January 31, 2018 – The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities has been awarded $35,000 by the Federation of State Humanities Councils for “Journalism, Democracy, and Community,” an initiative generously supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in partnership with the Pulitzer Prizes to examine the challenges faced by the media to inform people and to advance new ways to connect journalism to communities. Through a partnership with Rhode Island Public Radio (RIPR), the initiative will include a podcast series, radio segments, a public event, and the piloting of a new technology designed to connect reporters with local citizens and communities on topics they choose. The initiative will involve journalists, Pulitzer Prize winners, humanities and communications scholars, public humanities practitioners, and public audiences.
Journalism’s core purpose—to inform—serves the fundamental idea that educated community members are the key to successful participatory democracies. But that purpose is undermined with the rise of the phenomenon of fake news, paralyzing partisanship, and social fragmentation in the age of the internet and social media networks. The goals of the initiative are to expose and discuss the challenges that local and national media outlets face in these contexts, to invigorate the connection between journalists and citizens, and to animate the question of what it means to inform and to be informed.
“The Humanities Council is excited to partner with RIPR through this new initiative inspired by the need to connect journalism to civic engagement in a democracy at risk. The podcast series will engage diverse communities and foster dialogue and new perspectives,” said Executive Director Elizabeth Francis.
As part of this initiative, Rhode Island Public Radio is seeking a highly skilled and collaborative independent producer to work on a limited multi-platform series. This position is part-time and applications are due Friday, February 16, 2018. Find the full position description at www.ripr.org.
About the Initiative
This program is part of the “Democracy and the Informed Citizen” Initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The program seeks to deepen the public’s knowledge and appreciation of the vital connections between democracy, the humanities, journalism, and an informed citizenry.
The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and RIPR thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of this initiative and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership.