In the past few years, a journalism reform movement known as public or civic journalism has gone from being a "counter-culture" phenomenon in a handful of newsrooms across the country to a mainstream experiment in more than 170 of them today. It has touched off a passionate and sometimes vitriolic debate at media conferences, on radio and television talk shows, and on the OpEd pages of major newspapers.
What is public journalism? Its advocates say it will restore the public's trust in the media and begin to help turn back the tide of cynicism in the country by encouraging citizen participation in our democracy. Its opponents say it is flat-out wrongheaded, simplistic "do-gooderism" that dangerously blurs the lines between journalism and activism. Both sides accuse the other of oversimplifying their positions.
Rosen is a founder of the public journalism movement.
In this article he presents the ideas propelling
(Rosen is associate professor of journalism at New York University
and director of the Project on Public Life and the Press)
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