2012-2013 Convocation: Voices Unbound: Social Media and the Future of Democracy

Digital archives of convocation speakers are available through the Olin Library.

About the 2012-2013 Theme

Technology has forever changed the way we consume and distribute information.

When a plane landed in the Hudson River, it was a commuter with his iPhone who captured the most compelling photo. When thousands took to the streets in Iran, the #iranelection hashtag on Twitter was the best way to track the chaos. And when friends and family want to share information, they’re more likely to use Facebook than the phone as their tool of choice.

These new media have transformed everyone into a potential content creator and publisher. While this explosion of voices has put more power in the hands of ordinary citizens, it has also drained the resources available to the traditional journalism outlets that have served as the watchdogs of our democracy. Can millions of voices replace those sources? And what shape will our public discourse take as a result of this shift in media?

The 2012-13 theme year, Voices Unbound: Social Media and the Future of Democracy, is devoted to exploring how media and technology are changing the way we communicate and interact, and the implications for journalism and democracy.

This year’s voices include a journalist who was captured in Iran and accused of being a spy, a filmmaker who used social media to fund his documentary efforts, and a noted author who questions what the Internet is doing to our brains.

Throughout the year, local artists, writers, and musicians will share their insights about how their work has evolved and changed in these new media spaces.

In the spirit of the era, the community will have the opportunity to use the new media to connect, create, and participate in the theme year, with a flash-fiction event, a remix contest, and online activities.

Now is the time to think more critically about these vast changes. We must challenge ourselves to consider not just what we’re gaining, but what we might be losing with the unbridled mass of voices made possible by the new media.

Jonathan Groves
Professor of Communication
Theme Year Director

Orientation Convocation
Jonathan Groves

August 19, 2012

This theme year is like no other. That’s because this year is like no other. Technology has forever changed us. And next year, our digital landscape will look entirely different.  Director Jonathan Groves kicks off Convocation 2012 by challenging traditional thinking and inviting everyone to join the digital dialogue. Participants will use new media to connect, create, and contribute.What shape will our future take as a result of this shift in media and technology? Join the conversation.


Opening Convocation: It's the Story
President Todd Parnell

August 23, 2012

While new media venues are escalating all around, it’s the story that really matters. Join Todd Parnell, in his final convocation as president, as he shares vignettes from his first several months at Drury and how those events have impacted his life. He will also show how an experience at Drury equips students with the tools and the voice to speak out and impact the community and the world. This session is the formal launch of the academic year for the freshman class and a Drury tradition.

New World
Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra

September 7, 2012

More than 90 students, professional musicians and enthusiasts merge their talents for this performance of “New World.” Includes selections from Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, Ernest Bloch’s Suite Modale, and selections from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story.

Creative Conversation
Kerri Yost

September 7, 2012

Kerri Yost, film creator and assistant professor at Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., organizes the annual Citizen Jane Film Festival for women filmmakers.

From the Campaign Trail: Online Media and Political Newsmakers
David Catanese

September 13, 2012

Join the conversation about the approaching election and the high-stakes race for the presidency, the U.S. Senate and Congress. David Catanese of POLITICO shares his fascinating experiences on the campaign trail working for an online-only news organization.

Formerly a political and general assignment reporter for local NBC affiliate KYTV, David has covered everything from ice storms to the state legislature to Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign in Iowa. He also established his own highly trafficked blog, KY3 Political Notebook. David earned his master’s degree in journalism from the Medill School at Northwestern University in Chicago, with undergraduate work in communications and political science at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa. He resides in Washington, D.C., but is a proud native of another: Washington, New Jersey.

