The agenda for the series of “Power and Abuse” discussions being presented Sunday on the Harvard campus by the Nieman Foundation, as part of this year’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize, is broken into three Acts. The middle portion, “Power in the Nation,” will include a conversation with filmmaker Laura Poitras and Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward, moderated by New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet.
Ahead of this weekend’s two-day event, which will be framed with Saturday and Sunday night performances by musical Pulitzer winners Wynton Marsalis and John Adams, Woodward spoke to the Harvard Gazette about the state of watchdog journalism, and more. From his Q&A with staff writer Christina Pazzanese:
“There’s a lot of great work in journalism being done. The problem is the message managers in government, business and everywhere — even the message managers/spokespeople in the media — have greater and greater power, so they assert that power by curtailing disclosure, limiting transparency. We know less and less about what really goes on. You have to dig and find people and records and documents, and it takes a long time.”
“I was at a dinner sitting next to Al Gore, the former vice president. This was 10 years ago or so; he was out of office. I asked him how much we know about what goes on that’s of consequence? And he said, “One percent,” and I kind of died. I asked, “Well, suppose you wrote a memoir that told all, what would we know then about what goes on of consequence?” And he said, “Two percent.”
Check out the full agenda here.
Update (Sept. 12):
The Harvard Crimson has posted a nice summary of this weekend’s festivities.