Cal Poly to Host Nov. 4 Film Screening and Discussion with Journalist John Walcott

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly will host a film screening and discussion Nov. 4 with journalist and author John Walcott, whose efforts to guide a team of reporters to pursue the truth during the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq is now at the center of a Rob Reiner film.

The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 4, in Spanos Theatre.

Reiner’s 2018 film “Shock and Awe” tells the story of Walcott and his reporters as they search for the truth behind the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. Several media outlets at the time reported that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. But Walcott, who was then the Washington, D.C., bureau chief for Knight Ridder newspapers, led a group of reporters who were discovering otherwise and went out on a limb to report the story.   

Walcott will be on campus for a viewing of the film and a guided discussion afterward with journalism professor and former KCOY news reporter Patti Piburn. They will discuss the relationship between the U.S. government and the news media — then and today.

This CLA Speaks event, sponsored by Cal Poly’s College of Liberal Arts (CLA) and the Journalism Department, is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required, and seating is open.

Founded in 2015, CLA Speaks is the annual speaker series for the college. This interdisciplinary series showcases the ways that disciplines in the CLA shape important and meaningful conversations about our world, our cultures and our imagination. 

About John Walcott
Walcott is a contributing editor at Time. Prior to Time, he was foreign policy and national security editor at Thomson Reuters, team leader for national security and foreign affairs at Bloomberg News and chief content officer and editor-in-chief of SmartBrief.

He has been McClatchy’s Washington bureau chief, foreign editor and national editor of U.S. News & World Report, national security correspondent at The Wall Street Journal and a correspondent at Newsweek. He is the inaugural winner of the I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard and was also the Knight Ridder Washington bureau chief. His work has won the Edward M. Hood Award and the Freedom of the Press Award from the National Press Club and three Overseas Press Club awards.

In 2005, he was part of a team that won a National Headliners Award for “How the Bush Administration Went to War in Iraq.” He is co-author of the book “Best Laid Plans: The Inside Story of America’s War Against Terrorism.”

CLA Speaks:

Contact: Rachel Schultz

October 9, 2019

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