Sherron Watkins, Enron whistleblower

Sherron Watkins:
    "Enron:  A Case Study in Whistleblowing
      and American Journalism"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011, 7 p.m.
Mandel Center Auditorium G03

What role did the media play in the Enron meltdown? Media critics say the press was asleep at the switch, buying into Enron’s glowing press releases about the company’s genius, and thereby contributing to the collapse that brought the American economy to its knees.

Investigative reporter and Brandeis lecturer Alison Bass will interview Sherron Watkins, Enron’s whistleblower. Legal perspective will be provided by Dana Gold, director of the American Whistleblower Tour: Essential Voices for Accountability.

About the speakers:

Sherron Watkins is the former Vice President of Enron Corporation and whistleblower who alerted then-CEO Ken Lay in August 2001 to accounting irregularities within the company, warning him that Enron ‘might implode in a wave of accounting scandals.’ In "Power Failure, the Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron" (Doubleday 2003), Watkins tells the inside story of that scandal that rocked the American financial world and beyond. Author Gregory McNamee said this about "Power Failure":

Though Osama bin Laden’s pawns barely dented the U.S. economy, observes Alex Berenson in "The Number," [Ken] Lay and his lieutenants brought it to its knees. Swartz’s and Watkins’s eye-opening account will rekindle new indignation over unpunished crimes and well-rewarded hubris, and it ought to be required reading in business schools henceforth.

Alison Bass, lecturer in journalism at Brandeis University and author of "Side Effects: A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower, and a Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial" will interview Watkins from a reporter's point of view. Offering legal perspective will be Dana Gold, director of the American Whistleblower Tour: Essential Voices for Accountability, a program of the Government Accountability Project (GAP). 

This lecture is presented by the Brandeis Journalism Program and the International Business School, and cosponsored by the American Studies Program, the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences, and the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.