Journalism under Fire

Our new conference website is now live:

Please visit there for all updates, speakers, agenda, tickets and more…



The Santa Fe Council on International Relations (CIR) hosted its third Journalism under Fire conference from November 10 to December 3, 2020. All digital for the first time, this year’s theme was Covering Crisis and featured leading journalists, photojournalists, political cartoonists, academics and activists. Together, they addressed, dissected, and illustrated how journalism is covering today’s overlapping crises – all on the heels of the U.S. elections.

There was at least four remote sessions per week, beginning on November 10th 2020 with the star-studded Grand Opening Event, and concluding on December 3rd 2020. Conference dialogue featured:

  • The many ways journalism has covered crisis – and how these crises have, in turn, shaped journalism. Specific topics included: Covering up Crisis? Conservative Media and the Coronavirus. Discovering Crisis: Digital Forensics and Social Protest. A Covert Crisis: The Fuel of Disinformation. The Forgotten Crisis? Photojournalists and Climate Change.
  • Journalists from around the world discussing the effects of coronavirus, and how autocrats have used the crisis to crack down on journalism.
  • Student Learning Labs afforded New Mexico students interactive access to conference speakers. This year, CIR created five News Literacy Modules for classroom use, each offering a vibrant view on major journalism principles and issues – e.g. on disinformation, on separating fact from opinion – alongside a compendium of resources written by conference speakers.

Once again, we partnered with the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), and received funding support from the New Mexico Humanities Council. We engaged speakers from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other major national and global media outlets.

At JUF 2018, Sandy Campbell, CIR's ED, addressing the Opening Night crowd, with the NM Peace Choir just behind.
United World College's African Chorus at the Grand Opening Event for JUF 2019
At JUF2019, Ivan Kolpakov on Russian Disinformation campaigns
Jason Rezaian speaking during the Opening Night panel of JUF 2018, with Jenni Monet, Hannah Allam, and Courtney Radsch
CIR Board President Chuck Case speaks at JUF 2019
The Mayor of Santa Fe, Alan Webber, leads a moment of silence for slain and persecuted journalists at JUF 2018.
Dana Priest of the WaPo opens JUF 2019
The Opening Night reception at JUF 2018.
Sandy Campbell, CIR's ED, speaking at JUF 2019.
The New Mexico Peace Choir opening JUF 2018.
Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber speaks at Journalism under Fire 2019
Olga Yurkova of on Russian Disinformation in the Ukraine at JUF 2018.
Speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives, Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) opens Day 2 of Journalism under Fire 2019
The virtual reality simulation, Blindfold, where you become an interrogated journalist in Iran's most notorious prison at JUF 2018.
Rana Ayyub (WaPo) in conversation with Hannah Allam (NPR News) on Day 2 of JUF 2019
Famed photojournalist Ron Haviv on Day 2 of JUF 2019.
Arbana Xharra, from Kosovo, and Sandy during the Security, Persecution, and Exile panel at JUF 2018.
Cameroonian journalist Yedidia Jonas Alirou on Day 2 of JUF 2019
CIR High School Fellow Neha S at JUF 2018.
CIR High School Fellow Gabriella E speaks on Day One of JUF 2019
BuzzFeed News' Tamerra Griffin on how technology is shaping local media
International journalists from West Africa on Misinformation in the Media at JUF 2018.
CIR Intern Paul E. speaks on Day 2 of JUF 2019
International journalists from Europe on Misinformation in the Media at JUF 2018.
Dana Priest and Valerie Plame in conversation on The Media and the Intelligence Community at JUF 2018.
Balint Szalai, Olga Yukova, and David Bodney on the Global Fake News Epidemic at JUF 2018.
Nikahang Kowsar - exiled Iranian political cartoonist at JUF 2018
KAL (the Economist), Ann Telnaes (WaPo), and Nik Kowsar - on Political Cartoons as the Litmus of a Free Press at JUF 2018.
NYT's Matt Rosenberg at JUF 2019.

