Democracy and the Informed Citizen

In his January 8, 1789, letter to Richard Price, Thomas Jefferson noted, “. . . wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.” Though often misquoted, it nevertheless it bears the message that a well informed citizenry is foundational to a successful democracy.

Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities, notes, “The collapse of local journalism has created a crisis for democracy. Residents no longer get the information they need to understand the critical issues facing their community, to make good decisions for their family, and hold elected officials accountable.”

In this episode of the Ohio Humanities podcast, WYSO General Manager Luke Dennis and Neenah Ellis, multi-award-winning radio documentary maker and Luke’s predecessor as WYSO’s general manager, talk about their partnership with Report for America, and the value and future of local reporting.