Media Trust & Democracy:
The Casper Project


July 16, 2019 • 5-7:30 p.m. MT

Dear National News Media: Why Should We Trust You?

Are you skeptical about what you see in the news? Do you believe national journalists and news organizations are biased? Sure, you could write a letter to the editor, post a comment on a news site, or opine on social media. But here’s a rare opportunity to raise your concerns in person with national journalists, including representatives from The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Associated Press and BuzzFeed News.

Where: Krampert Theatre, Casper College, 1631 Campus Drive, Casper, Wyo., 82601
Cost: Free
Tickets: Link

Project manager

Rod Hicks is SPJ’s Journalist on Call, a position created to address the issue of dwindling trust in the news media. The Casper Project is consistent with the mission of the position to help journalists understand why the public doesn’t trust them and what they can do to re-earn more trust. Rod previously worked as an editor at the Associated Press and several newspapers, including the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press and St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He holds a master’s degree in newspaper management from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from the University of Alabama.

Project assistant

Rebecca Travers was born and raised in Wyoming and currently lives in Casper, where she is an active member of the community and a familiar face to many. Her deep knowledge of the area and its residents makes her a valuable resource for The Casper Project. Just as important is her previous experience as an administrative assistant and her interest in addressing social issues. She is assisting with the project while enrolled as a full-time student at Casper College.

About the Society of Professional Journalists

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member today.

About the SPJ Foundation

The SPJ Foundation is a public foundation dedicated to ensuring that those who carry on the tradition of a free press are prepared for the challenge. The SPJ Foundation supports educational and professional needs of journalists and journalism students. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Give to the SPJ Foundation.


Mike Sullivan was twice elected governor of Wyoming, serving from 1987 until 1995. He entered office amid growing unemployment and falling oil and gas prices, forcing him to cut state jobs and reduce salaries. The Democratic governor encouraged diversifying the state’s economy and supported the energy sector while working to avoid compromising Wyoming’s environment. Sullivan served as U.S. Ambassador to Ireland from 1998 to 2001 under the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations and helped sustain the Northern Ireland peace accord. He practiced law in Casper with Brown, Drew, Massey & Sullivan from 1961 until he was elected governor. Sullivan retired in 2016 as a partner of Rothgerber, Johnson & Lyons LLP, which had offices in Casper and Denver.


Neal Lipschutz is deputy editor in chief for The Wall Street Journal, where he helps oversee the newspaper’s global news operation. Previously, Neal was standards and ethics editor for The Journal. He joined Dow Jones & Co., the newspaper’s parent company, in 1982 as a national copy reader for Dow Jones Capital Markets Report. He held a series of news management positions of increasing responsibility at Dow Jones Newswires and was named managing editor for Newswires in 2005. He served as the top editor of Dow Jones Newswires until becoming standards editor.

Noreen Gillespie is deputy managing editor for U.S. News at The Associated Press. She oversees a team of journalists based in all 50 states covering breaking news, politics and policy, and special topics. She began her career as a legislative reporter in Hartford, Connecticut, and has been an editor and manager in Atlanta, Chicago, and New York. She also served as deputy sports editor, overseeing college football coverage and leading the news agency’s journalists at the Rio Olympics.

Lori Montgomery is deputy national editor at The Washington Post, where she helps lead the newspaper’s coverage of Washington, politics and the nation. She oversees coverage of the Trump administration and Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, for which the paper won a Pulitzer Prize. For years, Lori was a congressional and economic policy reporter. Before coming to The Post, she was Europe bureau chief for Knight-Ridder Newspapers, based in Berlin. She previously was Washington correspondent for the Detroit Free Press and held various roles at the Dallas Times Herald. She began her newspaper career in Boise as an intern at the Idaho Statesman.

Hayes Brown is a world news editor and senior reporter for BuzzFeed News. He currently serves alongside the World desk’s team of correspondents covering breaking news around the globe. He also serves as a guest host for BuzzFeed’s programs “AM to DM,” a weekday morning talk show livestreamed on Twitter and “Profile,” a weekly interview show broadcast on Facebook. Previously, he was world editor at ThinkProgress, where he covered international and national security news.

Have questions?

Email us here with your questions or comments about the project.