36th Annual Silha Lecture: The First Amendment and Diversity: A Marketplace Failure

Featuring S. Jenell Trigg
S Jenell Trigg

Billions of people use social media platforms and have access to a 5000-plus-channel streaming and broadcasting universe, yet citizens are less informed than ever before. They select their preferred sources, often based on ideology and politics, but rarely seek out media options that challenge their preconceptions. Coupled with the lack of diversity in media ownership and management, it appears that the concept of a robust “marketplace of ideas” in today’s America has failed.

Can we change this? Diversity in the media by itself is not enough to elevate and reinvigorate the national conversation. But without welcoming disparate and even antagonistic voices, how can we hope to mitigate polarization and advance the core purposes of the First Amendment?

S. Jenell Trigg’s remarkable career in media and law, as well as her volunteer experience working with numerous non-profit groups, has given her unique insight into current issues regarding diversity and free speech. Following a 16-year career as a broadcast television sales/marketing executive, Ms. Trigg earned her law degree magna cum laude from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law. She then worked at the Federal Communications Commission and as Assistant Chief Counsel for Telecommunications in the Office of Advocacy, U. S. Small Business Administration, before becoming the first African- American partner at Lerman Senter PLLC in Washington, D.C. She has been nationally recognized for her longstanding dedication and commitment to promoting minority, women, and small business ownership and employment in the media and communications industries, receiving Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the Multicultural Media, Telecom, and Internet Council.

Free and open to the public.

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