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For Immediate Release

August 30, 2006

New Alfred O. Gray Freedom of Expression Fund Sponsors
Sept. 15 Constitution Day Lecture at Whitworth

In celebration of Constitution Day 2006, the Whitworth Communication Studies Department will inaugurate its newly established Alfred O. Gray Freedom of Expression Fund by bringing David Mindich, Ph.D., to campus to present a Sept. 15 lecture.

Mindich, a former CNN assignment editor and current professor of journalism and mass communication at St. Michael's College, in Colchester, Vt., will present "Tuning Out and Dropping Out: How Disengagement Challenges our Democracy and Weakens Constitutional Protections," on Friday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. in Weyerhaeuser Hall's Robinson Teaching Theatre at Whitworth. Admission is free. For more information, please call (509) 777-3707.

Constitution Day is a federally recognized national celebration of the signing of the United States' government's founding document. The U.S. Constitution was signed on Sept. 17, 1787, by the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention, in Philadelphia, Pa.

The Alfred O. Gray Freedom of Expression Fund was established by the Whitworth Communication Studies Department to promote the understanding and appreciation of freedom of expression. Whitworth alumni and friends of the communication studies department contributed to the fund, which will bring a distinguished scholar to campus each year to address issues and challenges related to freedom of expression.

The fund is named after the late Al Gray, Whitworth's first professor of journalism, who served the college faithfully for 34 years, from 1946 until his retirement in 1980. During Gray's tenure at Whitworth, students benefited from his championing of free expression and advocacy of the role of the college's newspaper, The Whitworthian, as a student voice on campus. Gray served as adviser for The Whitworthian, for which he received national recognition in 1979 when he was named "Adviser of the Year."

David Mindich holds a doctorate in American Studies from New York University. He is the author of Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don't Follow the News (Oxford University Press, 2005), which journalist Walter Cronkite called "very important....a handbook for the desperately needed attempt to inspire in the young generation a curiosity that generates the news habit." Mindich is also the author of Just the Facts: How "Objectivity" Came to Define American Journalism (New York University Press, 1998).

Since the publication of Tuned Out, Mindich has given talks about young people and news to media groups, including The New York Times and USA Today, and at schools across the country. Mindich has also written articles for The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wilson Quarterly, and other publications.

In 1994 Mindich founded Jhistory, an award-winning online listserv dedicated to the discussion of journalism history. He served as head of the history division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in 1998-99. In 2002, the AEJMC awarded Mindich the Krieghbaum Under-40 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research, Teaching and Public Service.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Whitworth, which has an enrollment of 2,500 students, offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Jennifer Toulouse-Lee, communication studies program assistant, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3707 or jtoulouse-lee@whitworth.edu.

Mike Ingram, professor of communication studies and associate dean for faculty development and scholarship, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4428 or mingram@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information officer, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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