I was at a wonderful, free-ranging discussion last week at the Kettering Foundation in Dayton, Ohio, of the role of journalism and journalists in fostering democracy. This blog entry by another participant (and they were all terrific – I felt honored to be there) sums it up really well. We’re not talking about reforming Congress or any of the other institutions of democracy. We’re talking about encouraging people working together to solve community problems. That’s a whole different thing, and much more achievable. Read on to learn more:
Last week at this time I was in Dayton, Ohio as part of a Journalism Educators Research Exchange group organized by the Kettering Foundation, which is headquartered in Dayton for a discussion about ensuring that college journalism students have a better grasp of how journalism contributes to democracy.
When I was in j-school more than three decades ago, it was an article of faith that effective journalism and functioning democracy went hand-in-glove. It was the post-Watergate era, and respect and recognition for journalists as the Fourth Estate (or sometimes, the “fourth branch” of government) was at its height.
The worlds of government and journalism both have changed dramatically since then, and what was once an article of faith is now seen as a point of derision. Journalists operate in the public interest, in service to democracy? Hah!
Which makes it all the more important that Kettering is…
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