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  • NYS Writers Institute

Telling the Truth 2020: David Pietrusza, Carolyn McLaughlin, José E. Cruz

Welcome to Day 8 of Telling the Truth 2020, the New York State Writers Institute's virtual symposium on politics, tribalism, polarization, and the future of democracy.

For today's featured event, NYS Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl talks with David Pietrusza, Carolyn McLaughlin, and José E. Cruz

Award-winning historian David Pietrusza has been called "the undisputed champion of chronicling American Presidential campaigns.” His books include studies of the 1920, 1932, 1948, and 1960 presidential elections and biographies of Theodore Roosevelt (Independent Publisher Book Awards Silver Medal, US History), gambler Arnold Rothstein (Edgar Award finalist) and Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis (Casey Award winner). 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents by David Pietrusza. Purchase the book. Honorable Carolyn McLaughlin has 29 years of experience in public service, preceded by 10 years as a research chemist in the areas of cosmetics development and nuclear weapons research. As a member of the Black Women’s Association of Albany (BWAA), she is involved in numerous activities designed to promote the educational development of girls, including serving as vice–president and as a member of the Scholarship Committee. The BWAA annually awards scholarships to female high school graduates of the Capital Region. Professor José E. Cruz, in addition to his affiliation with the Political Science Department at Rockefeller College, has a joint appointment in the Department of Latin American, U.S. Latino, and Caribbean Studies (LACS) at the College of Arts and Sciences. His research is about Latino political participation in the Northeast, focusing on Puerto Ricans, and the role and impact of ethnicity in the political process.

Liberalism and Identity Politics: Puerto Rican Community Organizations and Collective Action in New York City by José E. Cruz Purchase the book.


“It’s our hope that Telling the Truth 2020 will be a force for good and will provide a public service by bringing together experts with a wide range of perspective. We want these events to be conversations of healing, of finding common ground, and of listening respectfully to viewpoints different than our own. We hope this weeklong symposium will build bridges of empathy rather than erecting more walls of fear and hatred.”

-- Paul Grondahl, Director of the NYS Writers Institute.

All events are free and open to the public. No registration required.

Events will be available at ​Videos will premiere at 11 a.m. and can be viewed at your convenience at any time following their launch. Many of the conversations were recorded before Election Day. More at at

Telling the Truth 2020 is the Writers Institute’s third major event of the fall season, following the Albany Book Festival in September and the Time for Reckoning Symposium in October. It is also the third time the Institute has turned its attention to issues of truth-telling, journalism, and ethics. A three-day Telling the Truth in a Post-Truth World event was held in 2017 and Telling the Truth: A Symposium on the Craft of Nonfiction took place in 1991.

Telling the Truth 2020 is presented by the New York State Writers Institute with special thanks to The Maguire Family Endowment at the NYSWI, The Opalka Family Endowment, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy at the University at Albany, The University at Albany Foundation, and WAMC Northeast Public Radio.


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