David Folkenflik, an acclaimed media correspondent with National Public Radio (NPR), will be the Ayers Lecture Series speaker at Jacksonville State University on Thursday, March 13, 2014. He will lecture on the 11th floor of the Houston Cole Library at 1 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.
Folkenflik will join an elite group of former speakers, including Pulitzer Prize Winners Rick Bragg, Doug Marlette, Diane McWhorter and Connie Schultz, NPR Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jackie Northam, Anniston Star Chairman and Publisher H. Brandt Ayers, and New York Times Chairman and Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., to name a few. The Ayers Lecture series dates back to 1988 and began as a collaboration between the Anniston Star and JSU. It is hosted by the JSU Communication Department. The event is named in honor of Harry M. and Edel Y. Ayers, past publishers of The Anniston Star. The Ayers Lecture serves as a tribute to their living story of communication in Northeast Alabama.
Folkenflik is well known for his coverage of a broad array of issues-from the war in Afghanistan, to the financial crisis, to the spellbinding saga of the “Balloon Boy.” He also provides media criticism on the air and at NPR.org. Reports by Folkenflik, heard on NPR news magazine shows that include All Things Considered the Morning Edition and Talk of the Nation, provide great insight into the operation of the media during a time of momentous shifts in the industry and shed light on people who help change the way the news business operates.
In the recent reports, Folkenflik addressed a new biography that argues Fox News chief Roger Ailes uses the network to divide the nation; how NBC will cover gay issues during the Sochi Olympics; and the use of articles called “native advertising” that are written by people working for news outlets. He is the author of, Murdoch’s World: The Last of the Old Media Empires-about Rupert Murdoch. Folkenflik uncovered how the corporate owner of GQ sought to conceal distribution of its provocative story about Russian Premier Vladimir Putin and his listeners were the first to hear of it. With the ongoing sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, NPR listeners found out how a small, liberal Catholic weekly newspaper in Kansas City had been documenting allegations of abuse by priests for ten years.
Folkenflik spent more than a decade at the Baltimore Sun before joining NPR in 2004, where he covered higher education, Congress and the media. He began his career at the Durham (N.C.) Herald-Sun. Folkenflik graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from Cornell University, where he was editor-in-chief of The Cornell Daily Sun.
Folkenflik is a three-time recipient of the Arthur Rowse Awards for Press Criticism from the National Press Club. He won the inaugural 2002 Mongerson Award for Investigative Reporting on the News. His work has also been recognized with top honors from the National Headliners Club and the Society of Professional Journalists. He was the first to receive the Irik Sevin Visiting Fellow at Cornell and speaks frequently at colleges across the country. He has served as a media analyst on television programs such as CNN’S Reliable Sources, ABC News’ Nightline, Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor and MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
Photo: David Folkenflik (courtesy)