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Brown Daily Herald to host first student-organized commencement forum

The Brown Daily Herald will host a commencement forum entitled “The Digital Future of News Media” May 25 at 12:30 p.m. in List Art Center 120. The forum will feature panelists David Rohde '90, Jonathan Ellis '06 and Maha Atal '08 in a discussion of trends shaping the news media industry, and will be moderated by Ben Schreckinger '12. This is the first commencement forum ever to be organized by a student group.

David Rohde '90 is a columnist for Reuters and The Atlantic, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and a former reporter for The New York Times. His latest book, "Beyond War: Reimagining American Influence in a New Middle East," was published in April. A member of the board of the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, he taught a nonfiction writing class at Brown in 2012. As a student, he was a news editor at The Independent and a writer for Issues monthly.

Jonathan Ellis '06 is deputy editor for digital platforms at The New York Times, focusing on smartphones and tablets. He manages the presentation of the news report on all mobile platforms, and works with business and software colleagues to define The Times's mobile strategy. He has previously served as chief producer, home page producer and politics producer for He was editor-in-chief of The Herald in 2005.

Maha Rafi Atal '08 is a freelance journalist, covering the intersection of business, economics and public policy for Forbes, The Guardian and other outlets. From 2009-2010 she was a foreign correspondent in South Asia for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of Public Business, a nonprofit supporting investigative business journalism and public debate about the wider impact of business. At Brown, she was a Herald columnist for eight semesters, a contributor to the Independent, and an editor at Clerestory and the Brown Journal of World Affairs.

Ben Schreckinger '12 served as co-editor-in-chief of The Herald in 2011. He recently completed an Atlantic Media Fellowship, covering public policy and politics for National Journal in Washington, D.C. He has written for Slate, The Boston Globe Ideas section, and the Associated Press. In June, he will travel to Burma to report on the country’s turbulent transition toward openness with GlobalPost.

The forum will consist of moderated discussion among the panelists and an opportunity for audience questions. It will last approximately one hour, allowing forum attendees to participate in the Baccalaureate ceremony or attend the annual Herald alumni reception after the event.


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