Published: June 19, 2019

"Consider this talk a protest."


These words were delivered by CU News Corps Director Chuck Plunkett as he took the stage at TEDxMileHigh in Denver to speak about the importance of local news to democracy.


"When I started at the Denver Post in 2003, it was among the country's 10 largest newspapers, with an impressive subscriber base and nearly 300 journalists," said Plunkett, formerly the paper's editorial page editor, during his talk. 


In May of 2018, Plunkett made national headlines for critiquing the Post’s hedge fund owners after a series of layoffs and budget cuts ravaged the paper’s newsroom. His resignation, which came about one month later, prompted much of the newsroom to protest in the form of an employee walk-out.


Since then, Plunkett, who now works in CMCI's Department of Journalism, has been honored by the National Press Club, Colby College, ACLU, University of Denver and Colorado Association of Libraries.


Several other CMCI faculty also presented their research at TEDx events on and off campus this year, including Assoicate Professor Elizabeth Skewes and Assistant Professor Ross Taylor, who both presented at TEDxCU in the spring.


Skewes––chair of the Department of Journalism and interim chair of the Department of Advertising, Public Relations and Media Design––has studied politics for over 30 years as a scholar and former political reporter. In her talk, she spoke about the importance of media literacy, specifically during election cycles, and offered practical steps people can take to ensure they’re consuming quality media.


“Misinformation and disinformation is a huge problem, and one that we are going to face in the next election cycle,” she saidi. “And it’s up to us to do something about it.”


Taylor, an assistant professor of journalism who has traveled the world as a photo and video journalist, spoke about his work documenting people—often during the moments when they are most vulnerable.


His career was shaped, he said, by a moment that happened two decades ago while photographing a little league baseball game.


“It’s right then that I knew that if expressed my purpose more clearly to other people—and that if that intent was clear—they would allow me to document the most intimate moments of their life,” he said. “It’s changed me. I’ve become a more empathetic person. It’s also helped me be a more effective communicator.”


TEDxMileHigh will take place Saturday, June 22, at the Buell Theater. Tickets are available to the public on the TEDxMileHigh website, along with information about other featured speakers.