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Truth is risky business: WSU to welcome Mary Mapes

Award-winning journalist Mary Mapes will address Weber State University on Feb. 23 to discuss ethical issues related to her craft and the current state of journalism. Mapes was originally slated to speak in-person at the university in March 2020, but was cancelled and eventually rescheduled for a virtual Zoom event.

Mary Mapes will be speaking to WSU at an online event on Feb. 23.
Mary Mapes will be speaking to Weber State University at an online event on Feb. 23. Photo credit: Courtesy of the Leigh Bureau

Mapes is a former producer of CBS’s “60 Minutes.” In 2004, Mapes won a Peabody Award, the highest honor in broadcast journalism, for breaking the story of prisoner abuse and torture at the hands of U.S. troops and CIA personnel at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

She is the author of the 2005 book “Truth and Duty: The Press, the President and the Privilege of Power,” which offers her experience of a controversy surrounding another story she produced for “60 Minutes” in 2004. Her team’s reporting scrutinized whether then-President George W. Bush fulfilled obligations and military duties during the Vietnam War and started a chain of events that led to her being fired from CBS.

Mapes’ account presents a precarious climate in American journalism, one in which the right to ask questions is being suppressed by those in power. It draws attention to increasingly pertinent topics such as the effects of hostile online communities and the politicization of news.

Her story was adapted into the 2015 film “Truth,” starring Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford.

Since leaving CBS, Mapes has worked as a writer and consultant. She has also contributed to D Magazine and news magazine The Nation.

Mapes will speak about her personal experiences, journalism ethics and why America needs journalists at the free event on Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. Preregistration is required via the WSU website. The event is open to the public.

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