Founders Day
James Sikenat

September 25, 2012

Among his many accomplishments in the legal field, James R. Silkenat has recently been elected as president-elect of the 400,000-member American Bar Association, the largest voluntary professional organization in the world. In addition, he has served on the Board of Directors of the World Justice Project. WJP is active around the globe fighting for justice as part of its mission to “lead a global, multidisciplinary effort to strengthen the rule of law for the development of communities of opportunity and equity.”
In addition to this work with the ABA and the World Justice Project, Silkenat has also served as legal counsel at the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation. He is a member of both the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Law Institute, which develops model laws for state and national governments.
A 1969 graduate of Drury, he is a partner in Sullivan and Worchester LLC in New York and is the author or editor of 12 books and more than 100 articles on law and public policy.  
In 2000, he received the Outstanding Alumni Award for Career Achievement from Drury University and in 2007 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the ABA Section of International Law. He also received the Diversity Champion Award in 2009 from the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. 
Silkenat will share his experiences working with the American Bar Association and the World Justice Project, making a difference on a global scale.

The World of Networked Individuals
Lee Rainie

October 4, 2012

Lee Rainie shares the latest research findings of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project surrounding how Americans use technology, and how tech users function in a new social operating system of “networked individualism.” You’ll discover how people function in loose-knit networks in today’s world, rather than tight-knit groups or big, hierarchical organizations.

Rainie’s new book, Networked: The New Social Operating System,co-authored with Barry Wellman, looks at the ways broadband, social networking, and mobile connectivity have affected the lives of “networked individuals” and the challenges and pleasures of living connected lives. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan “fact tank” that studies the social impact of the Internet.

“People aren’t hooked on their gadgets. They’re hooked on each other.”

Creative Conversation
Heather Mansfield

October 5, 2012

Heather Mansfield—owner of DIOSA Communications, principal blogger at the Nonprofit Tech 2.0 blog, and author of Social Media for Social Good—helps nonprofits around the world use social media to their advantage.

Creating Sparks: Building Audience Momentum
Erin Swanson

October 25, 2012

Social media is a strong ally in the communication mix when we let it do what it does best: light a spark. Social media consultant and Drury alumna Erin Swanson shares her passion and technique for creating online energy for organizations through integrated campaigns. Learn about her work with Water.org, as well as her strategies for using social media to build momentum for The Way Women Work and SpiderOak.

Erin began her career on the marketing and communications team at Water.org, a global nonprofit dedicated to helping communities get safe water and sanitation. Four years later she founded her own consulting company for social media, marketing and communications where she experienced tremendous growth and success. Erin currently lives in Kansas City, Mo.

Who Are We Online? The Ethical, Religious & Political Futures of Socially-Mediated Selves
Charles Ess

November 1, 2012

Today’s social media are perfectly engineered to foster a self who is focused on “impression management.” Many feel social media are facilitating a turn in our society from an emphasis on the individual toward a selfhood based on relationships and emotions. 

Dr. Ess presents research from both Western and Eastern cultures showing online behaviors in the areas of consumption versus the “prosumer,” plus democratic and antidemocratic processes, and religious responses to Web technologies. These fascinating findings argue that Western selves are generally moving away from democracy and equality, while non-Western selves are moving toward it. 

Dr. Charles Ess has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching and scholarship. Emphasizing cross-cultural perspectives, he has published extensively in information and computing ethics, with collaborations including Digital Media Ethics; Trust and Virtual Worlds: Contemporary Perspectives; The Handbook of Internet Studies and Digital Religion, Social Media and Culture: Perspectives, Practices and Futures.

Creative Conversation
Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman

Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman, co-owners of Red Velvet Art and lifestyle bloggers on A Beautiful Mess, have used social media to connect with audiences and develop their brand well beyond the borders of Springfield.

The Mind in the Net
Nicholas Carr

November 15, 2012

Nicholas Carr examines the growing influence of digital media on the way we think, read and communicate. Placing the Internet in a historical context, he argues that every medium carries an intellectual ethic, which serves to emphasize some ways of thinking and deemphasize others. The Net encourages the fast-paced collection of small bits of information but discourages the kinds of attentive, contemplative habits of mind that are essential to rich conceptual and critical thinking.

Nicholas Carr is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated bestseller, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, and former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review. His writings—including Does IT Matter?: Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage; The Big Switch: Rewiring the World from Edison to Google, as well as numerous articles in The New York Times, Boston Globe and Wired—are highly acclaimed and influential in the business world. Nicholas is also a commentator on CNBC, CNN, and a featured speaker at worldwide forums.

