Media Literacy in our community.

A screening of TRUST ME and a panel discussion about media literacy in our community.

September 26, 2023 

screening & panel discussion 

Tuesday, September 26 at 7 p.m.
Elk River Books (122 S. 2nd St.)

Elk River Arts & Lectures presents a screening of 2023 Walter Cronkite Excellence in Journalism Award-winning documentary TRUST ME, followed by a panel discussion about media literacy in our community.

The Documentary

TRUST ME shows how an avalanche of biased news and misinformation is undermining trust in society. This drives fear, which promotes racism, political polarization and mental health disorders. When fear goes up it erodes trust. When people don’t trust each other, they don’t help each other and progress stalls. Sensational media take advantage of our survival instincts to earn more clicks and ad revenue with shocking headlines that we enable each time we share. TRUST ME uses compelling human stories, facts and expert voices to show empirical realities and the right way to consume media.

The Panelists

Joe Phelps, Producer 

Joe D. Phelps’ career has evolved from drummer, to band leader, to producer, to CEO of a marcom agency in LA, to CEO of the Getting Better Foundation — while adding the challenges and pleasures of planting trees and producing “Trust Me”, the documentary.

In 2015 Joe founded the Getting Better Foundation (GBF) to help build trust through truth. The mission is to help close the perception gap between how people view the world vs. what data shows as the empirical truth about the positive evolution of human behavior.  “Trust Me”, GBF’s first “calling card”, intends to help raise public awareness of media “ill-literacy” as a serious societal problem.

Joe lives on the Yellowstone River in Montana and enjoys helping health and environmental causes.

Scott McMillion, journalist 

Montana Quarterly Editor Scott McMillion grew up in Livingston. After graduating from the University of Montana, he knocked around the world for a few years and came home to stay in 1988.

His journalism has won dozens of awards, and his book Mark of the Grizzly became an instant classic when it was published in 1999.

He’s been a featured essayist on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer and a frequent guest on radio and television news programs, and his writing appears in magazines and newspapers around the nation.

Kate Lende, educator

After growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Kate Lende moved to Montana to attend Carroll College and have lived here ever since.  Her background is in teaching English.  After eight years in the classroom, she moved into the library at Park High. She enjoys helping students find the right book to read for fun and relevant information for their research needs. She co-teaches Multimedia Journalism, which produces the student newspaper, yearbook, and maintains the news website, Scholastic journalism has been one of her professional (and personal) passions since I was in high school myself.

The Moderator

Johnathan Hettinger, journalist

Johnathan is a journalist who moved to Livingston from Central Illinois in 2018, eager to learn and write more about the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. He has worked at the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, the Livingston Enterprise, and the (Champaign-Urbana) News-Gazette, and is currently Communications Director for the Park County Environmental Council and Treasurer of the Elk River Arts & Lectures Board of Trustees. He is enthusiastic about planning for Park County’s future, whether that means climate change or a growing population.

Praise for TRUST ME

Winner of the Walter Cronkite Excellence in Journalism Award 2023, UN’s Global Award for Media & Information Literacy 2022, MEDEA International Awards (2023 Winner), the Alexandria Film Festival, the Montana International Film Festival (Best Documentary), and more. 

“This film will have a global impact for educators, students, parents and anyone seeking remedies to the negativity thrown at people on a daily basis.”

Don Viegut, Superintendent of Schools, Livingston, MT

“We often find that the best path to student safety is to arm our children against assaults on their rational minds with the ability to think critically, and that the best path to student well-being is to inoculate our children against propaganda with facts. Trust Me delivers on both defenses as it lays bare modern threats to truth in media and invites the viewer to question everything.”

Todd Wester, Principal of Sleeping Giant Middle School

“Tragically, Montana is often number one in the nation for suicide… Documentaries like [TRUST ME] may help Montana’s population develop tools to combat this crisis.”

United States Senator John Tester

“The film will uncover ways audience members can detect manipulation by the media and how to identify truthful, accurate messages.”

United States Senator Steve Daines

Elk River Arts & Lectures is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to celebrate & cultivate Livingston’s literary legacy.

Please call 406 220 8630 or email if you have any questions.