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Published: March 20, 2019 Author: Alaina Bartel

Journalists and experts from around the country will be sharing their perspectives on “The Big Story” during the 11th annual Schuneman Symposium on Photojournalism and New Media on March 26 and 27 at Ohio University. 

The symposium, made possible by a generous donation from OHIO alumni Dr. R. Smith Schuneman and Patricia W. Schuneman was designed to help OHIO’s journalism students become more aware of the power of photography and for the photojournalism students to appreciate the written word, according to Dr. Bob Stewart, director of the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism. 

Dr. Stewart said the symposium, which is free and open to the public, also prepared the journalism school and the Ohio University School of Visual Communication to be high-functioning neighbors. 

“The Schunemans were really trying to bring together the photo and the word and what they did in the process, which I’m not sure they specifically meant to do this, but it actually has brought the two schools closer together because of the planning that goes into this event, so that’s been a great benefit,” Dr. Stewart explained. 

This year’s theme, “The Big Story,” will explore reporting about issues that matter — how climate change produces massive wildfires in California and hurricanes destroy entire communities, how Native American land rights are being undermined by energy companies and government authorities, how Robert Mueller’s investigation impacts the Trump administration and more. 

Dr. Stewart said there is a reason for such a broad theme this year. 

“It allowed us to kind of dwell on the stories that people are talking about,” he added.

The symposium is set to run from 10:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26, the first day of the event. Tuesday’s events run into the evening, giving journalists from USA Today the final three sessions to discuss their intensive coverage on President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall. 

Also Tuesday, journalists from the Cincinnati Enquirer will speak about their project, “Seven Days of Heroin,” which won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting. Jeff Widener, a freelance photographer best known for his image of a lone man confronting a column of tanks during the 1989 Tiananmen Square military crackdown in China dubbed “Tank Man,” will also speak on Tuesday, as will Matt Zapotosky, an OHIO alumnus and Washington Post national security reporter.

The symposium is set to run from 9:40 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27, and most of the speakers will discuss climate-related issues. Justin Sullivan from Getty Images will delve into the California Wildfires, Tania Rashia from PBS Newshour will share her work on human rights and women’s issues from Myanmar to Bangladesh, and Angela Massie from The Weather Channel, also an OHIO alumna, will discuss when exactly weather is the big story. 

A full list of speakers, sessions, and times can be found here

“We love having members of the public come; we see this as a great opportunity to contribute to the community and that’s why we love to bring not just students into the conversation but members of the university community and also the town,” Dr. Stewart noted. “I think it’s going to be an amazing symposium. I say that every year because it is.”