Greenlee Summit to focus on civility

Greenlee Summit

When: Sept. 5-6

Where: Thursday-Memorial Union; Friday - Scheman Building

FYI: Thursday's lecture is free and open to the public. A registration fee of $125 for Friday is due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 23. All attendees except ISU students must register.

With election season in full swing, it's not hard to find conversations on television, social media, radio or newspapers that can turn ugly quickly.

"Every day we wake up with the horrors of what is being said or the crimes being committed. It is important for us to figure out how to treat each other with civility and respect," said Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication director Angela Powers. "Our role as journalists and educators is to practice fair and balanced reporting on these issues, especially in politics and social issues." 

The second annual Greenlee Summit, Sept. 5-6, focuses on communications and civility in our democracy. The two-day event brings together Iowa State faculty and staff with industry professionals, community leaders, alumni and students for discussions on ways to promote civility in our interactions.

Organizers are making a concerted effort to draw people from across campus to the summit.

"With the presidential election and the Iowa caucuses coming up, we thought what better way for Greenlee to tie into this election season than to talk about civility," Powers said.

S.E. Cupp


Communications faculty will take part in civility exercises with their classes ahead of the event. Readings will be shared with students to prompt discussion on the state of civility around the nation and what that means for professional communicators.

"Our hope is that students can couple the readings with what they hear from the experts on our panels at the summit and have valuable discussions in class about how they can do work that is positive and facilitates civil interactions," said Greenlee School assistant professor Kelly Winfrey.

The summit begins at 7 p.m. Sept. 5, with a keynote address by S.E. Cupp in the Memorial Union Great Hall. Cupp is a political commentator on CNN television, culture critic and author. The talk on trust in the media is free and open to the public.

Leslie Gaines-Ross


The discussion continues all day Sept. 6 at the Scheman Building. A $125 registration fee is required (except for ISU students). Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist for Weber Shandwick, a New York City-based public relations firm, will present findings from the "Civility in America" study.

Local, regional and national media and public policy professionals (see list) will be part of breakout sessions that address a range of topics. Panelists will share issues they encounter to help individuals when dealing with incivility, misinformation or distrust. One of the key points will be how to communicate with individuals who hold opposing views.

"We want to create balance in our panelists, so we are trying very hard to be nonpartisan," Powers said. "We don't want people to think we are conservative or liberal, so we are bringing in as many different voices as we can."

The summit concludes with a networking reception.

Breakout sessions

Speakers, panelists and moderators scheduled to appear at the Greenlee Summit:

  • Karla Armendariz, Hispanic marketing consultant
  • David Begnaud, CBS News
  • Lolly Bowean, Chicago Tribune
  • Kevin Cooney, retired anchor KCCI-TV
  • S.E. Cupp, political commentator
  • Aleksander Dardeli, IREX, international nonprofit focusing on education and development
  • Leslie Gaines-Ross, Weber Shandwick
  • Alexander Heffner, PBS television
  • Anne Hillman, freelance journalist
  • Melissa Inman, Meredith Corp.
  • Joseph Jones, Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement, Drake University
  • Chuck Kaiser, Edelman U.S. Public Affairs
  • Jeff Kluever, Robert D. and Billie Ray Center, Drake University
  • Mike McCurry, Center for Public Theology, Wesley Theological Seminary
  • Walker McKusick, Vote Smart
  • Tom Miller, Iowa attorney general
  • Noor Naseer, Centro digital advertising software
  • Dave Price, WHO-TV
  • Sandy Pudar, WGN-TV
  • Scott Raecker, Robert D. and Billie Ray Center, Drake University
  • Travis Ridout, Washington State University and the Wesleyan Media Project
  • Monica Schneider, CLTV and WGN TV
  • Rheya Spigner, KCCI-TV
  • Ian Stinson, Cox Media Group