Telling the Truth in a Post-Truth World

A multi-event symposium of topics crucial to an open democratic society

 October 12-14, 2017 at the University at Albany

In a time when “fake news” and “post-truth” have become common phrases, the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany have examined what it really means to tell the truth through a series of events, including movies and discussions, culminating in a two-day seminar on journalism, media and democracy.

The seminar, “Telling the Truth in a Post-Truth World,” was held Oct. 12-14 at the University at Albany. 30 prominent journalists, editors, nonfiction authors, historians and First Amendment scholars engaged in in-depth panel discussions about “matters that are under attack and that are central to a free and open and functioning democratic society,” said Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl.

“My mentor and Writers Institute founder William Kennedy and I had been talking about organizing this symposium since the early days of the presidential campaign, when the terms 'fake news' and 'alternative facts' began to gain traction,” Grondahl said. The seminar recalled the Writers Institute’s 1991 event, “Telling the Truth: A Symposium on the Craft of Nonfiction,” which brought in 35 high-profile nonfiction writers to take a deep dive into the practical and ethical problems of writing nonfiction.

“We felt it was imperative to convene a symposium in 2017 for a deep examination into what constitutes truth in an era that has been dubbed 'post-truth' — selected the international word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries in 2016,” Grondahl said.

From our WMHT-TV partners

Watch video excerpts and interviews with the panelists produced by WMHT Public Media posted on our Facebook page. Join the discussion about changes in journalism and the future of truth.