entertainment ethics because there’s so much entertainment and celebrity journalism available in all media, whether it’s TV, online, magazines or newspapers, including tabloids,” says Jan Leach, workshop organizer and associate professor in Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “There’s so much spin from publicity departments, movie studios and elsewhere. The news is often part truth and part rumor, but consumers may not know how to distinguish between them. There are so many responsibilities for entertainment journalists.”

Additional workshop speakers, in addition to Kelly McBride and Ellyn Angelotti of the Poynter Institute, include:

  • Mark Avsec – Keynote speaker. Entertainment lawyer, professor and former performer and songwriter of the funk-rock band Wild Cherry.
  • Glenn Gamboa – Newsday's chief pop music critic. Gamboa headed the paper's team chronicling the impact of hip-hop in America, a project that was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2005.
  • Nekesa Moody – Entertainment editor for the Associated Press.
  • Andrew Hampp – senior branding correspondent for Billboard Magazine.
  • Todd Mesek – Vice president of marketing and communications for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Mesek is a Kent State School of Journalism and Mass Communication alumnus.
  • Jack Breslin – Associate professor at Iona College in New York. Breslin did publicity for “Late Night With David Letterman” and worked on “America’s Most Wanted” for Fox.
  • Bill Frakes – Photographer for Sports Illustrated
  • Kyle Michael Miller – Social media producer for the fourth hour of NBC’s "Today Show" and Kent State School of Journalism and Mass Communication alumnus.
  • Brittany Moseley – Associate editor of Alternative Press, which is known for breaking news on musical artists like Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fall Out Boy and others. Moseley is also a Kent State School of Journalism and Mass Communication alumna.
  • Matthew Parrish –Attorney with Calfee, Halter and Griswold in Cincinnati and a Kent State political science and Honors College alumnus. Parrish represents musicians, writers, performers and filmmakers and was named “2012 Leading Entertainment Lawyer” in Newsweek magazine.
  • Gene Shelton – Kent State School of Journalism and Mass Communication associate professor and former writer and publicist for Motown Records. Shelton also worked at CBS Records, Columbia and Epic. At Epic, Shelton was Michael Jackson's press agent and wrote the biography for the multi-platinum LP “Off The Wall.” 
  • George Thomas – Sportswriter for the Akron Beacon Journal.
  • Katy Coduto – Kent State journalism student who writes for London-based Hi! Magazine.
  • Wendy Wyatt – Associate professor and chair of the Department of Communication and Journalism at St. Thomas University in Minnesota. Wyatt is the author of The Ethics of Reality TV: A Philosophical Examination (Continuum, 2012).

Topics will include:

  • The New Ethics of Journalism
  • It’s All Make-Believe…Why Ethics in Entertainment Matters 
  • Privacy vs. Adoration: Celebrity News as Journalism? Gossip? Both or Neither?
  • Great Expectations: Who Gets Access to Celebrities and How?
  • So You Want to Walk the Red Carpet? How to Get a Job in Entertainment Media 
  • Act 2: Getting the Story and Vetting the Story: Paparazzi, Stalking, Ambush Interviews, Social Media.
  • Encore: Agents, Publicists, Legal Reps

“Entertainment media ethics should appeal to professionals, educators and students, and the public because so many people are fascinated by and obsessed with celebrity news and information,” Leach says. “Getting that news and information to a wide audience still requires commitment to accuracy, but journalistic commitment can be thwarted by publicists and others who want tight control of a celebrity’s image and schedule.”

The program will draw a national audience through live streaming and mobile devices. In-person attendees and Web viewers can contribute to discussions and ask questions via Twitter, using the hashtag #ksuethics13.

“I hope attendees, in person and those who view online, come away with a better understanding that entertainment media and celebrity journalism are still about telling stories and the foundation of that storytelling is, or should be, the truth,” Leach says. “There are guidelines for sources, celebrities and journalists that should be respected, such as privacy and harm, and issues that should be addressed, such as access and legal rights.”

Detailed information:
What: Ninth annual Poynter Kent State Media Ethics Workshop, “That’s Entertainment?” focuses on entertainment ethics
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 19
Where: FirstEnergy Auditorium in Franklin Hall, 550 Hilltop Drive, Kent State University
Cost: $25 for media and public relations professionals, $20 for educators and FREE for students
Event website for details and registration:  http://mediaethics.jmc.kent.edu/2013
Twitter: #ksuethics2013
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ksumediaethics
Questions: Contact Jan Leach, 330-672-4289 or jleach1@kent.edu

The Poynter Kent State Media Ethics Workshop is sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Akron Beacon Journal, the Akron Area Chapter of Public Relations Society of America, Kent State University, the College of Communication and Information, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and TeleProductions.