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Curtis Lecture: 'What Future has the Press in a Free Society?' March 28

Frances Cairncross
Frances Cairncross

British economist, journalist and academic Frances Anne Cairncross will give the 2019 Ellwood F. Curtis Family Lecturer in Public Affairs, “What Future has the Press in a Free Society?” March 28.

The lecture will take place at 7 p.m. in Wallenberg Hall inside the Denkmann Memorial Building.

Cairncross is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow with the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), and in addition to the lecture, she will visit with classes and student groups at Augustana.

She is a former senior editor at The Economist and head of Oxford College.

Earlier this year, Cairncross was appointed to spearhead a review and recommendation to the British government on the future of high quality journalism. It assesses how the Internet, the smartphone and Google, Facebook and Apple are draining income from newspapers in the UK, similar to the situation in the U.S.

"As a journalist and especially as a journalist for 20 years on the staff of The Economist, Cairncross has built a career around two strengths: The first is an understanding of economics and how it pervades many of our decisions and much of our lives; and the second is an ability to explain clearly and amusingly complex ideas," according to the CIC.

"Cairncross’ time on The Economist also taught her to be brief and to watch constantly for world-changing trends. Her book on the communications revolution, "The Death of Distance: How the Communications Revolution Will Change our Lives," was the first to explore how the change in the cost structure and in technical possibilities of digital technology might alter politics, society, and economics.

"In her second career as the head of Oxford college, she learned how to relate directly to students and scholars. Her teaching focus included an introduction for MBA students to the broad consequences of demographic change, of the communications revolution, and of big data."

The Curtis Lecture was established in memory of Ellwood F. Curtis, who served as president and vice chairman of Deere & Company during his 42-year career with the Moline-based manufacturer. Curtis was active in the Quad City community and was co-chair of Augustana College's Agenda for Leadership Campaign.


Ashleigh Johnston, 309-794-7833 

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