Shepard Smith, Fake News, Politics on Deck for Overby Center

Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics announces spring 2020 calendar

Overby fellow Terry Mattingly joins Richard Ostling, former chief religion writer for The Associated Press, to kick off the spring Overby Center programming with a Feb. 18 discussion on the intersection of religion and politics. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics‘ spring lineup includes one of the first public appearances by Shepard Smith since he left his post as chief anchor at Fox News and managing editor of Fox’s breaking news division.

His March 31 talk will be followed the next day by the presentation of the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media‘s prestigious Silver Em award, which will be given to Smith in honor of his notable journalism career.

But the exciting event calendar begins Feb. 18, more than a month before Smith arrives on campus. Terry Mattingly, nationally syndicated region reporter, editor of the GetReligion blog and Overby fellow, and Richard Ostling, former chief religion writer for The Associated Press, will kick off the spring speaking calendar with a discussion on the intersection of religion and politics.

Next, award-winning filmmaker Tom Thurman will bring his compelling insight into the life of “All the King’s Men” author Robert Penn Warren to the Overby Center on Feb. 26, with his documentary “Robert Penn Warren: A Vision.” The film will be followed by a discussion between Thurman and journalism professor Joe Atkins.

On March 4, Geneva Overholser, former editor of the Des Moines Register and industry writer and consultant, will discuss how journalists are helping or hindering the role of journalism in a democracy with Charles Overby and Greg Brock, an Overby fellow.

Then the Overby Center will welcome Robert Seidman on March 24 to discuss his documentary “Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People” and his warnings of fake news with Overby fellow Curtis Wilkie.

The season will close with a look at Robert Kennedy’s 1966 visit to the Ole Miss School of Law, in which he revealed the deals former Mississippi Gov. Ross Barnett tried to cut to keep James Meredith out of the university. This appearance is the subject of the film, “You Asked for the Facts.”

The film’s producer, Mary Blessey, will discuss that fateful 1966 appearance with Barbara Phillips, a noted civil right lawyer and university lecturer on April 7.

All the programs, which are free and open to the public, are at 5:30 p.m. in the Overby Center Auditorium. For more details, go to