Dean’s Lecture Series & Reception: A Conversation With Journalist David Plotz; Fake Bits, Real Bricks – Using Digital Information to Change the Physical World

Event Start Date: Thursday, September 28, 2023 - 3:00 pm

Event End Date: Thursday, September 28, 2023 - 5:30 pm

Location: Eaton Theater, Knight Hall


Reception: 3:00-4:15 PM

Lecture: 4:30-5:30 PM

The Deans of the UMD College of Information Studies and the UMD Philip Merrill College of Journalism present the Dean’s Lecture Series & Reception: A Conversation With Journalist David Plotz; Fake Bits, Real Bricks – Using Digital Information to Change the Physical World.

On September 28th, the University of Maryland (UMD) is bringing a unique opportunity to our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends—a peek into the inner workings of famed journalist and information entrepreneur David Plotz.

“In this time of AI-mania and digital creation, you may be overcome by a somewhat depressing feeling that all this information you interact with each day is merely flat and electronic. We congratulate the new AI large language models for the achievement of spewing out a simulacrum of human speech, consumable only on screens. The entire crypto industry is premised on using massive amounts of electronic power to create a store of value that can only exist electronically, and can only be traded by people at a distance from each other, through a screen. Social media platforms exist to present a world to others who are physically distant and disconnected from you—to give you a social experience created by screens, only experienced on screens. All this feels deeply INHUMAN.” ~ David Plotz

David Plotz is joining us in person to share about how information—well organized, useful, well preserved, truthful digital information—can create the human experiences so many of us crave in the real, physical world. David has created a career out of harnessing digital information to create action and experience and change in the physical world. Join us for this talk to learn how to put digital and analytical skills to use… but also go places, meet people, and change real things.

All UMD faculty, staff, students, alumni, friends as well as members of the community are invited to this free, in-person reception and lecture. Students, the reception is an excellent opportunity to enjoy food and networking! Registration is required. Click here for directions, transportation, and parking; campus map.


David Plotz is CEO of City Cast (, a network of daily local podcasts and newsletters in cities across the country. He also hosts the Slate Political Gabfest, the popular weekly podcast. From 2014 to 2020, Plotz was the first CEO of Atlas Obscura, the media and travel company devoted to celebrating and visiting the world’s most wondrous places. Plotz was Editor-in-Chief of Slate from 2008 to 2014, where he built its podcasting business. Earlier in his career, Plotz was a writer and editor for Slate and the Washington City Paper. He’s the author of two books, one about the Bible, the other about a sperm bank for Nobel Prize winners. He lives in DC with his three kids.

Speaker(s): David Plotz


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