The Future of Journalism & Democracy
Remember that old song “Love and Marriage?” “Goes together like a horse and carriage. You can’t have one without the other.” It’s kind of that way with journalism and democracy. It’s long been axiomatic that a feisty and vibrant press is essential to the healthy functioning of democracy. Journalists are the public’s eyes and ears as they monitor the activities of the powerful. Their inquiries, investigations and reporting are vital to what the Founders of the country called an informed citizenry. Jefferson and Madison never thought freedom of the press would be the private preserve of a handful of rich media barons such as Rupert Murdoch. The weakening of watchdog journalism is having negative effects on democracy. What can be done to revitalize the Fourth Estate?
Robert McChesney teaches at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of many books including Digital Disconnect. He is co-author with John Nichols of Dollarocracy. He is the co-founder of Free Press, a national media reform organization. The Utne Reader listed him among its “50 visionaries who are changing the world.”