GWU Professor Gives Journalist’s Account of Covering Pentagon Papers and Watergate

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Dr. Joseph Webb Discusses Lessons to be Learned From Nixon Years

Dr. Joseph Webb
Dr. Joseph Webb

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Dr. Joseph Webb, professor of Communication & New Media at Gardner-Webb University, was a journalist in Illinois when two historical events converged to end the presidency of Richard Nixon. Webb will discuss both events—the Pentagon Papers and Watergate—in a lecture on Nov. 26 from 7 to 9 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and will be held in Stewart Hall of Tucker Student Center.

“What Happened to President Nixon? From the Lies to the Resignation” is offered through the Joyce Compton Brown Lecture Series, which is hosted by the GWU Life of the Scholar. The program also includes a panel discussion with Webb and Dr. Elizabeth Amato, assistant professor of political science; Dr. Joseph Moore, chair of the Department of Social Sciences and associate professor of history; and Noel Manning, associate vice president for Communications and Marketing.

From 1968-1973, Webb was the Illinois legislative reporter for six daily newspapers of the Lindsay Schaub Newspaper group. He reported on how Illinois’ congressmen reacted to the leaks of the Pentagon Papers and the discovery of Watergate. “The Pentagon Papers exposed the government’s lies about Vietnam,” Webb observed. “The Supreme Court was the key player in requiring the government to release the papers. The similarities between 50 years ago and today are quite striking. The lessons to be learned by studying those Nixon years are fascinating.”

Webb began his teaching career in 1973, leaving full-time journalism at the height of the Watergate scandal. Throughout his 35-year career teaching journalism and communications law, he has studied, written and lectured about the scandal and its players—Nixon, the Plumbers, Ellsberg, “Deep Throat,” Carl Bernstein, and Bob Woodward. At some point, he would like to publish his hours and hours of research into a book.

Webb, who is also acting dean of the GWU School of Performing and Visual Arts, received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois (Urbana–Champaign) and his Doctor of Divinity from the Claremont School of Theology (Claremont, Calif.) He joined the faculty at Gardner-Webb in 2007 and received the GWU Excellence in Teaching Award in 2015. Before Gardner-Webb, he taught at various colleges and universities, including Pepperdine, California State (Northridge, San Bernardino), and Southern Illinois.

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 48 hours prior to the event. Please call 704-406-2155 or email with your request.

Gardner-Webb’s scholarly lecture series is named for Dr. Joyce Compton Brown, professor emerita of English at Gardner-Webb, who retired in 2005 after almost 40 years of service as an English professor. Among her many accomplishments, Brown formed a lecture series as part of the University’s Life of the Scholar Program in the early 1990s to introduce students to the challenging and dynamic world of professional scholarship. After her retirement, her family, friends and colleagues established a fund to provide continued support for the series she nurtured.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university that prepares students to become critical thinkers, effective leaders and compassionate servants in the global community. Emphasizing a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics, Gardner-Webb is a place where Christian conviction meets intellectual freedom. Ignite your future at