March 16, 2006

Journalists to share Middle East perspectives

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Two journalists, one American and the other an Arab, will share their perspectives on the troubled Middle East region during a brown-bag lunch hosted by two Southern Illinois University Carbondale organizations next week.

The Global Media Research Center and the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute are teaming up to present "Understanding the Middle East: an Arab Journalist and a U.S. Journalist in Dialogue." The event is set for noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, in room 1032 of the Communications Building.

Jon Sawyer, former Washington bureau chief for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Habib Battah, managing editor of the Beirut-based Middle East Broadcasters Journal, will discuss the Middle East. The event is a continuation of a conversation on the Middle East the two began after meeting last fall in Beirut.

The event is free and open to the public.

Sawyer, director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, heads that new group's effort at improving media coverage of global issues. Prior to his current position, Sawyer worked for the Post-Dispatch for 31 years. Since 2001, he has focused on covering the Middle East and predominantly Muslim countries and recently returned from a three-week reporting trip to Sudan.

Battah has worked in print and broadcast journalism for some of the Arab world's leading media outlets, including Qatar-based Al Jazeera, Lebanon's Daily Star and the Beirut-based television channel, Future Television.

Developing citizen-leaders with global perspectives is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.