Speaker Series welcomes Dionne, Hessler, Khalid

The Media School Report • Feb. 23, 2017
Press Release
George Vlahakis
Senior News
and Media Specialist
IU Communications
Anne Kibbler
Director of Communications
and Media Relations
The Media School

For immediate release
BLOOMINGTON — Award-winning print, audio and magazine storytellers are featured in the school’s spring Speaker Series, guest lectures that are free and open to the public.

Syndicated political columnist E.J. Dionne, author and New Yorker correspondent Peter Hessler and WBUR reporter Asma Khalid will speak in March and April on topics ranging from the 2016 election cycle to China’s global influence.

“This semester, our Speaker Series is stronger than ever, with first rate media practitioners who have covered the world,” said James Shanahan, dean of The Media School. “Our students and the IU community will benefit immeasurably, now more than ever in a time where the very foundations of journalism are being questioned.”

Here’s the lineup:

E.J. Dionne, The Washington Post
“Lee Hamilton Wouldn’t Recognize the Place: What Has Become of Politics in Washington?”
5:30 p.m. March 28, Presidents Hall, Franklin Hall

Syndicated columnist E.J. Dionne. (Courtesy Paul Morigi)
Syndicated columnist E.J. Dionne. (Courtesy photo)

E.J. Dionne is an author and syndicated columnist for The Washington Post whose work is grounded in years of reporting on government and politics on local, national and international levels.

The Massachusetts native started his career at The New York Times, where he spent 14 years on the politics beat in Paris, Rome and Beirut. He joined The Washington Post in 1990 to cover national politics, then launched his column, now syndicated and appearing in more than 100 newspapers in the U.S. and abroad. His reputation for keen political analysis has led to appearances as a commentator on NPR, CNN and NBC, among others.

Dionne is author of six books, including Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism From Goldwater to Trump and Beyond, published in 2016.

In his career, Dionne has amassed dozens of awards, including the American Political Science Association’s Carey McWilliams Award, which honors journalistic contributions to the understanding of politics, and the Sidney Hillman Foundation’s Hillman Award for Career Achievement.

Dionne is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and is a professor at Georgetown University, where he teaches in the McCourt School of Public Policy.

While at IU, he will receive the Lee H. Hamilton Public Service Fellowship, presented by former U.S. Congressman Lee Hamilton, a distinguished scholar in IU’s School of Global and International Studies.

Peter Hessler, The New Yorker
“Learning to Speak Lingerie: Chinese Entrepreneurs in Egypt and the Chinese Worldview”
6 p.m. April 12, Global and International Studies Building Auditorium (GA0001)

Writer Peter Hessler (Courtesy photo)
Writer Peter Hessler (Courtesy photo)

Peter Hessler is a staff writer at The New Yorker and contributor to National Geographic who has drawn on his international experiences for several books, including a trilogy exploring his decade in China.

Hessler first traveled to China with the Peace Corps in 1996. For two years, he taught literature at Fuling Teachers College, an experience he detailed in his first book, River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze.

He joined The New Yorker in 2000 as the magazine’s correspondent in China. His “Letters from China” articles featured people such as NBA star Yao Ming, factory workers and rural families, and addressed China’s fast-changing culture.

Two more books followed: Oracle Bones (2006), a finalist for the National Book Award, which juxtaposes contemporary events with ancient archaeology in China; and the third book of the trilogy, Country Driving (2010), which explores economic development and China’s urbanization.

Hessler won the American Society of Magazine Editors excellence in reporting award for “China’s Instant Cities,” published in National Geographic. In 2011, he was named a MacArthur Fellow.

Hessler now lives in Cairo, where he covers revolution, politics and cultural change. His visit is part of the campus-wide China Remixed series of programs and events sponsored by the IU Arts & Humanities Council.

Asma Khalid, WBUR
“From a Presidential Election to Podcasts: The Future of News”
2 p.m. April 21, Presidents Hall, Franklin Hall

WBUR reporter Asma Khalid (Courtesy Stephen Voss/NPR)
WBUR reporter Asma Khalid (Courtesy Stephen Voss/NPR)

Reporter Asma Khalid has covered issues ranging from politics and demographics to the Boston Marathon bombings to the trial of James “Whitey” Bulger for NPR and for WBUR in Boston.

Khalid joined NPR’s election team to focus on stories leading up to the 2016 election cycles, some of which were included in NPR’s Politics Podcast. She explored how the Puerto Rico fiscal crisis would influence the Florida vote and interviewed “new millennials,” Obama-era young adults who would cast their first votes for president in 2016.

Khalid also used data to dig into demographic trends, such as the Perfect State Index she created to find the most “representative” U.S. state ahead of the 2016 primary season.

After the election, Khalid drew attention with her essay, “What It Was Like to Cover the Election as a Muslim,” where she described public reaction as she traveled the country talking to all kinds of voters, and attending town halls and rallies, church suppers and diners.

Khalid now is back at WBUR where, after witnessing technology’s effects on policy and politics, she leads BostonomiX, a new business and tech team exploring the innovation economy.

Previously, she worked as a producer for NPR’s Morning Edition, was an NPR reporting fellow and was a reporter for WAMU, NPR’s affiliate in Washington, D.C.

Khalid, a 2006 graduate of the IU journalism program, received a master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Cambridge.

While visiting campus, Khalid will receive the IU Hutton Honors College Young Distinguished Alumni Award.


Since its inception in 2006, the Speaker Series has brought many top names in media to the IU campus, including NPR’s television critic Eric Deggans, PBS Newshour’s Margaret Warner, Sage Steele of ESPN and author Gay Talese, among others.