Noon to 4 pm
Washington Square Park (aka Bughouse Square), 901 North Clark Street, across Walton from the Newberry
At a time when political polarization is intensified by the extremes of digital discourse, the Bughouse Square Debates are a public forum where people can encounter new ideas and share their own—in person!
Join the Newberry for Chicago’s favorite free speech event! Lively musical entertainment will kick off the program at noon, followed by the Main Debate, soapbox speakers, and the presentation of two awards: the Altgeld Freedom of Speech Award and the Dill Pickle Award to the champion soapbox orator. In addition, nearly two dozen local organizations and causes will set up information tables in the park, with volunteers to answer your questions. We’ll also have food trucks on hand to fuel the speakers.
Bring your loudest heckling voice, mount the open soapbox, and exercise your First Amendment rights. Take it to the park this summer! And don’t miss the Newberry Book Fair before and/or after the Debates!
1 pm: Welcome and Introduction to Bughouse Square
- Rick Kogan, Master of Ceremonies
1:15 pm: Presentation of the 2017 John Peter Altgeld Freedom of Speech Award to Kevin Coval
- David Spadafora, Newberry President and Librarian
- Kevin Coval of Young Chicago Authors and Louder Than a Bomb
1:30 pm Main Debate: What Constitutes Legitimate Journalsim in a Hyper-Connected World?
- Darryl Holliday,editorial director and co-founder of City Bureau, a producer with the Invisible Institute, and co-founder of Illustrated Press.
- Mary Wisniewski of the Chicago Tribune and this year’s vice president of Freedom of Information Act help for the Chicago Headline Club.
What is”real” versus “fake” news? When is it acceptable to publish or broadcast an unsubstantiated report? What sources can be deemed reliable? How does crowd-sourcing fit into the equation? Should journalistic ethics and standards espoused by mainstream print and broadcast reporters and editors be revised, in the face of alternative media and the never-ending 24-hour news cycle? And if so, how?
2:20 pm: Musical Interlude
2:30 pm Soapbox Speeches and Open Soapbox
- Soapbox speakers will be added soon
3:30 pm: Musical Interlude
3:45 pm Dill Pickle Awarded to the Soapbox Champion
Learn more about the history of Bughouse Square.
Free and open to the public; no registration required.