As citizens’ trust in institutions has plummeted over the last four decades, so too has citizens’ trust in the news media. Citizens are capable of enhancing, even performing, the work of journalism, and journalists are capable of enhancing the work of citizens. When journalists and citizens work together on reporting projects, journalists’ trust in citizens’ abilities improves and citizens’ trust in the media improves.
This Kettering Foundation Working Paper by Lee Becker, Tudor Vlad, and Andreea Voina outlines the development and implementation in 2017 of a university-level course at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication that addressed a serious gap in journalism education. The class explored what journalism has to do with citizenship. Journalism curricula at US universities routinely include discussions of citizens, identified as those served by journalists and journalism, but coursework that focuses on citizenship or on citizen perspectives on journalism is less common.
The paper provides a course description and suggestions for the development and implementation of a course on the relationship between journalism and citizens, applicable to journalism and other university curricula in the future. It includes a preface by Paul Voakes, professor of journalism, emeritus, at the University of Colorado.