Award winning journalist, author to open 2023 Capital Conference

Brian Karem to deliver views on demise of American journalism and how to fix it


Brian Karem, award-winning journalist and author of “Free the Press: The Death of American Journalism and How to Revive It,” will deliver the opening address in January at CapCon2023, the annual capital conference of the California News Publishers Association (CNPA). Registration for the two-day event is open at

Karem’s appearance will serve as a table-setter for the CapCon 2023 theme, “Rebuilding Trust in an Age of Disinformation.” The aim of the gathering is to delve into the root causes of unprecedented low levels of confidence in mainstream media and explore ways to reverse the trends.

Karem is a veteran White House correspondent who has witnessed recent declines in public perception of U.S. journalism first-hand.

In “Free the Press,” Karem harkens to the days when “newspapers were cutting edge technology ... and always represented the unchangeable foundation on which political and social issues could be discussed.”

He contrasts this once-prescient view of news delivery with today’s audience-dominating internet and television news channels where facts often seem fungible.

“It is a privilege to have Brian as our lead-off speaker on the decline of the public’s confidence in mainstream media,” said Charles Ford Champion II, president and CEO of CNPA. “His studied and up-close view of the media ecosystem will inform our discussions about how to rebuild trust in media, and thus preserve our democracy.”

Karem is an accomplished First Amendment advocate who currently writes a weekly column on the White House for and is a regular contributor and columnist for The Washington Diplomat.

He has testified before Congress and numerous state legislatures in support of free speech and a federal shield law for reporters. He is the founder of the “First Jailbirds Club,” celebrating the accomplishments of reporters who have gone to jail to protect the First Amendment. He’s a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, the National Press Club and the White House Press Corps.

Karem is also a former president of the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Press Association.

In the foreword to Karem’s book, noted White House reporter Sam Donaldson decried the state of news today: “The cry of ‘fake news’ and denunciation of the press as ‘enemies of the people’ hounds the work of even the most careful and honest news organization.”

Donaldson cited John Adams’ belief that “facts matter” and pleaded for a return to a time when “the work of gathering and relaying facts by serious journalists like Brian Karem will again prevail.”

CapCon2023 will take place from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, 2023, at the Kimpton Sawyer Hotel in Sacramento, California. In addition to Karem, former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr and Reuters Institute research project leader Dr. Benjamin Toff will appear at the conference.

About CNPA:

CNPA is a non-profit trade association representing daily and weekly California newspapers and digital news media. Its mission is to protect and serve the common interests of news media so that they can deliver democracy using the highest ideals, ethics and traditions of journalism to inform their communities.


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