Media & Politics: Friend or Foe?

Join us on Sunday, April 29 following the matinee performance for a panel discussion with radio host Hubert Smith, UT Journalism professor Mark Harmon, City of Knoxville’s Director of Communications Jesse Mayshark, and UT Social Work’s Director of Development and former contributor to the Knoxville Mercury Stephanie Piper. We’ll be discussing the relevancy of Urinetown, The Musical in today’s society and the media’s influence on local politics.

Panel Discussion Moderator:

Margie Nichols recently retired from the University of Tennessee and was named Vice Chancellor Emeritus after serving as Vice Chancellor for Communications for eight years. Prior to coming to UT, Nichols served as Senior Director of Communications and Government Relations for Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam. Nichols has 26 years of experience in television news, including eight years as News Director at WBIR-TV in Knoxville, as well as positions with stations in Nashville and Memphis, where she was an award-winning investigative reporter.


Hubert Smith has spent twenty-years in broadcasting radio and television in Knoxville, including “The Hubert Smith Radio Show,” on WUTK-FM 90.3, which ended in 2016. Currently, he hosts a weekly public affairs program on Community Television of Knoxville (CTV) , titled “One on One with Hubert Smith,” discussing local politics and public affairs. Hubert is also a former lecturer in UTK College of Communications and Information.


Mark Harmon is a professor of journalism and electronic media at the University of Tennessee.  He is an award-winning newspaper columnist and former Knox County Commissioner, and has worked as a television news producer and radio reporter.  He is the author of four books, more than 30 refereed research articles, and more than 70 conference papers.


Jesse Fox Mayshark is senior director of communications and government relations for the City of Knoxville. Before going to work for Mayor Madeline Rogero in 2011, he worked in journalism for 20 years as a reporter and editor for publications including MetroPulse, The New York Times and the Knoxville News Sentinel. He graduated from Penn State University in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.


Stephanie Piper is the former Features Editor of the Knoxville Journal. She was an award winning columnist for MetroPulse and the Knoxville Mercury for 19 years.