ROCKLAND - Chet Lunner will speak on the impact of fake news at the Rockland Public Library on Tuesday, February 12 at 6 p.m. This talk is part of the "World in Your Library Foreign Policy Speaking Series" and is brought to the Library by through a partnership between the Maine Humanities Council, Rockland Public Library, and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Chet Lunner brings a unique, 360-degree perspective of current affairs and “fake news” as a veteran journalist, government spokesman and crisis communications expert.
He has held virtually every job in a newspaper newsroom from cub reporter to editor to national news correspondent, and then worked as a Congressional chief of staff before being presidentially appointed as Press Secretary to The Hon. Norman Y. Mineta, U.S. Secretary of Transportation under President George W. Bush.
At the National Press Club, in downtown Washington, D.C., Lunner’s work hangs in a place of honor, commemorating his national reporting skills. He wrote that particular story “live” in January 1986 from Kennedy Space Center, where he had moments earlier witnessed firsthand the Challenger space shuttle disaster as the on-scene correspondent for USA Today and the nationwide Gannett News Service news wire.
In Congress, he is remembered as a senior staffer with the particular ability to work in a bipartisan fashion, playing key roles in the creation and growth of such unique initiatives as the Faith & Politics Institute, the Congressional Civility Retreats, and the biennial Civil Rights Pilgrimages for members of Congress and their families to Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma, Alabama.
He led the Department of Transportation’s response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, overseeing the entire spectrum of public affairs activities for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Air Marshals Service, and Transportation Security Administration (TSA), while frequently assisting the White House Press Office.
But before achieving these national accomplishments, Lunner was a Mainer-by-choice, starting in 1977 when he joined the staff of the Biddeford Journal Tribune, where he quickly rose to the managing editor position.
Later, he became city editor of the Portland Evening Express, (the afternoon edition of the Portland Press Herald), and was subsequently appointed editor and assistant general manager of the Kennebec Journal in Augusta.
He was the founding president of the Society of Professional Journalists, Maine Chapter; and is a member of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. He has been a guest and on-air analyst for WCSH Channel 6, WBLZ Channel 2, WGAN radio, Maine Public Radio and numerous national outlets.
Retired from federal service, he lives in Cape Elizabeth with his wife, Sandy.
Rockland Public Library is located at 80 Union St. in Rockland. This talk is free and open to the public. For more information please call (207) 594-0310.