13th Annual Bissell Grogan Symposium

On Tuesday, January 16, 2018, Brimmer held its 13th annual Kenyon Bissell Grogan Humanities Symposium, The Future and Function of News. Keynote speaker Emily Rooney, host/executive editor of “Beat the Press,” presented “Fake News – You Know It When You See It,” to Middle and Upper Schoolers, Trustees, parents, faculty and staff.

Rooney asked the audience, “What’s fake—and what is something you don’t like?” She went on to share, “You are picking and choosing what you want to believe. That’s intentional [on the part of the news]. The vast majority of stories on Facebook and Instagram are not real.” She gave examples of recent “fake” news and shared historical examples. Rooney advised students to “consider original sources” when evaluating news stories in an effort to determine accuracy.  

The focus of this year’s symposium was a topic that resonated with students, “especially because it was so current and relevant,” as senior Jack Donnelley mentioned, while fostering dialogue between students and industry professionals. Symposium Co-Chairs Dr. Reese and Mrs. Dolan shared, "One of the main goals of the day is to broaden students’ horizons and to help them to better understand their world. When asked what she learned from a workshop on music and culture in the ‘60s, sophomore Sarah Dean said, 'He showed us how music was used to influence political movements, and I didn’t know about that before.' As faculty chairs of the symposium it is great to see the goals of this endowed program met year after year in a fun way that brings real life experiences into our Brimmer classrooms."

Other Bissell Grogan workshops included: 
  • Freedom of Speech as It Relates to the Media, Allan Ryan
  • My Journey from Brimmer and May to Newspaper Publisher, Vicki Donlan ’69
  • Talking the Blues, Singing the News: How Pop Music Shapes the Media Environment, Dr. Alex Ludwig
  • Reinventing Journalism through Web/Print Integration at the Boston Herald, Joe Dwinell
  • Student Journalism and New Technology, Gator Staff 
  • How to Spot Fake News and Where to Go for Reliable Information, David Cutler ’02
  • How the PR Industry Shapes the News: A Discussion on Influencing, Engaging and Building a Relationship with Key Stakeholders Across a Myriad of Platforms in Order to Shape and Frame the Public Perception of an Organization, Tully Nicholas
  • State of the News in the Current Factual Recession, John Wihbey
  • Just Say No to #fakenews by Making Yourself #realsmart: Exploring the Future of Journalism with a Veteran Boston Globe and NECN Reporter, Peter Howe
  • Making Our Own News: Women, Stories, and Social Media, Cortney Tunis 
  • Reporting on Business Outside of the Monoculture, Shelagh Braley
As an inclusive private school community, Brimmer welcomes students who will increase the diversity of our school. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, gender, gender identity and expression, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, or any other characteristic protected from discrimination under state or federal law, in the administration of our educational policies, admissions practices, financial aid decisions, and athletic and other school-administered programs.