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Navigating Information in a Post-Truth Era

What is it like to come into adulthood in a time of marked distrust of the media and science and cynicism about government and other institutions? How do you  develop ideas about a whole range of personal and public-policy issues at a time when "research" yields biased, often commercial, and even faked information? This conference explores major issues with finding reliable, trustworthy information in our time, looking at media, politics, science, and information literacy, as well as hot topics in different fields.

Videos from the Conference 

Select conference presentations and events were recorded and are offered for your viewing below:

How Newsrooms Navigate Ethical Issues
Scott Libin, Hubbard Journalism Professor at UMN & former newsroom director

Ethical Obligations to Speak the Truth
Richard Painter, Chief ethics counsel for George W. Bush & UMN Professor of Law


Behavioral Science and Our Worldviews
Jerry Nagel & Kathy Jourdain, Worldview Intelligence

Do We Live in Social Media Echo Chambers?
Eugene Borgida, University of Minnesota Psychology Professor


An all-day, all-campus conference Thursday, March 22, 2018

Free and open to the public.

This conference is organized by ICC's Associate of Arts Program, with support from the Blandin Foundation and cosponsorship from the Grand Rapids Human Rights Commission and the Grand Rapids Area Library.

Full Schedule (Download) 

Schedule Overview

Time Date Event
7:30pm Wednesday, March 21 Richard Painter: Ethical obligations to speak the truth | Chucker Auditorium, Davies Hall
8:30am Thursday, March 22 Suzanne Starr: Truthfulness visualization/yoga session (no pad needed), ICC Library
9:00am-12:00pm Thursday, March 22 Concurrent Sessions (see Speaker/Topic List below)
12:00pm-1:00pm Thursday, March 22 Pasta lunch in Viking Grill & Eatery, Backes Center - $6.50 (FREE for first 300 ICC students + free for presenters)
1:00pm-3:00pm Thursday, March 22 Concurrent Sessions (see Speaker/Topic List below)
3:30pm Thursday, March 22 Building Bridges Variety Show, Chucker Auditorium
6:00pm Thursday, March 22 Eugene Borgida: Social media echo chambers, Grand Rapids Area Library

Speaker/Topic List 

Unless otherwise noted, events are on March 22 at Itasca Community College. When more than one time is listed, speaker is doing a repeat session.

Note that this list is incomplete and may change.

Richard Painter
Chief ethics counsel for George W. Bush & UMN Professor of Law

7:30 pm Wed., March 21 | Chucker Auditorium
10:00 am & 11:00 am, March 22 | Chucker Auditorium

Ethical obligations to speak the truth

What are the legal and ethical requirements for the president and other elected officials to tell the truth, and what is the legal recourse if they don’t?

Richard Painter is the S. Walter Richey Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Minnesota Law School. From February 2005 to July 2007, he was the chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, White House employees, and senior nominees to Senate-confirmed positions in the executive branch. He is a member of the American Law Institute and is a reporter for the new ALI Principles of Government Ethics.

Richard Painter

He has also been active in the Professional Responsibility Section of the American Bar Association. He is a board member and vice chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington as well as a founding board member of Take Back our Republic, a campaign finance reform organization. Painter’s books focus on ethics, including Getting the Government America Deserves: How Ethics Reform Can Make a Difference published 2009 and Taxation only with Representation: The Conservative Conscience and Campaign Finance Reform (2016).

Jerry Nagel & Kathy Jourdain
Worldview Intelligence

9:00 am | Johnson 112/113
Behavioral Science and our Worldviews

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm | Johnson Hall 104
World Café discussion/workshop:  “Exploring my Worldview” 

“Behavioral Science and our Worldviews – Exploring What Behavioral Science Tells Us about How We Take in Information and Why It Is So Hard to Change Our minds or Anyone Else’s” (a talk); plus (with Kathy Jourdain) a two-hour World Café discussion:  “Exploring my Worldview” (Join in interactive conversations on how our life experiences influence how we interpret the world around us and how we can use that awareness to improve our conversations with others) (2-hour workshop session)

Jerry Nagel and Kathy Jourdain are the cofounders of Worldview Intelligence. Jerry’s PhD research and dissertation on Worldviews forms a foundation for the Worldview Intelligence work. Jerry is President of the Meadowlark Institute, an organization committed to developing individual and collective capacity to be flexible during times of rapid change, to be comfortable with uncertainty, to hold multiple points of view simultaneously, and engage in meaningful conversations with those who hold different traditions, values and goals. 

Kathy Jourdain is a co-developer of the Worldview Intelligence(TM) programs, offerings and curriculum with Jerry Nagel, PhD, consulting with senior leadership, executive and management teams in a broad range of organizations and communities. Kathy is a steward and practitioner of the Art of Hosting Conversations That Matter which has her traveling internationally, most often to the United States and Brazil from her home in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Her first book, Embracing the Stranger in Me: A Journey to Openheartedness was published in 2013.

