Civic Journalism

Can press reforms revitalize democracy?


The press is in trouble. Fewer people are reading newspapers or watching TV news, and many Americans say journalists make the nation's political problems worse, not better. But a reform movement is seeking to rebuild public trust for journalists and, in the process, revitalize American democracy. It aims to draw people back into public life and steer political discourse away from attack ads and sound bites toward a more constructive search for solutions to society's problems. Critics worry that this noble-sounding goal could undermine such journalistic ideals as detachment and objectivity. But this is a debate about more than journalism alone. Ultimately, proponents say, the relationship between citizens and their government - and the prospects for participatory democracy - are at stake.

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