Democracy & the Informed Citizen

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. Thus, journalism is located solidly at the heart of the humanities.

The Democracy and the Informed Citizen initiative has three primary aims: 1) to deepen the public’s knowledge and appreciation of the close connections between democracy, the humanities, journalism, and an informed citizenry; 2) to increase media literacy by engaging the public in discussions with respected journalists and scholars about reliable and unreliable sources of information; and 3) to explore obstacles to sustaining high-quality journalism, especially local journalism, and potential solutions.

Georgia Humanities collaborated with the Atlanta Press Club to produce a series of public programs exploring current media issues, accompanied by a media literacy guide, How Journalists and the Public Shape Our Democracy: From Social Media and “Fake News” to Reporting Just the Facts (created in partnership with the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism). The public programs took place at the Gwinnett Public Library in Suwanee, the Stonecrest Public Library in Lithonia, and the Auburn Avenue Research Library in Atlanta in spring 2019.

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

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

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

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