Eugene Borgida
University of Minnesota Psychology Professor

9:00 am | Chucker Auditorium, ICC
1:00 pm | Johnson Hall 115/116, ICC
6:00 pm | Grand Rapids Area Library

“Do We Live in Social-Media Echo Chambers, Why, and at What Cost?” 

The widespread prevalence and persistence of misinformation in our society is affecting everyday and political discourse. What can psychological science tell us about the mechanisms (unintended or highly motivated) by which misinformation is disseminated today? Humans are motivated reasoners – we readily accept information that fits with our prior beliefs and values, and carefully scrutinize and find reasons to criticize or reject evidence that challenges them. We increasingly find ourselves in echo chambers as a result of this selective exposure and ideological segregation. 

Gene Borgida

To what extent is misinformation resistant to correction and what can psychological research tell us about effective strategies for debunking and debiasing misinformation? Professor Borgida’s presentation will address all of these questions and issues.

Eugene Borgida is Professor of Psychology and Law at the University of Minnesota. He is a Morse-Alumni Distinguished Professor of Psychology In addition, Borgida has served as Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Political Psychology, which he co-founded, and Co-Editor of the journal, Political Psychology. He has received several teaching and research awards and serves in leadership positions in professional organizations. Borgida's research interests include social cognition, attitudes and persuasion, psychology and law, and political psychology.

Brian Lambert
Former MinnPost and St. Paul Pioneer Press media reporter

9:00 am | Johnson Hall 115/116
The Fake News Phenomenon

The history and evolution of fake news since the 1980s and the challenges the “real” media have in identifying and counterbalancing it.


Brian Lambert has been a Twin Cities-area journalist since 1978. He was editor of the Twin Cities Reader, then the media columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and MinnPost.com as well as a talk radio host for KTLK-FM and FM107 in Minneapolis-St.Paul.

Brian Lambert

He was twice selected “Best Writer at a Local Daily” by City Pages, the alternative weekly.

Kimberly Johnson
Itasca County Public Health Nurse

9:00 am | Johnson Hall 103
Safety & Effectiveness of Vaccinations


I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from the University of Minnesota, Rochester Campus. I have been a nurse for 11 years and have worked in many areas including cardiac, medical/surgical, pediatrics, emergency department, and labor and delivery. I came to Itasca County Public Health in 2013 and have been working as the Itasca County Vaccine Program Coordinator in Itasca County since 2014. Some of my other duties in Public Health include being the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, the Itasca County Toward Zero Deaths Coalition Coordinator, the Health Education Coordinator and working in our WIC office. I live in Cohasset with my husband and two children.

Kimberly Johnson

Panel Presentation with Jess Hartshorn, DNR Research Scientist; Steve Sebestyen, USFS Northern Research Station Research Scientist; and Courney Kerns, Wildlife Biologist

9:00am | Media Center 125
What is the Peer-Review Process in Academic Research and What Makes it the Most Reliable Information Available?


Steve Sebestyen


Jess Hartshorn is a Forest Health Specialist with the MN DNR and a part-time instructor in the Natural Resources Department at ICC. She received her B.S. in Zoology and Chemistry from Southern Illinois University. She holds a M.S. and Ph.D. in Forest Entomology from the University of Arkansas.

Steve Sebestyen is a research hydrologist for the US Forest Service Northern Research Station. His work includes investigating ecosystem responses to climate change, atmospheric deposition, disturbance, and forest management practices. He is an investigator in the SPRUCE Experiment (Spruce and Peatland Response Under Climatic and Environmental change), a large-scale, experiment in which above- and below-ground temperatures are being manipulated in a black spruce-Sphagnum bog at the Marcell Experimental Forest, a forest with a 50-year legacy of research.

Courtney Kerns has worked a variety of natural resources positions over the past 20 years, from the Atlantic coast to the western Great Plains, with emphases on grassland birds and forest ecology. She is currently a natural resources contractor living in Grand Rapids.

Scott Libin
Hubbard Journalism Professor at UMN & former newsroom director

10:00 am | Johnson Hall 115/116
How newsrooms navigate ethical issues

Scott Libin has three decades of experience as a journalist, including jobs on camera and behind the scenes, as a news director and as an educator. In 2014, Scott joined the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication from Internet Broadcasting in St. Paul, Minn., where he had been vice president of news and content since 2011. At IB, Scott led a newsroom serving top television stations from Boston to Honolulu. Scott has led newsrooms including WCCO-TV and KSTP-TV in the Twin Cities. He has twice been a full-time member of the resident faculty at The Poynter Institute, and has trained journalists from Newfoundland to South Africa to China. Scott began his career as a congressional press secretary and as a bureau reporter in Washington, D.C. Scott is chairman of the Radio Television Digital News Association and past chairman of the RTDNA Ethics Committee. 
Scott Libin

Kristin Klinefelter 

10:00 am | Johnson Hall 103
Nutrition Fact or Fiction?

