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UA Little Rock professor to lead April 5 panel on Media and Polarization

Dr. April Chatham-Carpenter
Dr. April Chatham-Carpenter

A University of Arkansas at Little Rock professor will lead a panel discussion on how members of the media affect the polarization of politics. 

Dr. April Chatham-Carpenter, chair of the Department of Applied Communication at UA Little Rock, will moderate the “Media and Polarization” panel discussion held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 5, via Zoom.

The panel will feature Philip Martin of the Democrat Gazette; Donna Stephens, journalism professor at the University of Central Arkansas; Gwen Moritz, editor of Arkansas Business; and Wesley Brown, publisher of the Daily Record. The panelists will share their views about the media’s influence on political polarization. Attendees will then have an opportunity to ask questions.

The panel is sponsored by the UA Little Rock Department of Applied Communication, the Main Library of the Central Arkansas Library System, and by Braver Angels of Arkansas, a nonprofit organization Chatham-Carpenter co-leads along with Glen White, a semi-retired psychologist who will also serve as a moderator for the panel.

“I chose to get involved in Braver Angels because the mission of the organization is consistent with my UA Little Rock department’s mission to ‘co-create better social worlds through positive communication,’” Chatham-Carpenter said. “As a member of this organization, I am dedicated to working towards depolarization within relationships, and recognize that the news we consume plays an important part in what we believe about the other side. Americans are increasingly divided into bubbles and echo chambers with limited exposure to the other side, consuming news that confirms their opinions and stereotypes. I am hoping that this panel will help bring to our level of awareness what we can do as citizens to better educate ourselves about these issues.”

Launched in 2016, Braver Angels is an organization that brings Red and Blue Americans together in a working alliance. Recent polls show that a majority of Americans feel the country is more divided than ever. Through programs and workshops, Braver Angels creates opportunities for meaningful discussion among members of opposing political parties.

“Our goal is not to push an agenda or change participants’ minds, but rather, to encourage respectful discussions among those who value our country and its people over a political party,” White said.   

The event is free and open to the public. Please visit the following link to register for the panel discussion.