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MacDowell Journalism Panel Examines the Fragility of Facts and Urgency of Art in a Post-Truth Era. Virginia Quarterly Review Editor Paul Reyes will moderate a discussion with prominent journalists Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, Meera Subramanian, Alexis Okeowo, and Jeff Sharlet.
A virtual panel discussion among five award-winning journalists titled “Art and Urgency: Journalism in the Post-Truth Era” took place here on October 26, 2020 at 7 p.m. It examined the importance of solid news reporting and why making art is more important today than ever. The discussion, led by Virginia Quarterly Review Editor and MacDowell board member Paul Reyes, looked into the fragile position of news media at a time when a growing portion of the populace gets its news from suspect sources.
“In a media landscape where facts are pliable, where the news has become a hall of mirrors,” said Reyes, “it’s important to appreciate how literary and narrative journalism—which are at the heart of what MacDowell supports—are able to cut through the noise in order to carve out the truth, offering a visceral clarity to the reading public.”
Reyes was joined by The Fact of a Body author Alex Marzano-Lesnevich; journalist Meera Subramanian, whose book A River Runs Again: India’s Natural World in Crisis from the Barren Cliffs of Rajasthan to the Farmlands of Karnataka, was a finalist for the Orion Book Award; PEN Open Book Award-winner and writer for The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine Alexis Okeowo; and bestseller and Virginia Quarterly Review Editor at Large Jeff Sharlet whose latest book This Brilliant Darkness: A Book of Strangers, is a deep, genre-bending immersion into the lives of everyday citizens.
This was an evening of incisive conversation with MacDowell Fellows who work in investigative and long-form narrative journalism. In this era of the 30-second soundbite and relative truth, in-depth reporting and groundbreaking nonfiction writing are more important than ever.
MacDowell has been supporting journalists for decades, and believes a new model of assistance is needed for journalists who dedicate their lives to telling complex stories that have the power to change our lives and make our society better. The Art of Journalism Initiative at MacDowell is one way we support groundbreaking voices in non-fiction—like those of James Baldwin, Shane Bauer, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Frances FitzGerald, Sheri Fink, William Finnegan, Adrian Nicole Leblanc, and others.
With The Art of Journalism initiative, we are investing $2 million in Fellowships for journalists and long-form non-fiction authors, as well as providing journalism project grants, while helping to link a new network of publishers, non-profit newsrooms, and other key players in the journalism community to MacDowell’s artist community. Get the scoop here .