We are bombarded with health information on a daily basis.  In a world where information is a swipe away, we need to know how to navigate the truth and make decisions for our long-term health.  This talk will cover current fads and trends in the nutrition world, as well as give the listeners solid nutrition advice for navigating the truth and choosing healthy lifestyles.  There will also be a poster session with over 20 current nutrition trends and diets with conclusions of Fact or Fiction. 


Kristin Klinefelter, MS, RDN, LD, has been a Registered Dietitian for 20 years, giving people solid nutrition advice and helping them implement it into their lives. Kristin works with the YMCA, ICC, University of North Dakota and Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital.

Kristin Klinefelter 

Live KAXE Dig Deep Discussion with Heidi Holtan, moderator; conservative Chuck Marohn and liberal Aaron Brown

10:00 am | Media Center 125
Honest Disagreements: Finding Common Ground on Problems to Debate Solutions


Heidi Holtan is the News and Public Affairs Director for KAXE/KBXE – an independent National Public Radio affiliate in northern MN.  KAXE was the first rural public radio station in the nation - they have been on air since 1976.

Heidi Holtan


Aaron Brown is an author, radio producer, and college instructor from Northern Minnesota's Iron Range. He writes the region's longest-running and most read news and culture blog MinnesotaBrown.com. He is also a columnist for the Hibbing Daily Tribune and occasional contributor to publications like the Star Tribune, MinnPost, and The Daily Yonder. His regional analysis has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and most Minnesota media. His book "Overburden: Modern Life on the Iron Range" won a Northeastern Minnesota Book Award. He is the host, producer and writer for the Great Northern Radio Show on Northern Community Radio, where he's been a contributing producer for many years and currently co-stars in the political podcast Dig Deep.

Aaron Brown

Ken Strukel
Computer Science Instructor

10:00 am & 11:00 am | Johnson Hall 117
How Facebook Decides What You’ll See on Your Newsfeed and What You Can Do about It

In this hands-on session, you will learn how Facebook profiles you and how this affects what news, memes, and other posts you receive. You can take control of your profile with tools you’ll learn and apply in this session.

Ken Strukel has been teaching computer science in Minnesota’s community college system since 1986.

Ken Strukel

Julie Ethan
Better Angels Facilitator

10:00 am & 11:00 am | Johnson Hall 112/113
How to Listen Across the Political Divide

This interactive session will provide background on the work of Better Angels, a non-partisan organization that seeks to reduce political polarization. Participants will practice listening skills that aid in better conversations with friends and family where their is strong political disagreement. Pairs of the same political persuasion will role play—red and blue viewpoints. Reds lean conservative and tend to vote Republican. Blues lean liberal and tend to vote Democratic. Those in the middle can choose a side for purposes of practicing the skills.

Julie Ethan 

Julie Ethan serves candidates, campaigns and social impact causes looking to improve their message. She is co-founder of the Connections Lab, an entity that helps activists and volunteers learn how to craft values-based communications. Julie is a workshop instructor for Better Angels, an organization devoted to helping citizens bridge the political divide. She is the visibility coordinator for her local League of Women Voters. Julie has an AS in nursing from Normandale Community College, a BA in organizational leadership from Bethel University, and an MA in peace and justice studies from the Univ. of San Diego. 

Nora Paul
Former director of the Minnesota Journalism Center, UMN

11:00 am | Johnson Hall 115/116
How to vet information for accuracy.

Nora Paul recently retired as director of the Minnesota Journalism Center, the University of Minnesota School of Journalism’s outreach center to professional journalists. A trained librarian, Nora has served as director for the UM’s Institute for New Media, faculty with the prestigious Poynter Institute, and editor for information services for the Miami Herald. Her research interests have included research methodologies for new media.

Nora Paul

A Conversation across the Religious-Atheist Divide

11:00 am | Johnson Hall 103

Rev.  Lisa Buchanan, moderator; Rev. Kimbrel Johnson; Rev. Mark Wagner; Ken Eck, President of Grand Rapids Atheists and Free-thinkers (GRAF); Brian Vroman, GRAF member


Mark Wagner  Ken Eck Brian Vroman


The Rev. Kimbrel Johnson serves as Pastor at Community Presbyterian Church in Grand Rapids and writes the Progressive Voice column, which appears in the Grand Rapids Herald Review and on the Church's website.

Reverend Mark Wagner is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He graduated from Grand Rapids, attended ICC, and earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Minnesota. He enjoys theology, philosophy, and ethics in deep coversations.

