Panel Discussion and Public Forum: Can Journalism Save Democracy?

Join SOMA Action on Thursday, March 8th at 7:30 for a
Panel Discussion and Public Forum:

Can Journalism Save Democracy?

Congregation Beth El
222 Irvington Avenue, South Orange, NJ

SOMA Action’s Financial Conflicts of Interest and Anti-Corruption Committee is organizing an exciting panel discussion with top-rate journalists on the role of the press in the age of Trump.  The event is free, with a suggested donation of $5.

Topics for discussion include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • The Press and the 2016 elections;
  • Journalists’ view of their profession, and where social media fits in;
  • Polarization in the press and the country;
  • Our role as citizens and consumers of news.

Panel participants (see full bios below):

  • John Cassidy, Staff Writer for The New Yorker;
  • Mary Alice Williams, Anchor of NJTV News; and
  • Tara George, Professor of Communications and Media at Montclair State University.

Mary Mann, Journalist and Co-founder and Editor of the award-winning local on-line news source, The Village Green, will moderate the discussion

Please help spread the word!

About the Panelists:

John Cassidy

Staff Writer, The New Yorker
John Cassidy has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1995.  In 2012, he began writing a daily column about politics and economics on He has covered two Presidential elections, and has written extensively about the Trump Administration. He is also a regular contributor to the New Yorker's political podcast, "Politics and More." He has written many articles for the magazine, on topics ranging from Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke to the intelligence failures before the Iraqi War and the economics of John Maynard Keynes. He is the author of two books: How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities, and Dot.Con: How America Lost its Mind and Money in the Internet Era. Before joining The New Yorker, he worked for The Sunday Times, of London, and the Post. He graduated from Oxford University in 1984 and from the Columbia School of Journalism in 1986. He grew up in Leeds, West Yorkshire, and now resides in Brooklyn.

Mary Alice Williams  
Mary Alice Williams, a highly acclaimed broadcast journalist, is a veteran of CNN and NBC news teams. As one of the primary architects behind the design of CNN, the first worldwide television network, Williams oversaw the construction of CNN’s New York Bureau at the World Trade Center prior to the launch of Cable News Network (CNN) in 1980 and served as the channel’s principal anchor and vice president in charge of the New York Bureau until 1989. She contributed to CNN’s award winning program lineup and played a major role in the network’s development and globalization. She was a critical member of CNN’s political anchor team and oversaw the planning and operation of the network’s second largest bureau with responsibility for seven hours of original programming per day. In 1982, Williams was appointed vice president, becoming one of the highest-ranking female executives in American television.
Williams also anchored Sunday Today for NBC News from 1989-1993 and was a frequent anchor and correspondent for NBC Nightly News, Sunrise and The Today Show. A published author, Williams adapted her weekly interview program for the Hallmark Channel about strategies for overcoming life’s toughest challenges into a book, Quiet Triumphs, published by Harper Collins.
Williams has received 14 honorary doctorates for her outstanding contributions to journalism and television. Born in Minneapolis, she chose to raise her family in New Jersey, where she still resides.

Tara George
Associate Professor of Communication and Media, Montclair State University
Tara George is Associate Professor of Communication and Media, School of Communication and Media.  She has worked as a reporter in Singapore, London, New York and New Jersey. She began her career as a newspaper journalist and has evolved with the times, telling stories across media platforms. Her work has appeared in The New York Daily News, where she was a staff writer, The New York Times, New Jersey Monthly magazine and on NJTV.
She is Head of the Journalism and Television/Digital Media programs. She joined the faculty at Montclair State in Fall 2014 to help develop the new journalism major at the School of Communication and Media. Previously, she was a faculty member of Purchase College, State University of New York, where she spent more than a decade helping to build the journalism program there.  She was educated at Cambridge University in England and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.  George lives in Maplewood.

Mary Mann
Editor, The Village Green of South Orange-Maplewood
Mary Barr Mann was editor of Maplewood Patch from October 2009 through May 2012. She formerly worked at the Springfield Avenue Partnership and for and with other area business and neighborhood economic development agencies (in Red Bank, Philadelphia, Newark, Bloomfield, DUMBO, Long Island City), and was most recently the Deputy Director at Montclair State University’s NJ News Commons and Center for Cooperative Media.