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Reporters & Evangelists: Politics of Online News

#sxsw #partisans

How much does ideology matter for online journalists and news sites? People talk about a fractured web of ideological bubbles where liberals go to Daily Kos and conservatives to The Daily Caller. But do more traditional media outlets use ideology as a way to make their brands stand out online? Does taking an ideological position on the Web damage a reporter's credibility? Is selling your ideology a good way to make a living on the internet?This panel assembles an all-star cast of reporters from the BBC, The Guardian, Politico, and even in Korea to debate that question. Between them they have written for some of the top online news sites on three continents and have appeared on ABC, CBS, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, and FOX. Representing a range of political attitudes and journalistic creeds, the panel will seek to answer: What is the role of ideological journalism in online news? This Future of Journalism Track is sponsored by The Knight Foundation.



Andrew Gruen PhD Candidate University of Cambridge

Andrew is a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge in the Department of Sociology, where he studies news organizations. He is also a visiting scholar at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. His dissertation is investigating viability models for born-digital, accountability journalism producing news enterprises.

After completing an MPhil dissertation about OhmyNews and citizen journalism, he worked for the organization in Seoul as part of the Henry Luce Foundation's Luce Scholars program. All of his graduate studies studies at Cambridge have been a part of the Gates Scholars program.

Before graduate school, Andrew worked as a journalist for CNet, the BBC, and Hearst Television. His undergraduate degree is in journalism and political science from Northwestern University. While at Northwestern, Andrew was active in the Oyez Project, which archived U.S. Supreme Court related multimedia. He remains interested in all things media, technology, and society related.

Mary O'Hara Journalist The Guardian

Mary O’Hara was born and grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She was educated at St. Louise’s College, Falls Road, Belfast, The College of Charleston, South Carolina, Magdalene College Cambridge University and the University of Sheffield, England. She has been a journalist for over a decade – almost all of it with The Guardian reporting in the UK and the US and has won numerous prestigious awards for her writing including Mind Journalist of the Year and an Alistair Cooke Fulbright Scholarship for which she carried out academic research in 2010 at UC Berkeley, California. She is co-author of the feature film screenplay, Once We Were Old and has worked intermittently in television and in radio and for a number of magazines. Most recently she wrote the foreword to Danny Dorling’s book, Fair Play, published in October 2011. She has just finished writing her first novel.

Prajwal Ciryam Co-founder, Managing Editor

--Excited to be moderating Reporters & Evangelists: Politics of Online News, featuring Mary O'Hara, Shira Toeplitz, and Andrew Gruen. 3/10, 5 PM--

Prajwal Ciryam was born in India and grew up in rural North Carolina. He is co-founder of Partisans Media and Managing Editor at, a political opinion site that brings together insightful commentary from across the spectrum.

At Partisans, he often writes about his current obsession: How do complex things work, and how can we tame the complicated systems in our world — cells, economies, polities — to make people's lives a little better?

Prajwal is particularly interested in complexity in terms of human disease. He was previously a Fulbright Scholar to the United Kingdom, studying protein misfolding diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's, at Cambridge University. Currently, he is a Ph.D. candidate concurrently in chemistry at Cambridge and neuroscience at Northwestern University, and a medical student at Northwestern. He holds a B.A. in biological sciences from Northwestern.

Shira Toeplitz Journalist/Pundit Roll Call

Shira Toeplitz is a politics reporter, writer and analyst with Roll Call, "The Newspaper of Capitol Hill." She has covered campaigns and elections from New Hampshire to Alaska and almost every state in between.

Toeplitz was the last national reporter to do an extended interview with Sarah Palin before she was selected as the GOP vice presidential pick in 2008 -- and the first to interview Sen. Al Franken after his election and lengthy recount battle. She is also one of only a handful of reporters who followed Barack Obama's bid for the Senate in 2004.

A frequent guest on cable news programs, Toeplitz has offered commentary on politics and campaigns for ABC, CBS, PBS, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC and FOX. She has been a featured speaker at events for her alma mater, Northwestern University, as well as at American University and The Women’s Campaign School at Yale University.

Toeplitz has worked in Washington as a political reporter and writer since 2005. In addition to her work at Roll Call, Toeplitz covered campaigns and Capitol Hill for POLITICO. She also covered presidential and state campaigns for National Journal’s The Hotline, a political tip sheet for insiders.

Toeplitz hails from Pittsburgh and is an avid Steelers fan.

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