Open Lens Symposium: Unveiling Truth Through Journalism

Open Lens Symposium: Unveiling Truth Through Journalism

Thursday, May 2
Registration Opens at 8:30 a.m.
Event Time 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., lunch included
Utah Cultural Celebration Center
1355 W 3100 S, West Valley City
Cost: Free & open to the public


Join Utah Global Diplomacy for the Open Lens Symposium: Unveiling Truth Through Journalism, where the power of storytelling meets the pursuit of truth.

This symposium delves into the profound influence of journalism on communities, democracy, and global understanding. At the Open Lens Symposium, you'll explore how grassroots journalism efforts support democracy and empower communities to advocate for change. Our diverse lineup of speakers, including seasoned journalists and media professionals, will share their experiences and insights into reporting fair and accurate news in an increasingly polarized world. 

Whether you're a news consumer seeking deeper understanding, a journalism student eager to connect with industry leaders, or a seasoned journalist in search of new perspectives, this symposium offers something for everyone. 

Register now to secure your spot and unleash the full potential of journalism in uncovering truth and fostering informed communities. The world is waiting – are you ready to see through The Open Lens?


Lunch included.



9:00 a.m. - Welcome from Utah Global Diplomacy's CEO, Felecia Maxfield-Barrett

9:15 a.m. - Global Voices, Local Truths: Navigating the Challenges of International Journalism Networks
Dr. Joyce M. Davis will discuss her time leading a massive network of journalists throughout Central Asia and some of the challenges facing journalists abroad today.

10:05 a.m. - Break

10:15 a.m. - A Voice in Exile: A Conversation with a Journalist Escaping Russian Repression
Many journalists working in Russia were jailed or faced other repressive measures after the country invaded Ukraine. Stanislav Zakharkin will recount his expression as he fled Russia to find safety in Kyrgyzstan. His experience illustrates the lengths journalists must often go to as they endeavor to report on the communities they live in.

10:45 a.m. - Truth Amidst Turmoil: Reporting on Polarized Times as a Safeguard to Democracy
Angele Latham is a First Amendment reporter at The Tennessean in Nashville. She will discuss her work reporting on the expulsion of two Black lawmakers from the Tennessee General Assembly and how her reporting illustrates why it is important for the public to have access to accurate reporting on polarizing issues.

11:45 a.m. - Networking Lunch

12:15 a.m. - Preserving the Pillars: Safeguarding the Vital Role of Local News
Lauren Gustus will discuss The Salt Lake Tribune’s transition to a nonprofit newsroom and how the move not only saved Utah’s paper of record but has propped up other reporting efforts around the state.

1:15 p.m. - Refocusing the Lens: Empowering Diversity in Visual Journalism
Brent Lewis co-founded Diversify Photo, an international network of photojournalists representing a variety of marginalized communities. He will discuss how communities are made stronger by expanding the variety of voices that report the news.

2:00 p.m - Networking Sessions with Latham, Lewis and Davis
Looking to make an impact? Participate in our break-out sessions with the speakers to discover how journalism fuels grassroots democracy efforts, inspiring action in our local community and worldwide.

3:00 p.m - Symposium concludes

Guest Speaker: Dr. Joyce M. Davis

joyce m davisDr. Joyce M. Davis is the opinion editor for PennLive and the Patriot News, and she is the president and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg, an organization she founded in 2010 with a group of internationally connected community leaders in Central Pennsylvania. Davis spent five years as Director of Communications for the City of Harrisburg and supervisor of WHBG Channel 20, the region’s government and public affairs television station. Before moving to Harrisburg, Davis was Associate Director of Broadcasting for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague, Czech Republic. In her senior role at the international broadcasting agency, Davis supervised hundreds of reporters and editors assigned to radio and internet services in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the countries of Central Asia. She has also worked as Deputy Foreign Editor and Special Correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers and as Middle East Editor and Senior Foreign Editor for NPR. She began her journalism career at The New Orleans Times-Picayune where among many roles she was the editor of an international Op-Ed column for the editorial page, an idea she initiated due to her early interest in global affairs.


Guest Speaker: Angele Latham

Angele Latham Utah Global DiplomacyAngele Latham is the First Amendment reporter at The Tennessean, serving as the first-ever reporter for such a beat thanks to a partnership between the paper, the Freedom Forum and the Journalism Funding Partners. She covers a wide range of topics from book bans to protests, public records, church/state overlap, LGBTQ issues, and far more. Anything that touches your First Amendment rights, she's on it. Hailing from Hickman, Tennessee, Angele attended Middle Tennessee State University and worked at multiple papers across the state before joining The Tennessean.

Guest Speaker: Brent Lewis

Brent Lewis Utah Global DiplomacyBrent Lewis is a Photo Editor based out of New York City, co-founder of Diversify Photo and from the greatest city in the world Chicago. South Side to be exact.

Brent is a photo editor at The New York Times working on the Home Page and breaking news desk.

Brent was a Photo Editor at The Washington Post. Formerly, he was the senior photo editor of ESPN’s The Undefeated, where he drove the visual language of the website, which is based around the intersection of sports, race, and culture. Before turning his life over to photo editing, he was a staff photojournalist with stints at The Denver Post, The Rockford Register Star, and the Chillicothe Gazette.  Through the years his photos have been used by the Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, Associated Press, Forbes, and Yahoo! News.

Guest Speaker: Lauren Gustus

(Francisco Kjolseth  | The Salt Lake Tribune) Executive Editor Lauren Gustus.Lauren Gustus became Executive Editor of The Salt Lake Tribune in December 2020. The Tribune is the first major metro news organization to become a nonprofit. It achieved sustainability in 2021 under Lauren’s leadership.  In 2022, The Tribune became a founding member of the Great Salt Lake Collaborative, a group of 23 organizations focused on elevating solutions to the lake’s challenges. It also shares its daily reporting with journalism partners throughout the state through the Utah News Collaborative. In 2023, The Moab Times-Independent donated itself to The Tribune, which oversees its operations.

Lauren previously worked as West Region Editor, overseeing 10 news organizations in Idaho, Washington and California, including the flagship Sacramento Bee, for McClatchy. Lauren has also served as an editor in Colorado, where her work on transparency contributed to a new law that facilitated greater access to public records, and in Reno, where her team’s work on the housing crisis was recognized nationally. She is a coach in the Media Transformation Challenge at The Poynter Institute, supporting other news leaders as they make performance-driven change. Utah is a homecoming for Lauren, who met her husband while working as a reporter at The Tribune in the early 2000s. They enjoy camping, skiing, and (sometimes enjoy) coaching their sons' soccer teams.

Guest Speaker: Stanislav Zakhaarkin

Stanislav ZakharkinStanislav Zakharkin has worked in online journalism since 2012. Starting in rural Russia, he later became a producer for the Moscow bureau of The Los Angeles Times. Like many journalists, he was forced to leave Moscow at the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. He is now working as a freelance journalist based in Kyrgyzstan. In recent years, his work has focused on Russian politics, covering the system of power built by the Kremlin.


Tabling Opportunities

If you are interested in sharing information about your organization and would like to table at this event, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Number of tables is limited.

Sponsors & Partners

Price family foundation_Utah Global Diplomacy
ZAP_Utah Global Diplomacy
WACA logo_Utah Global Diplomacy4freedommobile


Upcoming Symposium

Details coming soon.

Event Information

Event Date May 02, 2024 8:30 am
Event End Date May 02, 2024 3:00 pm
Individual Price Free & open to the public
Location Utah Cultural Celebration Center, 1355 W 3100 S West Valley City
Categories World Affairs Symposium Series