November 28: The word unprecedented has been applied to the Trump presidency over and over again. Both style and substance have upended presidential traditions and brought reversals and radical actions on hot-button issues. In this session, Houston’s political gurus Richard Murray and Bob Stein bring their expertise and keen insights to the current political situation.
Professor Murray holds the Bob Lanier Chair in urban public policy at the University of Houston and is director of the Survey Research Institute at the University’s Center for Public Policy. During his long career, he has consulted for more than 200 political campaigns. His analyses and commentary are frequently carried on radio and television and in the print media.
Professor Stein is the fellow in urban politics at the Baker Institute and the Lena Grohlman Fox Professor of Political Science at Rice University. He also is the faculty director of Rice’s Center for Civic Engagement. Stein’s current research includes a focus on alternative modes of elections and voting procedures in the U.S.
December 5: What is the role of media and the press in today’s 24-hour-news-coverage world, and how do we identify real facts with so many news options to choose from? In this session, Jeff Cohen and Mimi Swartz will give us insight and their perspective on this ever-changing topic.
Jeff Cohen is executive vice president and executive editor of the Houston Chronicle in charge of the opinion pages. He assumed this role in January 2013 after serving for more than 10 years as the Chronicle’s editor. Mr. Cohen grew up in Houston, received his journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and started his career with Hearst Corporation in 1976 as a sportswriter for the San Antonio Light.
Mimi Swartz is an executive editor of Texas Monthly and a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. She is the author, with Sherron Watkins, of Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron, and her work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Esquire, Slate, National Geographic, and Vogue. Currently, she is at work on a book about heart disease.