UCO President

Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar

The public is invited to the University of Central Oklahoma’s annual media ethics conference to hear national and local speakers address the complexities of media and influencing public opinion.

“This conference is a valuable survey of the changing media landscape and the pressures facing journalists around the world today,” said Megan Thele, a conference director.

The “Manipulation and Media: The Ugly Truth” conference will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, in UCO’s new Liberal Arts Auditorium. Registration and a light breakfast bar will begin at 9 a.m. and a brunch and networking session at 11:30 a.m. will precede the afternoon sessions. It is being organized by students in the Mass Communication Department’s Media Conference Leadership class, advised by endowed journalism ethics chair Joe Hight.

The conference will include a panel on the dominant narratives in mainstream media, a question and answer session on reporting immigration issues, a keynote on conspiracies and the scrutiny placed on journalists, and a panel on contemporary restrictions placed on journalists.

At 10 a.m. Mary Carver, chair of the UCO Mass Communication Department, will introduce the conference theme and a video welcome from the new UCO President Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar. The emcee, John Hayes, will then introduce the first panel’s moderator, Jerry Goodwin, assistant professor of Digital Media and Mass Communication at Tulsa Community College.

The panel, “Politics & Controversy: The Loudest Voice in the Room,” will focus on how the media and users may be manipulated, as well as how both groups can work together to prevent framing and injecting bias, implicit or explicit, in the news cycle.

Obed Manuel, the Dallas Morning News immigration reporter and Report For America Fellow, will lead the discussion in “Reporting Both Sides: Immigration and Border Coverage as a Latino Journalist” as part of a partnership with UCO’s Pasaporte al Mundo Latino series. This question-and-answer, moderated by Maria Diaz Montejo, a history lecturer at UCO, will seek to unpack the complexities of covering immigration as a journalist of Mexican descent in America.

“This is our first time working with UCO’s Passport Program and we are excited to have that added angle to expand the scope of our conference,” said Mary Bixler, a conference director.

The conference keynote, “Conspiracies Came After Me,” will feature Mike Walter, principal general news anchor for CGTN in Washington. Introduced by Songsong Wang, a UCO international student, Walter will address his experiences of witnessing the plane fly into the Pentagon on 9/11, being targeted by conspiracists and explore how he has managed after being placed under scrutiny as a journalist.

The final panel, “Watchdog on a Leash?,” will allow professionals from several areas of the media industry to share how they’ve dealt with the worst manifestations of increasing pressure and limitations, and what defenses journalists have against them. Distinguished journalist and educator Marvin Kalb, author of the book “Enemy of the People,” will be featured as part of the panel.

All are welcome to the conference and brunch in the new south wing of the Liberal Arts building on UCO’s campus.

Main Speaker

• Dr. Mary Carver: Carver is an assistant professor in the Department of Mass Communication and is the current Department Chair. She was hired as the department’s Core Curriculum Coordinator 10 years ago. Dr. Carver is a native of Iowa, where she received her B.A. in Speech Communication from Iowa State University. She holds a M.S. in Communication from Wichita State University and a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Kansas. Prior to coming to UCO, Dr. Carver taught at several different institutions, including University of Northern Illinois and Wheaton College.

• Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar: Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar is the 21st president of the University of Central Oklahoma and the institution’s first female president in its 129-year history. She has been a contributing member of the Central community since 2007. She served in a variety of roles during that time; most recently serving as the institution’s Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer. Her multidimensional experience in private business and higher education includes business operations, finance, human resources, organizational development, strategic planning, institutional budget development, business process improvement and governing board relations.  As a result of her commitment to developing others, she led the creation of the award-winning UCO Management Development Program.  Under her leadership, UCO’s compensation structure and health insurance plan were modernized to help create a contemporary people-centered benefits culture. Among her contributions to UCO, she has served as chair or member of a number of institutional committees and task forces.

These include the university branding initiative, program prioritization, budget model exploration, Affordable Care Act implementation, the creation of the University Planning Council, strategic planning and enrollment management planning.  She currently serves on the Strategic Enrollment Planning Council as well as the University Planning Council at UCO. 

She has served as the chair of the Regional University System of Oklahoma Business Officers, chair of the Pension Committee for the Regional University System of Oklahoma and vice chair of the Oklahoma Higher Education Employee Interlocal. As UCO’s vice president of finance and chief financial officer, she helped to navigate the financial turbulence created by the precipitous decline in enrollment and the significant loss of state funding. 

While the institution had lost more than $10.5 million in tuition revenue and $12.3 million in state funding by 2019, her leadership ensured the preservation of every job on campus and buffered our classrooms from negative impact. For her work in successfully guiding the institution through these rough waters, she was awarded the President’s Award in Applied Leadership in 2018. A champion for progress and improvement, she leads the university’s pursuit of innovation in shaping the future of higher education. This includes educating for tomorrow’s skills, growing more fully online programs designed and taught by our talented faculty, partnering with businesses in the metropolitan area to expand non- credit offerings and capturing opportunities for growth through institutional responsiveness to student demand and economic need. 