Social Media and Journalism
Andy Carvin

February 7, 2013

Hear the firsthand experiences of an international journalist on the forefront of defining social media usage in news reporting. Andy Carvin helped shape the future of Twitter use among journalists with his extensive tweets during the Iranian elections of 2009 and the Arab Spring. In 2011, he and his Twitter community won a Knight-Batten Award for Innovation in Journalism.

An online community organizer since 1994, Andy is the former director of the Digital Divide Network, a group of educators, activists, and policymakers dedicated to bridging the digital divide. He currently serves as the senior strategist of social media for National Public Radio.

Life As a Blogger
Brian Stelter

February 21, 2013

Nationally-renowned journalist Brian Stelter shares his experiences working across multiple media formats, in both traditional and new media. Achieving success and notoriety while still in college, Brian Stelter gained national notice for his television news blog, TVNewser, dubbed a must-read in the business by NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams. In 2007, The New York Times hired Stelter as a media reporter and columnist for its Media Decoder blog. Today he continues serve as a blogger and columnist for of one of the most storied news organizations in the United States.

He is featured prominently in the documentary Page One: Inside The New York Times, a film that chronicles the media industry’s transformation to nontraditional venues and assesses the high stakes for democracy. He is also working on a book about morning television, tentatively titled Top of the Morning.

Creative Conversation
Bob Linder

March 1, 2013

A photojournalist for more than three decades with the Springfield News-Leader, Bob Linder has witnessed firsthand how technology has changed newsgathering and storytelling.

Creative Conversation
Phil Dickey

April 15, 2015

Alumnus Phil Dickey has traveled the world as the drummer for Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsen, and he also serves as the band’s director of social media.

Theme Day - Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran
Roxana Saberi

April 18, 2013

As a political prisoner trapped in the middle of a dramatic struggle, freelance journalist Roxana Saberi captured the attention of the world when she was imprisoned in Iran and falsely accused of spying for the United States. You’ll hear her fascinating story of being abducted, blindfolded, placed in solitary confinement, and interrogated for hours. Roxana’s battle for freedom would last 100 days and create an international event of public outrage.

During her imprisonment, the Obama administration started a dialogue with Iran. There was speculation that Iranian President Ahmadinejad intervened on Roxana’s behalf as a diplomatic overture. She credits her release to the outpouring of international support, both political and public.

As a journalist, Roxana Saberi’s reports are featured in national and international media, and she has been honored with the Medill Medal of Courage, the Ilaria Alpi Freedom of the Press Award, the NCAA Award of Valor, and a POMED (Project for Middle East Democracy) Award.

Theme Day - Kenya: Until Hope Is Found: New Media, Filmmaking, and Reconciliation
Patrick Mureithi

April 18, 2013

Filmmaker Patrick Mureithi shares the journey to the creation of his latest documentary, Kenya: Until Hope is Found, a film he financed utilizing online crowdfunding.

The film centers on forgiveness and reconciliation in Kenya after the post-election violence that left 1,200 dead and 500,000 homeless. The film features victims and perpetrators of the brutality in Kibera, Kenya's largest slum and the epicenter of the violence. To bring this important film to reality, Patrick raised over $10,000 on Kickstarter, the world’s largest online platform for funding creative projects.

During his tenure as Drury’s Artist in Residence, Patrick also produced, filmed and edited ICYIZERE:hope, a feature-length documentary about a gathering of 10 survivors and 10 perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. “ICYIZERE” (ee-cheez-eh-reh) has been shown on college campuses across the United States, as well as in Brazil, the United Kingdom, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Audio & Video Archives

Todd Parnell '69

August 23, 2012

Listen Now: Todd Parnell (Time: 22:31)

David Catanese

September 13, 2012

Listen Now: David Catanese (Time: 33:38)

James Silkenat '69

September 25, 2012

Listen Now: James Silkenat (Time: 18:34)

Erin Swanson '08

October 25, 2012

Listen Now: Erin Swanson (Time: 27:00)

Due to technical difficulties, the audio quality of this recording is lower than usual

Michael Kimmel

January 24, 2013

Andy Carvin

February 7, 2013

Brian Stelter

February 21, 2013