Tag Archives: Dana Priest

Knight Chair Dana Priest Reports for PBS’ Facebook Documentary

"The Facebook Dilemma" airs on PBS' "Frontline" documentary program Monday, Oct. 29 and Tuesday, Oct. 30.

“The Facebook Dilemma” airs on PBS’ “Frontline” documentary program Monday, Oct. 29 and Tuesday, Oct. 30.

COLLEGE PARK (10/26/18) — A University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism faculty member was a key contributor to a two-part documentary about Facebook that will air on PBS next week.

Dana Priest, the John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism at Merrill College, spent six months reporting for “The Facebook Dilemma,” which airs Monday and Tuesday on “Frontline.” PBS published a short trailer this week.

“The promise of Facebook was to create a more open and connected world,” a description on Frontline’s website says. “But from the company’s failure to protect millions of users’ data, to the proliferation of ‘fake news’ and disinformation, mounting crises have raised the question: Is Facebook more harmful than helpful?”

The Wall Street Journal published a strong review on Thursday.

“The overarching theme of ‘The Facebook Dilemma’ — an aggressive, indignant, illuminating two-nighter presented by ‘Frontline’ — is the blissfully amoral way a social-media site has morphed into a sociopolitical evil,” the review says.

Priest is an investigative reporter at The Washington Post and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

This semester, she’s teaching two courses on press freedom and disinformation: Press Freedom and Fake News: A Global Battle for Political Power and National Security and Press Freedom Reporting.

For more information, contact:
Alexander A. Pyles
aapyles@umd.edu
301-405-1321

The Washington Post Publishes Article, Op/Ed by Knight Chair Dana Priest’s Students

University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism students taught by Knight Chair Dana Priest had an article and opinion piece published by The Washington Post.

University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism students, taught by Knight Chair Dana Priest, had an article and opinion piece published by The Washington Post.

COLLEGE PARK (10/18/18) — An article and opinion piece reported and written by University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism students, led by Professor Dana Priest, were published by The Washington Post this week.

The students analyzed Maryland Today, a daily website and newsletter published by the university’s Office of Strategic Communications.

Priest, the college’s John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, assigned the stories as part of her course on news and disinformation. Read more here.

For more information, contact:
Alexander A. Pyles
aapyles@umd.edu
301-405-1321

Knight Chair Dana Priest in The New Yorker

Dana Priest

Dana Priest says United States intelligence agencies’ inability to recognize Russian meddling in the 2016 election showed the limitations of relying on secret surveillance and classified information.

Priest, the John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, writes in The New Yorker that while intelligence agencies failed to warn Americans of the threat, non-government researchers — limited to public information — have done a better job identifying such campaigns.

She writes that the more secretive information-gathering techniques authorized after Al Qaeda’s 9/11 terrorist attacks were not effective in either stopping the Russian effort or alerting Americans it was happening.

Priest, an investigative reporter for The Washington Post and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, has spent the majority of her career focusing on national security, military operations and U.S. intelligence agencies.

At the University of Maryland‘s Merrill College, she oversees the student-led Press Uncuffed project, which has focused attention on the plight of journalists who are jailed around the world.

Dana Priest: Eight Steps Reporters Should Take Before Trump Assumes Office

Knight Chair and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Dana Priest.

Photo: Dana Priest.

By Knight Chair Dana Priest.
Reprinted with permission by the Columbia Journalism Review.
Originally published Nov. 14, 2016.

I was on the phone the other day with a senior US official, someone not usually eager to talk to a reporter, when the following conversation occurred:

“Is the FBI likely to follow up on tips that Trump might have some dubious connections to Russia now that he’s been elected?” I asked.

“If they hadn’t begun a serious investigation before the election,” the official responded, “it’s not likely now – unless something were to occur.”

“What do you mean by, ‘something were to occur?'”

“Well, that’s where you all come in.”

Wham! Of course.

With the two houses of Congress controlled by Republicans and a Democratic party in chaos, of course it falls on the shoulders of journalists to deepen the solid investigative work begun during the campaign.

Related: Journalism’s moment of reckoning has arrived.