President Neuhold-Ravikumar currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST), and Oklahoma State Chamber.  She serves as an ex-officio member of the Edmond Chamber of Commerce Board of Advisors. Patti earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in management from Oklahoma Christian University. She earned her master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology from the University of Tulsa and is currently a doctoral candidate in organizational leadership at Concordia University – Chicago.

• Obed Manuel:  Manuel is a reporter with the Dallas Morning News and member of the inaugural 2018 Report For America class. He has written extensively about immigrant communities in Dallas, immigration policy, Latino culture and issues, food, the arts and political commentary. His work has appeared in The Dallas Observer, Central Track and Latina Lista. Manuel is a graduate of the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas. He was born in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey in the state of Nuevo Leon. His family moved to Dallas in 1996 and have called the city home ever since. Manuel lives in Dallas with his wife, who works for the Dallas Public Library.

• Mike Walter: Mike Walter is the Principal General News Anchor in Washington. The five time Emmy award winning broadcast journalist has played a role in many of the CGTN milestones in Washington DC. He was the first general news anchor to appear on the air when the Broadcast Center in Washington began production in 2012. He was the first host of “The Heat” hosting the show for two years, where he interviewed the 39 th U.S. President Jimmy Carter, as well as legendary U.S. broadcaster Tom Brokaw. 

In 2014 he began hosting the Emmy Award winning one hour weekly talk show “Full Frame”. The show gives Walter the chance to conduct in depth interviews with visionaries ranging from Bill Gates to Kai Fu Lee. In addition Walter has anchored coverage of the G-20 Summit in Hangzhou in 2016, The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing in 2017; he also covered the Two Sessions in Beijing in 2019. Walter has won a number of prestigious honors. In 2010, Walter won the Ted Yates Memorial award, a special Emmy only given by unanimous vote of the board of directors of the Washington Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In 2005, Walter became the only local broadcast news anchor in the U.S. to ever win the coveted Dart Ochberg Fellowship. Before joining CGTN, Walter enjoyed worldwide attention for his first independent documentary project, “Breaking News, Breaking Down.” 

The film was selected as one of the three best documentary shorts of the year by Moving Pictures magazine in 2010. It was also chosen as Best Documentary Short at the Cannes Independent Film Festival. Profiles on Walter and the film appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Times, the Australian, and Journalistan (a magazine devoted to journalists in Sweden). Walter was also profiled in People magazine and on the Oprah Winfrey show following the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon. Walter was an eyewitness to the attack in 2001 while working as Senior Correspondent at USA TODAY LIVE. He shared his first person account on the BBC, CNN, CBS, and the Canadian Broadcasting Network. He was also a key contributor to two books on the 9/11 attacks. His oral history of that day is part of the permanent collection on display at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City.

• Marvin Kalb: Senior adviser to the Pulitzer Center, a nonresident senior fellow with the Foreign Policy program at Brookings, Murrow Professor emeritus at Harvard, and former network correspondent at CBS and NBC News. He is the author, most recently, of Enemy of the People: Trump’s War on the Press, the New McCarthyism, and the Threat to American Democracy and The Year I Was Peter the Great: 1956—Khrushchev, Stalin’s Ghost, and a Young American in Russia.


Other speakers will include: 

• Politics & Controversy: The Loudest Voice in the Room

— Moderator: Jerry Goodwin; assistant professor of Digital Media and Mass Communication, Tulsa Community College

— Robert Robles; attorney at law, Robert R. Robles Law Firm

— Savannah Melher; McNair Scholar, University of Central Oklahoma

— Andrea Stone; Edmond group leader, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

• Reporting Both Sides: Immigration and Border Coverage as a Latino Journalist

— Introduction: James Daro, MFA; Passport Program coordinator and English lecturer, University of Central Oklahoma

— Moderator: Maria Diaz Montejo, Ph.D.; history lecturer, University of Central Oklahoma

— Obed Manuel; local news, immigration and social justice reporter, Dallas Morning News and Report For America Fellow

• Conspiracists Came After Me

— Introduction: Songsong Wang; international student, University of Central Oklahoma

— Mike Walter, principal general news anchor, Chinese Global Television Network (CGTN)

• Watchdog on a Leash?

— Moderator: Kenna Griffin, Ph.D.; president-elect, College Media Association

— Marvin Kalb; senior adviser to the Pulitzer Center, a nonresident senior fellow with the Foreign Policy program at Brookings, Murrow Professor emeritus at Harvard, and former network correspondent at CBS and NBC News. He is the author, most recently, of Enemy of the People: Trump’s War on the Press, the New McCarthyism, and the Threat to American Democracy and The Year I Was Peter the Great: 1956—Khrushchev, Stalin’s Ghost, and a Young American in Russia.

— Sterling Cosper; program manager, Native American Journalists Association

— Dylan Goforth; editor in chief, The Frontier

— Wendy Garrett; writer, producer and filmmaker

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