The Diederich College of Communication and the O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism welcome New York Times reporters Jennifer Valentino-DeVries and Manny Fernandez to discuss their series, “I Can't Breathe,” which explores this tragically familiar topic.

"3 Words. 70 Cases. The Tragic History of 'I Can't Breathe'"

Event Details

The Diederich College of Communication is pleased to host Jennifer Valentino-DeVries and Manny Fernandez of the New York Times to discuss their investigative reporting series entitled "I Can't Breathe."

The media attention given to the deaths of Eric Garner in New York and George Floyd in Minnesota have sparked outrage over the use of police restraints. Fernandez and Valentino-DeVries have worked to uncover similar stories that you haven't heard.

Join us for an interactive discussion with the reporters along with time for Q&A from the audience.

About the presenters

Manny Fernandez

Manny Fernandez

Manny Fernandez is the deputy political editor of The New York Times. He was previously the Los Angeles bureau chief and served as an editor on the National desk, helping to guide coverage of California.

Before moving back to California, where he was born and raised, he spent more than nine years covering Texas as the Houston bureau chief. From 2011 to 2020, he reported on natural and man-made disasters in the nation-state that is Texas, writing from the scene of floods, droughts, wildfires, tornadoes, mass shootings and industrial explosions. During lulls in the news, he tried to capture what makes Texas Texas, writing about bootmakers, barbecue critics, truck rodeos, fishing fraud and Texans named Texas.

Before Texas, he covered New York City for the paper’s Metro section, writing about politics, housing and the many characters and oddities of the city.

Mr. Fernandez grew up in Fresno, Calif., the son of a mailman and a teacher’s aide. He graduated from California State University, Fresno, in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He worked as a reporter with The San Francisco Chronicle for three years, from 1997 to 2000. A series he wrote in 1998 about homeless runaways in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district was the newspaper’s Pulitzer Prize nominee for feature writing. He eventually traveled east, working at The Washington Post as a general assignment reporter. He covered the murders of two students at a Washington university for the deaf and the human toll of the anthrax mailings.

Mr. Fernandez began reporting for The Times in 2005. He was part of a team of reporters whose coverage of a fire in the Bronx that killed 10 people from West Africa in 2007 was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist for breaking news reporting.

He and his wife, Michelle O’Donnell, live in Los Angeles with their son and daughter.


Jennifer Valentino-DeVries

A reporter on the investigative team at The New York Times, specializing in technology coverage, Jennifer Valentino-DeVries is a veteran journalist.

Before joining The Times, she worked at The Wall Street Journal for more than a decade, as an interactive producer, reporter and member of the investigative team. Her reporting has focused on technology, privacy, computer security and the law. She was a key reporter behind the Journal’s long-running series on digital privacy, “What They Know,” which won a Gerald Loeb award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting in 2012. She shared an Overseas Press Club award for coverage of companies that enable censorship and surveillance by repressive regimes.

After leaving The Journal at the end of 2016, Ms. Valentino-DeVries helped launch the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. More recently, she has reported on Facebook for ProPublica.

Ms. Valentino-DeVries graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and has a master’s degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

About the Burleigh Media Ethics Lecture

The annual Burleigh Media Ethics Lecture addresses topical and moral issues facing the world today. Sponsored annually by the J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication, the lecture honors William R. Burleigh, a 1957 Marquette journalism graduate, who started working for the Evansville, Ind. Press at age 14 as a sports reporter. He retired in 2000 as president and CEO of the E.W. Scripps Company, having led the transformation of Scripps from primarily a newspaper enterprise into a media company with interest in cable and broadcast television, newspaper publishing, e-commerce, interactive media, licensing and syndication. Burleigh lectures address ethical issues today's communicators report on, as well as those they wrestle with in their own work.