WAFB journalist to be featured panelist on LSU forum on First Amendment rights in the digital age

WAFB journalist to be featured panelist on LSU forum on First Amendment rights in the digital age

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - WAFB's Assistant News Director Chris Slaughter will be among the panelists at Thursday night's forum on Resistance in a Digital Age sponsored by the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs and the LSU Office of Diversity.

"Changes in technology and communication practices have raised questions about when efforts to convey political protest are protected, peaceful and safe," university officials said in a written statement. The forum, made up of a panel of activists, scholars, and law enforcement, will discuss the challenges (particularly on First Amendment rights) faced with rapid changes in technology and the introduction of social media.

The event will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 9 in the LSU Journalism Building's Holliday Forum.  Admission is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

"This is an important dialogue considering the ever-evolving communication environment," said Jinx Coleman Broussard, a LSU Manship School of Journalism professor who will be moderating the event. "Social media has created an entirely new landscape for expression."

The panel will consist of:

  • Casey Rayborn Hicks, public information director at the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office;
  • Bruce Hamilton, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana;
  • Sean Illing, Vox journalist, LSU Ph.D. graduate and expert on peaceful resistance theory;
  • DeRay Mckesson, civil rights activist and host of “Pod Save the People”;
  • Chris Slaughter, assistant news director at WAFB TV

"New digital communications provide an excellent opportunity to tell one's story," said Casey Rayborn Hicks, panelist and public information director at the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, "but it is also important to address the challenges that can come from the mass circulation of misleading or unverified information."

DeRay Mckesson, who was arrested along with 100 protesters and three journalists on July 9, 2016, in the wake of the shooting death of Alton Sterling by the Baton Rouge Police Department, will also be a panelist.

"I quickly understood Twitter to be a really powerful organizing tool, and we used it to bring people together, to challenge narratives that were untrue, to push people to think differently," Mckesson said in a statement about the upcoming event. "New technology and social media allow African-Americans to control how their stories are told."

WAFB's Assistant News Director Chris Slaughter was among three journalists arrested while covering protests of the Alton Sterling shooting on July 9, 2016. Slaughter was serving as a field producer assisting reporter Kiran Chawla and news photographer Rick Portier. He has been a journalist covering south Louisiana for over 30 years.

This event is being held to honor the memory of Dustin Howes, a member of the LSU faculty who passed away in January 2017 due to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as ALS. Howes contributed greatly to the discourse on the politics of nonviolence, according to the university.


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