Democracy & the Informed Citizen

The Democracy and the Informed Citizen initiative explores the essential role that the humanities and journalism play in creating an informed citizenry, and in turn, a healthy democracy.


Since our nation’s founding, the humanities have been essential for helping citizens to understand their history, think creatively, and make reasoned judgments and decisions. Journalists play a vital role in surfacing previously untold stories and creating a context for understanding them. At their best, journalists identify issues of concern to communities and provide information to help citizens make reasoned decisions about them, locating journalism at the heart of the humanities.

Our Media Literacy Guidebook

Georgia Humanities published the media literacy guidebook, How Journalists and the Public Shape Our Democracy: From Social Media and “Fake News” to Reporting Just the Facts in collaboration with the Atlanta Press Club and the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication as part of the Democracy and the Informed Citizen initiative.

Most important, I hope this guidebook will help you to view, listen to, and read news in a way that allows you to analyze the information you receive. Interpret it clearly and logically. Then evaluate it before you share it or take action. Hopefully, what is learned from this guidebook will help you understand and support freedom of the press and its role in maintaining our democracy.

—Monica Kaufman Pearson, foreword, How Journalists and the Public Shape Our Democracy

The guidebook covers such topics as the role of journalism in our democracy, the confusion over how news is researched and reported, and the responsibilities of citizens to assess the credibility of information and analyze its significance. The guidebook is available for public download at no-cost.

Public Programs

Georgia Humanities collaborated with the Atlanta Press Club to produce a series of public programs that explored current media issues. The public programs in DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties and on St. Simons Island engaged public audiences in panel discussions with journalists. Held at public libraries—institutions central to civic life—these discussions aimed to increase media literacy by examining topics covered in the media literacy guidebook.

Upcoming Event: Join GPB and Georgia Humanities for a livestream event on Tuesday, October 6 at 7:00p.m., with GPB’s Leah Fleming, Donna Lowry, and Virginia Prescott, in candid conversation with an expert lineup of guests. The conversation will tackle truth in journalism and the roles the media and the humanities play in an informed democracy.

Do you have a question on this topic to share in the conversation? We want to hear from you! Please click here to submit your question, and we will do our best to address it during the live program.

Panelists Michelle Johnson and Orlando Montoya engage with the audience post-program.
Panelists Michelle Johnson (left) of the College of Coastal Georgia, and Orlando Montoya (middle) of WRUU-107.5 Savannah, continue the public program's discussion with an audience member on St. Simons Island in June 2019.

Related Content

Listen to an interview with Georgia Humanities and “A Closer Look” host Rose Scott on WABE.

Explore Look Forward, a digital exhibition about the impact of Pulitzer-winning journalists on the civil rights movement.


The Democracy and the Informed Citizen initiative aims to deepen the public’s knowledge and appreciation of the close connections between democracy, the humanities, journalism, and an informed citizenry; to increase media literacy by engaging the public in discussions with respected journalists and scholars about reliable and unreliable sources of information; and to explore obstacles to sustaining high-quality journalism, especially local journalism, including potential solutions.

We thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of this initiative and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership.

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