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LearningLife and MinnPost kick off newsmaker interview series

MnPst_LL_Logos_410x305.jpgApril 12 marks the launch of MinnPost Asks Presented by LearningLife, a new current events discussion series produced by the College of Continuing Education in partnership with MinnPost.

The bi-monthly series will focus on hot-button issues, addressed by one or two newsmakers, a MinnPost journalist, and a U of M faculty expert. A moderated public Q&A will follow each panel's discussion.

Said Margy Ligon, director for the College's personal enrichment programs, "This format will allow people to hear about the issues from several angles. The newsmakers, obviously, and then the journalist and the faculty member who will be serving in the 'interviewer' roles. The reporter will typically tackle the issue from the 'right now' perspective--he or she will have the latest information and breaking news on the topic. The professor offers a historical perspective and brings the academic insight."

"The goal is to gather experts and newsmakers together for a real discussion, for a civil debate on the issues. We want to tackle those issues from a local level, and see how they are affecting our region and our lives."

Joel Kramer, CEO and editor of MinnPost, said: "We're thrilled to partner with LearningLife. We encourage civil discussion from many points of view--as does LearningLife. Our audience cares about Minnesota--as yours does. Together, we'll combine the resources of a high-quality news site and a great university, for the benefit of a wider community."

For the April 12 kick-off event, The Marriage Amendment: The Meaning Behind the Messages, Richard Carlbom, executive director of Minnesotans United for All Families (the anti-amendment coalition), will be interviewed by MinnPost journalist Beth Hawkins and University of Minnesota Communications Studies Department Chair Ed Schiappa.

(Please note that an invitation to participate was extended to Minnesota for Marriage, the pro-amendment coalition. The invitation was declined but remains open. Other pro-amendment groups were also invited to participate, but did not respond.)

The discussion will focus on messaging being used in Minnesota and elsewhere by groups fighting for and against the amendment. Video clips will be shown and analyzed.

Tickets are $25 ($15 for MinnPost and Learning Circle members). All events will begin at 7 p.m. and will be held at the Continuing Education and Conference Center on the U of M St. Paul campus.

The new series is not the first partnership between the two organizations. MinnPost has long been a media sponsor for LearningLife events, so the pairing seemed very natural, said Ligon. "They have been a wonderful media partner for LearningLife, and their original MinnPost Asks series featured some great speakers, including University President Eric Kaler, and interesting discussions. Partnering with them allows us to take our programming in a new direction."

She continued, "It's a very collaborative effort and a good way to keep in touch with the community around us. By combining the U's distinctive faculty and the great roster of reporters at MinnPost we can present these topics to our lifelong learners in a way that neither of us could have done alone."

For tickets, call 612-624-4000 or register online.

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