|May 17, 2011 -
The Mayors' Leadership Luncheon was held today at Circle Park at the University of Tennessee.
Presented by Leadership Knoxville, in partnership with Mayor Daniel Brown and Mayor Tim Burchett, the event's purpose was to connect regional leaders and focus on community civility.
Joan Cronan was the Event Chair and a Leadership Knoxville Alumnist from 1985 and Tim Young was selected as the Leadership Knoxville Distinguished Alumni Award Winner.
Keynote speaker for the event was award winning journalist Mr. John Seigenthaler, founder of the First Amendment Center.
A former president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Seigenthaler served for 43 years as an award-winning journalist for The Tennesseean, Nashville's morning newspaper. At his retirement he was editor, publisher and CEO. In 1982, Seigenthaler became founding editorial director of USA TODAY and served in that position for a decade, retiring from both the Nashville and national newspapers in 1991.
Seigenthaler left journalism briefly in the early 1960s to serve in the U.S. Justice Dept. as administrative assistant to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. His work in the field of civil rights led to his service as chief negotiator with the governor of Alabama during the Freedom Rides. During that crisis, while attempting to aid Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Ala., he was attacked by a mob of Klansmen and hospitalized.
A strong advocate of First Amendment rights of free expression, he also has been a nationally recognized critic of willfully false and misleading online vandalism. His controversy with Wikipedia for posting anonymous, libelous statements led to that web site revising its policies.