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Former New York Times journalist to examine legal, media issues of Oklahoma City bombing in next IJPM lecture Feb. 9

February 03, 2009

Sara Miller
(315) 443-9038

Sara Miller

On Monday, Feb. 9, Jo Thomas, former national reporter, foreign correspondent and assistant national editor for The New York Times, will present "Legal and Media Issues in the Nation's Largest Domestic Terrorism Trials: The Oklahoma City Bombing." Thomas' lecture is part of the spring "Law, Politics and the Media" lecture series presented by the Institute for the Study of the Judiciary, Politics and the Media (IJPM). Her lecture, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 3:50-5:10 p.m. in Room 204 at the Syracuse University College of Law. Parking is available in SU pay lots.

Jo ThomasThomas reported for The New York Times for 26 years, working as a national reporter, a foreign correspondent and assistant national editor out of offices in New York, Washington, Miami, London and Denver. She has covered stories in 49 states and has reported from Europe, South Africa, the Caribbean, Central America and Australia. Her specialty was investigations, among them government death squads in Northern Ireland, cancer-causing rice in Puerto Rico and the Olympic scandal in Salt Lake City.

In 1995, she led the Times' Oklahoma City bombing investigation and covered both federal trials in Denver. She shared the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for reporting on the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Before joining the Times, she reported for the Cincinnati Post and Times-Star, where her reports on abuses in inner-city housing laws resulted in reform by the state legislature. She also worked for the Detroit Free Press, where her exposé of the underworld takeover of the steel hauling business resulted in grand jury investigations and extortion convictions for three of those involved. Her exposé on plans for experimental psychosurgery on mental patients in prison resulted in a landmark legal decision banning such experimentation.

She retired from SU as associate chancellor and professor of journalism, but still collaborates with Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor on some major speeches. She is now writing a memoir.

The American judicial system today operates in a complex environment of legal principle, political pressure and media coverage. The goal of the "Law, Politics and the Media" lecture series is to provide an introduction to the court system and its environment as a single, integrated subject of study. Throughout the spring semester, sitting judges, practicing lawyers and working journalists will be featured speakers. The lecture series is part of an interdisciplinary course on law, politics and the media that is cross-listed between the College of Law, the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. The course is taught by SU professors Keith Bybee (IJPM director), Lisa Dolak (IJPM associate director) and Mark Obbie (IJPM associate director), and funded through support from the John Ben Snow Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Launched in September 2006, IJPM is an academic institute devoted to the interdisciplinary study of issues at the intersection of law, politics and the media. A collaborative effort of the College of Law, Maxwell School and Newhouse School, the institute sponsors lectures, conferences and symposia designed to foster discussion and debate among legal scholars, sitting judges and working journalists.

For more information on the "Law, Politics and the Media" lecture series and IJPM, visit

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