Research on Journalists' Role in Democracy

Talia Stroud of the University of Texas is embarking on a study for KF focusing on the current attitudes of journalism students toward citizens and citizenship. She's already written about some opportunities for improving the relationship between citizens and the media on the Democracy Fund blog. It is relatively easy to paint a depressing portrait of citizens' news media use. Fed up with politics and tempted by the lure of more entertaining media, some tune out of politics and public affairs altogether. Others, driven by partisan proclivities, look to news sources that present agreeable views of the world. And facing more intense competition, news organizations struggle to advance both their journalistic and business missions. With these challenges, however, come opportunities. Are there more compelling ways to present news that might attract unengaged citizens? Are there ways to bridge partisan divides when presenting the news? Even more, can the news help people to approach other views with the same charity that they display when approaching views with which they agree? And can all this be done while advancing the bottom line? READ MORE. The journalism and democracy workgroup hopes to use Stroud's forthcoming paper on journalism students' attitudes as the basis for experiments in how those attitudes might be shifted, and what effect that might have on how journalists do their work.