Dean Baquet, Executive Editor of The New York Times on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. 

Todd Heisler / New York Times

The University of Arizona’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is hosting its fifth Downtown Series starting on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 6:30 p.m. at the Fox Theatre Tucson, on 17 W. Congress St.

The series, titled “Truth and Trust in the Global Scene,” will include discussions on the current period of alternative facts and fake news, as well as ways of maintaining trust in one another and institutions.

“I think Tucsonans of all ages, high school on up, will enjoy and learn from these conversations. These are topics that many families in this country have been talking about at their dinner tables for the past few years: elections, political divisiveness, truth in the news, global conflict. Young adults debate with their parents who debate with their parents,” said John Paul Jones III, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. “These issues impact all of us.”

The first discussion of this fifth year of the Downtown Series is titled, “The Future of Elections: Who and What Can We Trust?”

Christopher Conover, a reporter and producer with Arizona Public Media, will moderate the discussion between Carolyn Lukensmeyer, executive director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse; Kate Kenski, associate professor in the department of communication; and Samara Klar, assistant professor in the School of Government and Public Policy.

The second will be held on Thursday, Oct. 19, called, “Redefining Journalism in the Post-Truth Era.”

Nancy Sharkey, professor of practice and associate director of the School of Journalism, will interview Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times.

The last is Thursday, Oct. 26, called, “What the News Doesn’t Tell You About Rising Global Conflict.”

Albert Bergesen, director of the School of Sociology, will moderate a discussion between Daniel Benjamin, former head of counterterrorism at the State Department, and Faten Ghosn and Alex Braithwaite, associate professors in the School of Government and Public Policy.

“Our goal is for the audience to leave the Fox having learned something that they couldn’t from just watching the news,” Jones said.

The last four years of the series focused on happiness, food, immortality and privacy.

The discussions are free and open to the public.

Those interested can get tickets at the Fox Tucson Theatre box office on the day of the event or at Eventbrite at: and look up “Tucson events” on the home page search field.

Contact Mikayla Mace at or (520) 573-4158. On Twitter: @mikaylagram.