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Film festival highlights in-depth work

Posted: Sept. 25, 2015 | Tags: journalism


Photo by Christina Animashaun, IRW

Betty Medsger talks about how her reporting unfolded before speaking to students recently at American University.

Double Exposure: The Investigative Film Festival at the National Portrait Gallery and the Newseum, from Sept. 30-Oct. 2, will feature seven screenings and a two-day symposium.

The Workshop's Chuck Lewis will moderate the final panel discussion on the documentary, "1971," and the book, "The Burglary," with author Betty Medsger. The panel will include Edward Snowden via Skype.

Medsger wrote the original newspaper stories and book about the March 8, 1971, burglary of an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, when eight antiwar activists attempted to find evidence that the agency was spying on Americans. The most important document they found, stole and sent to Medsger, who was then at The Washington Post, was a routing paper containing the word “Cointelpro.” Cointelpro was a secret program of dirty tricks and illegal activities designed to “expose, disrupt and otherwise neutralize” groups that J. Edgar Hoover dubbed divisive.  

Medsger wrote in her book about the huge FBI-led manhunt; no one was found and charged, and the statute of limitations has long since run out on their crimes. She found the burglars when the FBI did not, and told their personal stories, then and now. 

The panel is called Crossing Boundaries, Then and Now: A Case Study of "1971," featuring "The Burglary" and Edward Snowden. It will run from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 2 at the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue.

More details about the festival, including the full schedule, are here.


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