The new president may merit a brief honeymoon in governing while he figures out what his policies will be and how he will implement them. But we should not wait one nanosecond to lay out the unprecedented set of conflicts of interests he and his family bring to the presidency, to compare his campaign rhetoric with his post-election decisions, and to chronicle post-election moves made by state and local governments where authorities may feel emboldened to push the boundaries of their power and our laws.

While we are dutifully reporting on the presidential transition, we should also dig out our helmets and flack jackets, harden our legal defenses, and get ready for the coming war on transparency. Here are eight steps to take immediately:

Rebuild sources: Call every source you’ve ever had who is either still in government or still connected to those who are. Touch base, renew old connections, and remind folks that you’re all ears.

Join forces: Triangulate tips and sources across the newsroom, like we did after 9/11, when reporting became more difficult.

Make outside partnerships: Reporting organizations outside your own newspaper, especially those abroad and with international reach, can help uncover the moves being considered and implemented in foreign countries.

Discover the first family: Now part of the White House team, Donald Trump’s children and son-in-law are an important target for deep-dive reporting into their own financial holdings and their professional and personal records.

Renew the hunt: Find those tax filings!

Out disinformation: Find a way to take on the many false news sites that now hold a destructive sway over some Americans.

Create a war chest: Donate and persuade your news organization to donate large sums to legal defense organizations preparing to jump in with legal challenges the moment Trump moves against access, or worse. The two groups that come to mind are the Reporters’ Committee for Freedom of the Press and the American Civil Liberties Union. Encourage your senior editors to get ready for the inevitable, quickly.

Be grateful: Celebrate your freedom to do hard-hitting, illuminating work by doing much more of it.


Dana Priest is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning national security reporter at The Washington Post and the John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism at the University of Maryland’s journalism school. She is the co-founder of PressUncuffed.org, an organization promoting student research and journalism on press freedom issues and working to free imprisoned journalists abroad.

Knight Chair Dana Priest Honored with Zenger Award

Dana Priest headshot

Adapted from a University of Arizona press release.

TUCSON, Ariz. (Oct. 21) – Merrill College Knight Chair Dana Priest has been honored with the John Peter Zenger Award for Press Freedom by the University of Arizona.

Priest accepted the award Friday night during a gala event in Tucson.

A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Priest was honored for her work at the Washington Post exposing secret prisons and the poor treatment of wounded soldiers.

“Dana Priest epitomizes what journalism is all about – courage, truth-seeking, holding those in power accountable, and providing people the information they need to adequately self-govern,” said David Cuillier, director of the journalism school.

About the John Peter Zenger Award

Given by the University of Arizona since 1954, the award is named after John Peter and Anna Catherine Zenger and honors journalists who fight for freedom of the press and the people’s right to know.

Writing by email after being told of the award last May, Priest wrote, “Today is World Press Freedom Day, which makes me particularly grateful to be receiving this award from the UA School of Journalism.” She added, “The school’s award-winning work is an example of American journalism at its finest and a reminder of the power of investigative reporting to change lives.”

Past winners include Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, Bill Moyers, Walter Cronkite and Associated Press foreign correspondent Kathy Gannon, who returned to reporting this year after being wounded in a 2014 attack in Afghanistan.

On the set of UA's PBS MetroWeek news and public affairs program with host Andrea Kelly at Univ of Arizona at Tucson. Priest was Speaking about Russian attempts to influence US elections and talking to journalism students.

On the set of MetroWeek – a PBS news and public affairs program – with host Andrea Kelly at Univ of Arizona at Tucson. Priest was speaking about Russian attempts to influence U.S. elections and talking to journalism students. Photo: Dana Priest.

About Dana Priest

Priest won a 2006 Pulitzer for uncovering secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe and a 2008 Pulitzer for reporting on deplorable conditions for veterans at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington. She also is a John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

A three-time Pulitzer finalist, Priest is an alumna of UC Santa Cruz and is the author of two best-selling books: “The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace with America’s Military” (2003), and “Top Secret America: The Rise of the National Security State” (2010). The first book was a Pulitzer finalist and is still used in military academies. The second, developed into a “Frontline” documentary, covered the buildup in top-secret intelligence organizations in the aftermath of Sept. 11.