by Nancy Jones
On Friday, March 20, the Civic Media Center will present its 16th annual SpringBoard fundraising event with veteran journalist, Terry Anderson, addressing “Journalists: You May Not Like Us, but You’d be Sorry if We Were Gone.” In Terry’s words: “Journalists have popularity ratings lower than any other profession except lawyers. People accuse them of bias, of inaccuracy, of rudeness and arrogance.
But without them, you likely wouldn’t have many of the freedoms you do, and you would have even less control over your government.”
Anderson is an adjunct professor of International Journalism at the University of Florida. His bestselling book, “Den of Lions,” recounts the years he spent as a hostage in Lebanon where he was kidnapped while serving as bureau chief for the Associated Press. Anderson was one of 92 mostly western European and American individuals kidnapped between 1982 and 1992 by Islamic Jihad, a cell of the Lebanese militia, Hezbollah, who had longstanding ties to the Iranian government. In 1985, when Ronald Reagan’s aide, Marine Colonel Oliver North, tried to secure the release of Anderson and fellow hostages by persuading the Iranians to arm the Nicaraguan Contras, the resulting scandal embroiled the administration and led to the conviction of several high-ranking officials of Reagan and George W. Bush.
After his release in 1992 and the publication of his book in 1993, Anderson engaged in a variety of pursuits including horse ranching, running a restaurant, political campaigning, starting philanthropic organizations and teaching. Throughout his various activities Anderson kept close ties with his first passion, journalism, in part through his participation with the Committee to Protect Journalists, of which he is honorary chairman.
The celebration will also include the presentation of the Jack Penrod Brigadas Award, which is given to local organizers in recognition of their contribution to the movement in which Jack Penrod dedicated his life. Penrod fought in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. The awardee is chosen by the Penrod Committee, made up of members from United Faculty of Florida, Alachua County Labor Coalition and Veterans for Peace. The year’s award will go to Jason Fults, long-time activist with the Alachua County Labor Coalition and with Gainesville Loves Mountains.
The event will be held from 6 to 10 pm at the Wooly, 20 N. Main St. In addition to the program speakers, there will be a raffle, a silent auction, and a wide array of food offerings from The Top Restaurant.
Advance tickets are available at the Civic Media Center, 433 S. Main St., at McIntyre Stain Glass in Thornbrook Village and at Arrow’s Aim Records, next to the Wooly at University and North. Main. Tickets will be $25 ($45 for 2) and $35 ($65 for 2) at the event. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.CivicMediaCenter.org.