Watch the live stream of the keynote starting at 5pm



8:30 – 9:30 am:




Registration and Continental Breakfast

Annenberg School For Communication

3620 Walnut Street - Room 500

Transportation to conference not provided


9:30 – 9:45 am:





Welcoming Remarks:  

Claire Finkelstein, Algeron Biddle of Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania Law School and CERL Faculty Director 

Michael Delli Carpini, Walter H. Annenberg Dean and Professor of Communication, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Pennsylvania



9:45 – 11:00 am:








Session 1The carnage of war, terrorist attacks, and classified information: What are a journalist’s ethical limits on reporting?   Beyond the coverage of acts of terror, journalists’ textual and photographic coverage of armed conflict and violent atrocities abroad (e.g., lines of refugees, grief-stricken mothers, images of American soldiers in body bags) can have a direct influence on public opinion and, thus, impact the counterterror efforts of governments. News outlets say they operate with the understanding that what they choose to cover and how they choose to do so shapes public discourse. To what extent, then, should journalists and their publishers pursue the dissemination of coverage related to violence and terror given the risk of dangerous blowback at home and abroad? How should this risk be balanced against the need for an informed society and educated public debate? What actual choices do editors have, given the constraints of audience, budget and attention?

Moderator: Prof. William Burke-White, Director, Perry World House 

11:00 – 11:30 am: Break (refreshments served)

11:30 am – 12:45 pm:







Session 2 – Leaks of classified information and whistleblower protection: Do the laws strike the right balance for journalists?  A surplus of leaks of national security information in recent years has turned into a geyser in the new administration. Has the relationship between the executive branch changed enough to warrant a more adversarial approach?  Is it time for a federal shield law with teeth? What steps should journalists take before publication to balance equities? How can whistleblowers utilize formal and informal mechanisms to make their cases public?  Under what circumstances (if any) may whistleblowers violate their oaths?  Should the motive of the whistleblower —or the source of classified information — matter?  How can whistleblowers better protect themselves from criminal, civil, and governmental harassment? 

Moderator: Marc Ambinder, journalist-in-residence, CERL and ASC

12:45 – 2:15 pm: Lunch at The Inn at Penn

2:15 – 3:30 pm:





Session 3Court subpoenas and government surveillance: Have our laws left journalists too exposedMass surveillance, targeted surveillance, data retention, expanded and broad anti-terror measures and national security laws all compromise the ability of journalists to protect the confidentiality of their sources. Journalists have also been complicit: their cyber hygiene is often subpar. What are best practices in this area? Should reporters’ metadata be granted additional protection under the law?  Do laws and governmental practices intimidate and inhibit effective journalism?

Moderator: Carrie Cordero

3:30 – 4:00 pm: End of Conference Programming - Day 1


3:45 – 4:30 pm:


Participants are transported to the National Constitution Center (NCC)

5:00 – 6:30 pm: Keynote PanelFreedom of the Press and National Security in the Trump Era: Reconciling Competing Values in Democratic Governance - (moderated discussion) at the NCC

This Keynote Panel has been approved for 1.5 ethics CLE credits for Pennsylvania lawyers. CLE credit may be available in other jurisdictions as well. Attendees seeking CLE credit should bring separate payment in the amount of $60.00 ($30.00 public interest/non-profit attorneys) cash or check made payable toThe Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania.

Moderator: Jeffrey Rosen, President and CEO, National Constitution Center

Keynote participants:   Helle Dale, Laura Handman, James Risen, Charlie Savage

6:30 – 7:30 pm:

Cocktails for conference participants at the NCC

7:30 – 9:00 pm: Dinner for conference participants at the NCC


8:30 – 9:30 am:




Registration and Continental Breakfast

Annenberg School For Communication

3620 Walnut Street - Room 500

Transportation to conference not provided


9:30 – 10:45 am:






Session 4 – Protecting society from fake news and weaponized information: European and American perspectives.  Does the government and private sector have an ethical duty to do more?  Prior restraints and media blackouts under European law are counterbalanced in the United States by an influential lobby that argues loudly that any legal constraints on technology will stunt its development, and by a strong (perhaps overbroad?) First Amendment tradition.  Do new times — and new weapons — call for new compromises? 

Moderator: Dean Michael Delli Carpini 



10:45 – 11:15 am:

Break (refreshments served)

11:15 am – 12:30 pm:










Session 5 – Journalists at risk: online harassment, physical attacks and intimidation:   Journalists can face, easily, and without consequence for the perpetrators, malevolent online harassment campaigns, hate-based attacks, or related physical threats or intimidation, due to their race, religion, or nationality, and such conduct can affect the coverage of national security matters, whether directly or indirectly.  In conflict zones, as embedded journalists or while on their own, the risks are acute and the ethical challenges can be significant.  Is there a distinction between the way the government and companies should protect ordinary citizens and journalists?  Is embedded journalism inherently “tainted” by the circumstances under which it is produced?  Because newsroom budgets have been pared down, reporters are often sent into disaster zones and denied areas without adequate back-up; what legal and ethical responsibilities do corporations have to protect their employees?

Moderator: Susan D. Moeller




12:30 – 1:30 pm: Lunch at The Annenberg School For Communication - Plaza Lobby

1:30 – 2:45 pm:






Session 6 – National Security Journalism In the Age of Trump:  Although change in journalism is constant, no single factor has so rapidly upended the decision rules that reporters and editors abide by than the man who now has the power of the executive branch at his command: President Donald Trump.  Should journalists treat him as simply another power to hold to account? As an existential threat to democracy?  Do aggressive efforts to restore political norms violate journalism’s ethical codes? How can journalists better persuade audiences about the importance of critical national security matters in this age of information anarchy? 

Moderator: Katherine Eban

2:45 – 3:00 pm: Concluding remarks by CERL Faculty Director Prof. Claire Finkelstein