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CNN journalist to speak at ‘fake news’ symposium

Monday, November 13, 2017
CNN senior Vatican analyst John Allen is the keynote speaker at Camsel’s media symposium.

Today, because of the prevalence of what is called “fake news”, the Catholic News, the only local Catholic newspaper has taken the initiative of convening a one-day symposium to deal specifically with the issue.

As part of its 125th Anniversary celebrations the Catholic News, the official communications arm of the Catholic Church in T&T has themed the symposium The Pursuit of Truth in the Age of Fake News on November 18 at St Dominic’s Pastoral Centre, Morne Coco Road, Four Roads, Diego Martin from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm.

One may ask why the symposium? The answer is to do something appropriate and as Fr Cuthbert Alexander, the former Vicar of Communications put it “something that would bear testimony to the contribution the paper has made to the Church and society” for more than a century.

A release said there are several objectives of the session. “It will look back at the work of some of those who contributed to the success of the paper over the years. It will also examine the paper’s response to issues affecting society at particular times,” Fr Alexander said. “It will consider the present media environment and how news organisations might communicate with societies that are continually being shaped by a pervasive social media.

“It will not be a talk shop,” insisted Fr Alexander. “It is an opportunity for considering solutions – or perhaps, better – approaches to the problems that confront us. It will deal with some of the very real challenges that the media and society face.” For participants or those who even study the proceedings afterwards, they will recognise the far-reaching influence of media and the impact of the current technology.

The symposium is not a spur of the moment decision. It took more than a year to be crystallised. There was a lot of talk about how to celebrate the anniversary. This required serious planning and it began with a team brought together by Fr Alexander while he was Vicar of Communications. The team included Bishop Clyde Harvey, Fr Martin Sirju, Dr Terrence Farrell, Helena Allum, Denise Scott, Lucille Nathu, Tracey

Lewis and the new Communications Vicar Fr Robert Christo, who co-chaired the team.

The one-day conference is open, free of charge to all and people wishing to attend can register online by visiting the website pursuitoftruthtt.com or by calling Camsel’s office at 623-6093. It is hoping to reach people in the media, the clergy and religious, students of journalism and sixth-formers.

Keynote speaker is John L Allen, editor of Crux, an independent Catholic news site in partnership with the Knights of Columbus. He has served as senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and later as associate editor of the Boston Globe. He is the senior Vatican analyst for CNN and author of ten books on Vatican and Catholic affairs. Other presentations will be done by Bishop Harvey; Bridget Brereton and Tracey Lewis.

Two panel discussions will be held, the first to be moderated by Andy Johnson and will include Allen, Mark Lyndersay, Lasana Liburd and Sunity Maharaj. While the other will be moderated by Tony Fraser and will include Bishop Harvey, Fr Robert Christo, Tracey Lewis And Mark Lyndersay. The wrap up will be done by economist Dr Terrence Farrell.