He was an English novelist, journalist and social critic -- and this month he is the topic of a free public discussion: Doublespeak and Fake News: How George Orwell Matters Today.

Orwell and SPJ poster

The event, sponsored by the Rio Grande Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, is Thursday, Feb. 27 from 6-7:30 p.m. at The University of New Mexico’s Zimmerman Library.

The public reception and panel discussion complement UNM’s exhibit, “George Orwell: His Enduring Legacy,” featured at the Center for Southwest Research in Zimmerman Library. Orwell’s written works, displayed at the exhibit, have shaped countless lives through their commentary on social injustice, totalitarianism and oppression of the working class.

"This is a great example of UNM hosting a timely conversation for the entire community,” UNM Professor Michael Marcotte said. “As a free society, we all have a stake in truth and accuracy — and Orwell’s prophetic work provides a lens from which to examine the health of journalism today.”

Orwell tackled concerns over totalitarianism in his work “1984,” “Animal Farm” and “Homage to Catalonia.” Today, Orwellian concepts like doublespeak and newspeak can be found in our political and media spheres.

The Panel:

  1. Russell Contreras | Reporter | Associated Press
  2. Russ Tobias Davidson | UNM Professor Emeritus | Orwell Exhibit Curator

  3. Nancy López | UNM Professor
  4. Karen Coates | President | Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande Chapter

The event is free and open to the public. The first 50 attendees will receive a free catalog for the exhibit.

“The Orwell exhibit provides a meaningful setting for a timely, public discussion,” Marcotte said. "It’s exciting to see our communications department, our state journalism society and the UNM libraries join together on this.”