Ken Eck has been actively involved in the secular community for more than 10 years. He is a member of the Lake Superior Freethinkers, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) and founded the Grand Rapids Atheists and Freethinkers (GRAF) in April of 2012. GRAF became a chapter of the FFRF in 2014 and Ken currently serves as the State Representative for FFRF in  Minnesota. 

Brian Vroman teaches philosophy and history at Itasca Community College.

Michael Goldberg
Founder of ActionMedia

11:00am | Media Center 125
It's Not What You Say -- It's What They Hear!

Michael Goldberg is the founder of ActionMedia, helping people working for positive social change to say what they mean, and make things happen. This workshop includes illustrations, from his 20+ year career as a communications consultant, of how to manage what you say so your listeners can really hear you.

Michael Goldberg

Donte’ Curtis
Owner of Catch Your Dream Consulting/Coaching

1:00pm | Johnson Hall 112/113
Finding your Truth in a False Society

Born in Houston Texas, and now living in Saint Paul, Minnesota, At 24, Donte lives a life that is dedicated to leadership and social justice. He is probably one of the most energetic people you will ever meet and he channels this energy to fight for racial equity and to cultivate people to be the best version of themselves. Donte is a connector and really works to build powerful and purposeful relationships. He is the owner of Catch Your Dream Consulting/Coaching where he mentors, inspires, and trains individuals and teams to excel in their dreams and discover new alternatives. Through facilitation of the collective wisdom in the room Donte creates space to make sure everyone voice is heard. Donte is very passionate about supporting others to excel and believes everyone leads.

Donte Williams

Panel Discussion with Nora Paul, Brian Lambert, and Scott Libin, moderated by Scott Hall, former news director at KAXE

1:00 pm | Chucker Auditorium
Is all media “Fake News”?

How do professional journalists do their work at reputable media organizations, and what makes this more trustworthy than other sources of information?


Beth Staats

1:00 pm & 2:00pm | Johnson Hall 117

Beyond Google: Minnesota's Research Resources for the Public

Google is usually the first place, and many times the only place, people go for their research. In the latest Pew Internet & American Life Project Report, How Teens Do Research in the Digital World, 94% of students and 91% of adults turn to Google or another online search engine as the first place for research. Finding useful, appropriate, and credible information can sometimes be an overwhelming task. Learn how ELM can help you understand what information is appropriate and credible for your research.

Beth Staats is one of three Reference Outreach & Instruction Librarians with Minitex. She holds a BA in History from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and a Master's Degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.


Nathan Bergstedt
Writer & Actor

1:00 pm | Media Center 125
The Best Offense Is a Good Defense: Satire and Truth

Nathan Bergstedt is a local writer and actor. For five years, he was the Arts and Education Editor at the Grand Rapids Herald-Review, and is one of the founders of the Uncommon Loons Theatre Company, a small theater troupe specializing in original comedy skits and plays. He most recently wrote, directed, and acted in “The Ballad of Newton Badger,” a parody fable based on the character of Sir Isaac Newton.

 Nathan Bergstedt

Steve Simon
Minnesota Secretary of State

2:00 pm | Chucker Auditorium
Can we trust Minnesota's voting system?


Steve Simon, Minnesota’s 22nd Secretary of State. pledged in his 2015 inaugural address to “work with anyone, of any political affiliation, from any part of our state” to protect, defend, and strengthen the right to vote in Minnesota. As Secretary of State, he partners with township, city, and county officials to organize elections on behalf of Minnesota’s nearly four million eligible voters, and to ensure that the election system is fair.

Before being elected Minnesota’s Secretary of State, Simon served in the Minnesota House of Representatives for ten years representing the communities of St. Louis Park and Hopkins. Simon spent much of his time in the state legislature immersed in elections issues, including serving as the chair of the

Steve Simon

House Elections Committee in 2013 and 2014. He played a lead role in many of the election reforms that Minnesota has embraced over the last several years, including no-excuse absentee voting, online voter registration, and easier access to voting for Minnesotans overseas, including those in the military.

Ini Augustine
CEO of SocialWise Media & founder of Street Genius Radio

2:00 pm | Johnson Hall 115/116
Social Media in the Age of Fake News

Ini Augustine is the founder and CEO of SocialWise Media, which creates interactive, targeted campaigns for companies and organizations using platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter. Ini has won numerous business, women, and African American leadership awards. She also does outreach to and mentorship for young people of color developing entrepreneurial, business, and technology careers.

Ina Augustine

Perry Loegering
MN DNR (retired wildlife manager) & part-time Natural Resources instructor at ICC

2:00 pm | Media Center 125
How Should the DNR Be Managing Deer in Minnesota? 

Perry Loegering worked for the Minnesota DNR for 40 years, 35 as an area wildlife manager. He is also a part-time instructor in Natural Resources at ICC.


Poster Presentations on Nutrition Myths and Facts by Nutrition class students 

9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Hallway between Davies Hall and the Cafeteria