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Carlos Kelly McClatchy Memorial Lectures and Symposia

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The Carlos Kelly McClatchy Memorial Lectures and Symposia were established in 1964 to bring Stanford University distinguished national and world leaders in the field of journalism. Its purpose is to give students a first hand insight into the responsibilities of journalism in a democratic society and to stimulate critical thinking about the performance of the mass media in the world today.

Carlos Kelly McClatchy
Carlos Kelly McClatchy

Carlos Kelly McClatchy (1891-1933) was born in Sacramento, CA. The son of the editor of the Sacramento Bee, he began his newspaper career following graduation from Columbia University. During World War I, he served with distinction with a California infantry regiment in France, earning his captaincy via a field promotion “in recognition of his gallantry” during the battle of the Argonne Forest. Following the Armistice, McClatchy returned to Sacramento to cover political campaigns, write editorials, and serve as the paper’s national correspondent in Washington, D.C. In 1922, he founded the Fresno Bee which he edited until his death. In 1923 he became general manager of the McClatchy Newspapers, and a few years later played a central role in the development of the McClatchy radio system. From 1922 until his death, McClatchy continued to build a reputation as an aggressive independent editor, always willing to challenge entrenched viewpoints. At his death, the Fresno Bee wrote that the West had lost “one of the most brilliant, progressive and dynamic of its newspaper personalities.”

56th Carlos Kelly McClatchy Symposium:
Opinion Writing in a Polarized Age: A Conversation with Bret Stephens

For generations, opinion writers at major U.S. newspapers were agenda setters, shaping how Americans thought about pressing policy issues. How has the role of the columnist changed amid a proliferation of news outlets, increasingly toxic and rampant polarization, and the explosion of social media, which enables anyone with an opinion to share it widely? What value do commentators have in 2023 and how do they navigate the new media ecosystem to have impact?

The 2023 McClatchy Symposium is a discussion between New York Times Op-ed columnist Bret Stephens and Janine Zacharia, the Carlos Kelly McClatchy Lecturer in Stanford’s Department of Communication. Bret Stephens is an op-ed columnist for the New York Times. He previously spent 16 years at the Wall Street Journal, most notably writing "Global View," the foreign-affairs column, for which he was awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary. 


55th Carlos Kelly McClatchy Symposium: Reporting About or Reporting For

Journalists writing about the working class often rely on stereotypes. The 2022 McClatchy Symposium focuses on how more nuanced portraits of an often-overlooked community are essential for effective storytelling and accountability. Discussion highlights how technologies like text messaging can be used to build relationships with audiences and to discover stories.

Panelists: Heather Bryant, Interim Executive Director, Tiny News Collaborative, Candice Fortman, Executive Director, Outlier Media, Farah Stockman, Editorial Board Member, The New York Times, and author of American Made: What Happens to People When Work Disappears.  

Moderated by Janine Zacharia, the Carlos Kelly McClatchy Lecturer in the Stanford Department of Communication.

54th Carlos Kelly McClatchy Symposium

A Conversation about the New York Times 1619 Project. Featuring New York Times correspondent Nikole Hannah-Jones and writer Kiese Laymon. Moderated by JSK managing director Michael Bolden. Watch the video.

53rd Carlos Kelly McClatchy Symposium

A conversation with Bob Woodward. Woodward discusses his reporting from Nixon to Trump and the challenges confronting the press, the presidency, and American democracy. Watch the video.

52nd Carlos Kelly McClatchy Symposium

“Virtual Reality, Real Implications: How VR will shape people, business, and government” features Courtney Cogburn (Columbia University), Tom Wheeler (former head of the FCC), and Philip Rosedale (High Fidelity).

51st Carlos Kelly McClatchy Symposium

“Under Threat: The Future of Foreign Correspondence” features NPR Foreign Editor William Dobson, BuzzFeed International News Editor Miriam Elder, and New York Times Foreign Editor Michael Slackman. Moderated by the Communication Department’s Janine Zacharia.

49th Carlos Kelly McClatchy Symposium

Corruption: Who Plays? Who Pays?

Zephyr Teachout, Derek Willis, Justin Grimmer

April 16, 2015

even worse comic

48th Carlos Kelly McClatchy Symposium

It’s Even Worse Than It Looks

Thomas E. Mann, Norman J. Ornstein, Benjamin Ginsberg, Jane Schacter

May 22, 2014

Floyd Abrams

Floyd Abrams speaks as McClatchy Fellow

From the Pentagon Papers to WikiLeaks

Floyd Abrams

April 24, 2013

Whym Obama Won

2012 McClatchy Symposium

The 2012 Elections: Why Obama Won and the Implications for Governance

Dan Balz, Matthew Kaminski, David Brady, Douglas Rivers, Shanto Iyengar

November 26, 2012

hashtagged feature

46th Carlos Kelly McClatchy Memorial Symposium

#Hashtagged: How Social Media are Revolutionizing the News

Krishna Bharat, Andy Carvin, Susan Mernit, Will Tacy, James Bettinger

May 17, 2012

Public Broadcasting

2011 McClatchy Symposium

Does Public Broadcasting Have a Future?

Tim Olson, Dan Werner, Ulrich Wilhelm and Shanto Iyengar. Moderated by Gerhard Casper.

November 1, 2011


45th Carlos Kelly McClatchy Memorial Symposium

Washington Showdown: Budget Battles and Partisan Interests

Susan Davis, John Harris, David Leonhardt, David W. Brady

May 3, 2011

News Inclusion

2010 McClatchy Symposium

News and Inclusion: Journalism and the Politics of Diversity

March 4, 2010

Future of Journalism

44th Carlos Kelly McClatchy Memorial Symposium

New Times: The Future of Journalism

Philip Balboni, Alberto Ibarguen, Paul Steiger, Martin Nisenholtz and Joel Brinkley

October 22, 2009