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Exploring the Truth: In News, In Literature, In Life

Fake News: What’s the Real Story?

Monday, March 12, 7:00 – 8:30 PM

The wave of 'fake news' that flooded Facebook and other social media during last year's election campaign was a wakeup call. Big changes have overtaken the way we get news in the United States, how newsmakers communicate and how news is produced. These changes have given us the opportunity to be better informed. They also require us to be more careful consumers, so we can recognize distortion, propaganda, and outright lies.
Join a non-partisan discussion with White House press veteran Randall Mikkelsen, a managing editor at Thomson Reuters, on how to understand what we are getting in the social-media driven news landscape and how to tell the real from the fake.
Randall Mikkelsen has worked as a financial and political journalist with Thomson Reuters since he joined Reuters in 1988. He has covered many of the major stories of the era, including the fall of the Soviet Union, the impeachment of Bill Clinton, the war on terrorism and the financial crisis. Randall was a front-row member of the White House Press Corps for nearly seven years. He also covered the Justice Department, CIA, and other agencies in Washington and served postings in Philadelphia and Stockholm, Sweden. As a desk editor in Washington, he handled major stories from around the globe. He has won awards from the Society of American Business Editors, and Writers and the North Dakota Newspaper Association.


Lessons from Sixteen Years Painting the ‘Americans Who Tell the Truth’ Portraits

Tuesday, March 20, 7:00 – 8:30 PM

Artist Robert Shetterly, renowned for his portrait series 'Americans Who Tell the Truth,' will speak and have several of his portraits on display at this very special event.  Shetterly started painting portraits of strong American idealists after the 9/11 attacks, believing that painting portraits of these inspiring figures would help him deal with his grief and anger.  Today, the collection is more than  230 portraits, which has been exhibited around the United States and Europe in museums, schools, and churches, even sandwich shops and the Superior Court in San Francisco.  The collection includes portraits of Eleanor Roosevelt, Henry David Thoreau, Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Ellsberg, Pete Seeger, Rachel Carson, and Pete Seeger just to name a few.  In 2005, Dutton published a book of the portraits by the same name.  In 2006, the book won the top award of the International Reading Association for Intermediate non-fiction.
Of the project, Shetterly said, 'My original goal was to paint 50 portraits.  I've gone beyond that and have decided to paint many more.  The more I learned about American history--past and present--the more people I've discovered whom I want to honor in this way.  The paintings will not be for sale.  They will stay together as a group.  The courage of these individuals needs to remain a part of a great tradition, a united effort in respect for the truth...These people form the well from which we must draw our future.'
Shetterly studied English literature at Harvard. While there, he took a couple of drawing courses that changed the direction of his creative life from the written word to the image.  For 12 years he did the editorial page drawings for the Maine Times newspaper, illustrated National Audubon's children's newspaper Audubon Adventures, and over 30 books.   


Television: The Art and Ethics of Manipulation

Thursday, March 22, 7:00 – 8:30 PM

In this New Hampshire Humanities funded event, presenter John Gfroerer explores the power of television as a communication medium and the ethical implications of manipulating the viewer by means of the choices made behind the camera through the final editing process. By examining the artistic techniques used to persuade, induce, and entice us, Gfroerer considers the extent to which television teaches or simply tantalizes us. Are ethical boundaries crossed by the use of these techniques, and to what extent as media consumers should we care?
John Gfroerer is a documentary producer and owner of Accompany, a video production company based at the Capital Center for the Arts in Concord. He has produced over 40 documentaries, ranging from profiles of towns along the Maine Coast to a history of the New Hampshire Presidential Primary. Gfroerer's work has been aired on public television stations, the History Channel, and many other venues.