Journalism under Fire 2019: A Review

At the second JUF event, we asked, “How does technology shape the truth?” We explored the intersection between social media and fake news; the ways in which artificial intelligence (e.g. through deep and shallow fakes) is increasingly influencing the public domain; how China’s use of technology will have massive ramifications for the U.S.; and how digital forensics have opened up a new line of investigation, using crowd-sourced video and Big Data to reconstruct truth.

Presented in partnership with the Committee to Protect Journalists and made possible in part with support from the New Mexico Humanities Council, we once again welcomed a large contingent of international journalists through our partnership with the U.S. Department of State. Conference partners included The Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande ChapterAlbuquerque Weekly AlibiSearchlight NMNew Mexico InDepthTrue Kids 1, and KSFR.

Speakers for 2019 included: Dana Priest (Washington Post), Malachy Browne and Matt Rosenberg (both NYT), John Carlin (author and former chief of staff for Robert Mueller), Hannah Allam (NPR), Rick Stengel (former editor of TIME), Tamerra Griffin (BuzzFeed News – Nairobi), Suzanne Kelly (the Cipher Brief), Rana Ayyub (Washington Post), Sam Gregory (the WITNESS project), Alexa Koenig (UCBerkeley), Ron Haviv (photojournalist), Ivan Kolpakov (editor-in-chief of and many more… For a full list of speakers, click here.

Journalism under Fire 2019: By the Numbers

Total tickets sold: non-unique (i.e. counts people potentially four times as an attendee of the all four below events): 1,626

November 14 Day Sessions – at La Fonda on the Plaza: 523
November 14 Opening Night – at La Fonda on the Plaza: 567. Attended the VIP Reception: 96
November 15 Day Sessions – at the New Mexico State Capitol: 427
November 15 Closing Dinner – at Hotel Santa Fe: 109

Total Student Participation
Total number of students on November 14 (day): 252
Total number of student on November 14 (Opening Night): 56
Total number of November 15: 158
Total number of unique students attending some or all of JUF: 411

Total Number of Unique Journalists: 65

JUF 2019 Selected Press Coverage:

Journalism under Fire 2018: A Review

At the 2018 Journalism under Fire event, we created The Santa Fe Statement on Journalism under Fire, a record of the event’s themes and recommended actions. Alongside these are the opening Remarks from the Mayor of Santa Fe, Alan Webber. The City of Santa Fe was an invaluable partner throughout.

Over 4-7 December 2018, Journalism under Fire asked “Are we free without a free press?” and explored the essential connections between journalism and democracy through 79 speakers, 51 visiting international journalists (48 through the US Department of State and 3 from Arizona State University), political cartoon and border photograph exhibits, the New Mexico Peace Choira Student Newsroom, and a virtual reality simulation. With the incomparable Santa Fe as backdrop, 2018’s Journalism Under Fire created unique learning and networking opportunities among extraordinary journalists, thought leaders, students, and the engaged public.

Journalism under Fire 2018: By the Numbers


Opening Night – December 4: 585
Day 1 – December 5: 368
Day 2 – December 6: 310
Day 3 – December 7: 316
Total Student, NM Journalist, Teacher Attendance: 168

2018 Print Media Coverage

JUF earned significant coverage in the print media:

  • December 1st in the Santa Fe New Mexican. “Journalists under Fire set to speak in Santa Fe.” Steve Terrell.
  • December 3rd in the Santa Fe New Mexican [editorial]. “Taking journalists out of the line of fire.” Editorial board.
  • December 5th in the Santa Fe New Mexican. “At Santa Fe conference, journalists describe working while under threat.” Steve Terrell.
  • December 6th in The Washington Post [both online and in print version]. “Journalism under fire: Here, there and everywhere.” Jason Rezaian.
  • December 10th in the Santa Fe New Mexican. Reprint of Rezaian’s article [print only].
  • December 12th in the Gallup Independent. “Despite threats, insults, news people still have a job to do.” Sherry Robinson
  • December 22ndFull page of photographs from VIP Reception on December 5th. Santa Fe New Mexican.

2018 Photographs

All photos are in our Facebook account:

Subscribe to our JUF Newsletter right here.