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Abbey Speaker Series: Journalism and Democracy

UNC Program for Public Discourse's Abbey Speaker Series, Spring 2022 series

On April 5th at 5:30 p.m., the UNC Program for Public Discourse brings together journalists from local and national publications for Journalism and Democracy, a hybrid Abbey Speaker Series event.

Registration for in-person and online attendance is available here.


A headshot of McKay CoppinsMcKay Coppinsis a journalist and author currently working as a staff writer at The Atlantic, covering journalism, religion, and Republican politics. Coppins has written for numerous publications, including Newsweek, The New York Times, and Buzzfeed News, where he covered the Romney and Trump presidential campaigns. In 2015, Coppins authored The Wilderness, which chronicled changes in the Republican party in the wake of the 2012 election. Recently, Coppins published an exposé detailing the purchase and closure of local newspapers by financial firms and the negative impact on the communities they serve.  


Nafari VanaskiNafari Vanaski is a freelance writer and former journalist who worked in newspapers for 17 years. After graduating from Hampton University in 1999, Vanaski worked variously as a copy editor, news editor, and columnist for publications in southeastern North Carolina and Pittsburgh, including Star-News and the Pittsburg Tribune-Review. In 2016, Vanaski left the newspaper industry, later describing her negative experiences with editors when reporting on police brutality and how objectivity is often cited to avoid accurately recounting the realities of racism as a reason for her departure. 


John HoodJohn Hood ’88 is president of the John William Pope Foundation and a syndicated columnist covering politics and public policy whose work appears regularly in newspapers servicing over 50 North Carolina communities. In addition to writing for national outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, Hood has authored seven nonfiction books covering topics in advertising, business, political history, and public policy. Hood currently teaches at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and holds a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s in liberal studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.



A headshot of Molly WorthenMolly Worthen is an associate professor of history in the Department of History and a freelance journalist. Her research focuses on North American religious and intellectual history, and she teaches courses in global Christianity, North American religious and intellectual culture, and the history of politics and ideology. Worthen is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times and has written about religion and politics for The New Yorker, Slate, The American Prospect, Foreign Policy, and other publications. Her current book project focuses on the history of charisma in America.



Registration for in-person and online attendance is available here.