New England News Forum to Co-Present a Symposium on Impact, Media Coverage of Casino Gambling

AMHERST, Mass. – The New England News Forum, based at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, will co-sponsor a free, public symposium that will assess the impact and reporting of casino gambling in New England on Tuesday, March 11 at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. Public officials, journalists, researchers and a top industry executive will participate.

Participants will include Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut attorney general; Barry Cragen, interim president of the Foxwoods casino in southeastern Connecticut; Dan O’Connell, Massachusetts secretary of economic development, and Maura Casey, editorial writer for The New York Times.

“The Big Gamble: The Costs, Benefits and Coverage of Casinos,” will be held at 7 p.m. in the Mancheski Executive Seminar Room at the Lender School of Business Center at Quinnipiac University. Co-sponsors are the School of Communication at Quinnipiac University and the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling. The event will be preceded by a 6 p.m. reception and screening of a movie about student gamblers.

The decision by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to push for his state to issue as many as three casino gambling licenses to private operators raised key questions for New England media and citizens. “We wanted to convene an evening seminar that will take a thoughtful look at Connecticut’s experience to see what lessons might be learned by Massachusetts,” said Bill Densmore, director of the New England News Forum. “How have Connecticut media covered the state’s gambling industry? What have been the challenges? How is the state’s media affected by the industry — by its money, advertising, taxes and employment?”

The symposium will be presented as two half-hour panels, followed by a moderated, hour of audience participation. “We’ll convene a lively discussion starting with the insights of our panelists, then move rapid-fire to some topical input from additional participants, and wrap up with an open audience question-and-answer period,” said Densmore.

The New England News Forum received a two-year grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation last year to experiment with new forms of citizen-media accountability and dialog. For more information and to register for the pre-event reception, visit http://www.newenglandnews.org/?q=gambling.

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