The Institute for Honor Symposium: The Press and the Presidency: The Battle for Public Opinion in War, Peace, and the Digital Age March 18-19, 2016

W&L's fall, winter, and spring weekend seminars continue to be a popular feature of the Alumni College, for the programs offer participants a substantive weekend getaway in the beautiful environs of Lexington and Rockbridge County. Participants stay in local inns, with the program, receptions, dinner, and lunch on campus. Programs begin on Friday afternoon and conclude after lunch on Saturday.Established in 2000 at Washington and Lee by a generous endowment from the Class of 1960, the Institute for Honor includes an array of initiatives and specific programs designed to promote the understanding and practice of honor as an indispensable element of society. The Institute for Honor Symposium is dedicated to the advocacy of honor as the core value in personal, professional, business, and community relations. The symposium is directed by Lucas Morel, the Class of 1960 Professor of Ethics and Politics.

"In this and like communities, public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. Consequently he who molds public sentiment, goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to be executed." - Abraham Lincoln

In the antebellum period, Lincoln was keenly aware that the ultimate demise of slavery in the United States would depend upon how public opinion was informed about that controversy. This meant that the shapers of public opinion, even more than legislators and courts, would determine whether "liberty for all" would triumph over slavery. How citizens learn about and discuss political issues remains as important in the 21st century as it was in the formative years of the American republic. This year's Institute for Honor Symposium looks at the evolution of the news media, with special focus on the growth of the 24-hour news cycle, the influence of investigative journalism, and the impact of the Internet and social media on political campaigns, public policy, and the common good.

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and acclaimed author of All the President's Men and A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Carl Bernstein will deliver a keynote address on the rise of investigative journalism during the modern presidency. Harold Holzer, winner of the 2015 Lincoln Book Prize for Lincoln and the Power of the Press: The War for Public Opinion, will speak on Lincoln and the press during wartime. Toni Locy, professor of journalism and mass communications at Washington and Lee University, will address the press and the possibility of balance in the Age of Obama. Morel will introduce the symposium and speakers by setting forth key themes and issues, as well as lead a panel discussion by the speakers on the challenges facing the American electorate as the press and politicians negotiate the Digital Age.

Above: left image by the Library of Congress, right image by / Korean Culture and Information Service