H. Brandt Ayers, author, journalist and publisher of the Anniston (Ala.) Star, will give a talk at Washington and Lee University on Monday, Sept. 16, at 5:30 p.m. in Leyburn Library's Northen Auditorium. It is sponsored by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications.
The title of his talk is "Covering the South Made Me a Liberal" and the event is free and open to the public. Ayers memoir, titled "In Love with Defeat: The Making of a Southern Liberal," was published early this year; a book signing will follow the lecture.
Ayers served as Washington correspondent for the Raleigh News and Observer and covered Robert Kennedy's Justice Department for a news bureau serving newspapers in the South and Southwest.
Time Magazine twice named The Anniston Star one of the "best small newspapers in the United States" and has described Ayers one of the top newspaper publishers in America.
The Anniston Star is known for taking strong editorial stances against social injustices, most famously for its opposition to segregation during the civil rights movement of the 1960s — an unpopular position at the time for a small-town newspaper in the South. All of that was pushed by Ayers in his role as publisher of The Star and five other community newspapers in east-central Alabama
In addition to his distinguished career as a publisher, Ayers is an accomplished journalism scholar, having served both as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and as a Gannett Fellow at Columbia University. He has lectured at numerous universities, including Harvard and Princeton in the U.S. and several universities in Africa. He was awarded the Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1996.
Ayers has written articles and commentary for The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, NPR and The International Herald Tribune, among others.
Ayers is a former trustee of the American Committee of the International Press Institute based in Austria; a member of the Council on Foreign Relations based in New York; a trustee of the Southern Center for International Studies; and a member of the advisory board of the The Ditchley Foundation in England, an organization that brings world leaders together for conferences related to international affairs.