Center on conflict, media, law established

MU’s schools of law and journalism have formalized a five-year partnership.
Monday, February 6, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 5:03 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 5, 2008

The School of Law and the School of Journalism have established a Center for the Study of Conflict, Law and the Media at MU.

Michael Grinfeld, a journalism professor and the center’s co-director, said the collaboration between the journalism and law schools has existed on an ad-hoc basis for five years. The announcement of the center formalizes the partnership between the two schools.

“The primary objective of the center is to foster a better understanding of the experience, reporting and management of conflict, and its impact on law and democracy in the United States and abroad,” said Richard Reuben, a law professor and the other director.

Grinfeld said a goal of the center is to examine whether media can play a constructive role without abandoning journalistic values of objectivity, independence, fairness and balance.

The center offers dual degree and certificate programs designed to increase the interaction between journalism and law students at MU.

Another aspect of the center is its public outreach programs. Grinfeld said a film series on international conflict in 2002 drew more than 2,000 people from MU and the surrounding community.

Reuben said a significant project undertaken by the center was an investigation into the treatment of domestic violence calls to police in Missouri. A project to investigate wrongly imprisoned people is being planned.

The center publishes a quarterly magazine, Dispute Resolution, in collaboration with the American Bar Association, with Reuben as editor. Reuben and Grinfeld operate the center from their offices.

Reuben said a conference aimed at understanding the relationship between the media and conflict is being planned for September or October.

“I am very excited about the center,” Grinfeld said. “It will create opportunities for both professions — lawyers and journalists.”

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