LSU Manship School to Host Journalist John Walcott for Screening and Discussion of 'Shock and Awe'

Sept. 18, 2019

Baton Rouge, LAThe Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication will host a screening of the movie “Shock and Awe” and a discussion led by LSU Reveille editor Caleb Greene about the value of journalism to democracy that features journalist John Walcott. Walcott’s work was featured in his 2017 movie for his investigative reporting on the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

The event is slated for Sept. 25 at 5:30 p.m.

Dubbed by HuffPost as “the reporting team that got Iraq right,” the film tells the story of how the Washington Bureau journalists at Knight Ridder, Inc.—including Walcott—investigated and reported on the Bush Administration's 2003 bombing campaign of Iraq at the start of the war.

Prior to the screening, the Reilly Center will host a discussion with Walcott focused on the key role that journalism plays in democracy. Walcott worked as Washington Bureau Chief for Knight Ridder, Inc. (now McClatchy) in 2003 as he and his colleagues investigated claims that Iraq and its president, Saddam Hussein, possessed weapons of mass destruction. Walcott won acclaim for his newsroom leadership during the span of the team’s investigative reporting. Their reporting revealed evidence the Bush Administration had misled the American public before the U.S. invasion of Iraq with claims that Iraq’s dictator Sadaam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

“Journalism is vital to a healthy democracy. This movie is a brilliant example of how the media pushes for the truth and holds the government accountable,” Jerry Ceppos, former dean of the Manship School and former vice president of news at Knight Ridder, said.

With a career spanning more than three decades, Walcott is an award-winning editor and journalist. He covered national security and foreign affairs for several publications, including U.S. News & World Report, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and Newsweek. Along with CBS News correspondent David C. Martin, he co-authored the book "Best Laid Plans: The Inside Story of America's War on Terrorism."

“It’s important to understand that our objective in questioning the Bush administration’s case for invading Iraq was not to prevent that war. It’s not journalism’s role in a democracy to make policy; it’s to do our best to give people facts they can use to make their own decisions,” Walcott said. “That has never been clearer or more important than it is in today’s online world.”

This event is slated for Sept. 25 at 5:30 p.m. in the Manship School’s Holliday Forum located in the Journalism Building at 144 Field House Drive on the campus of Louisiana State University. Admission is free and open to the public, but seats are limited. Please register by Tuesday, Sept. 24 to reserve your seat.

Parking is available directly across from the Journalism Building in the Indian Mounds lot or behind the Journalism Building at Tiger Stadium.

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LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication ranks among the strongest collegiate communication programs in the country, with its robust emphasis on media and public affairs. It offers undergraduate degrees in public relations, journalism, political communication, digital advertising and pre-law, along with four graduate degree programs: master of mass communication, Ph.D. in media and public affairs, certificate of strategic communication, and dual MMC/law degree. Its public relations students were recently ranked the #1 team in the nation, and its digital advertising and student media teams frequently earn national recognition.