From: Miriam White <>
 Date: Tue, 17 May 2005 12:39:46 -0400  

Dear Commission Members,


Below is a list of nine propositions that we will discuss at the commission meeting on June 12-14, 2005 at the Annenberg Public Policy Center.  We provide links to background readings under each of the propositions.  The articles from major newspapers do not have links included, but they can be accessed through most university library databases.  Please let us know if you would prefer hard copies of these readings and we will mail them to you.  We will also be sending The Breaux Symposium, News in the Public Interest: A Free and Subsidized Press, and a copy of the Institutions of American Democracy Press Volume.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions.


Sunnylands' Commission on the Role of the Press in a Democracy Propositions and Readings


Overview Material


Stephen Bates.  "Realigning Journalism with Democracy: The Hutchins Commission, Its Times, and Ours."


Merrill Brown. "Abandoning the News" What's the future of the news business?"  Carnegie Reporters, Vol 3/No 2, Spring 2005.


Philip Meyer.   "Saving Journalism: How to Nurse the Good Stuff Until It Pays." Columbia Journalism Review, Issue 6 November/December.


Frank Ahrens.  "Hard News Daily Papers Face Unprecedented Competition." Washington Post, 20 February 2005, F01.


William Powers. "The Massless Media."  The Atlantic Monthly. Jan/Feb 2005, pg. 122.


Steven Pearlstein.  "New Media Grope for the Right Formula."  Washington Post, 18 February 2005, Page E01.


Michael Getler.  "The Essential Newspaper." Washington Post, 27 February 2005, B06.


Toward Journalism in the Public Interest: Propositions for Discussion:


1. The media can significantly strengthen their own position by doing a better job of holding themselves accountable and making their work transparent.


Claude-Jean Bertrand. "Press Councils and Media Accountability Systems." International Press Institute.  


Martha Stone. "Interactivity and Transparency".  Poynteronline. 1 February 2002.


Jennifer Dorroh. "The Ombudsman Puzzle." American Journalism Review. Feb/Mar 2005.


"Preserving Our Readers' Trust." New York Times. 9 May 2005.


Jon Ziomek. "Journalism Transparency and the Public Trust. The Aspen Institute. (will email PDF's)


2. In this period of challenge and change, journalists would profit by seeking a clearer common understanding of ethics and good practices, and a deliberate recommitment to journalism's public-service role.


William Sullivan. "Preparing Professionals as Moral Agents." The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. December 2004.


Tim Porter. "Good Work." First Draft by Tim Porter. 28 January 2004. 


Doug McGill. "Our Code is Falling to Pieces." Press Think: Ghost of Democracy in the Media Machine by Jay Rosen. 29 October 2004.


3. Our society would be better served if journalists could make their voices heard more effectively - in response to freedom of information challenges, reporters threatened with jailing, concerted efforts at misrepresentation of the press, etc.


Geneva Overholser. "Journalism's Champions Must Speak With One Voice." Columbia Journalism Review. May/June 2003.


Linda Deutsch (AP). "AP President Proposes Media Lobby to Fight Government Secrecy." The Mercury News. 6 May 2005.


John S. Carroll. "The Wolf in Reporters Clothing: The Rise of Pseudo-Journalism in America" (Ruhl Lecture on Ethics Delivered at the University of Oregon).  Los Angeles Times.  6 May 2004. 


Tim McGuire. "We Need a Galvanizing Force." American Press Institute. 1 April 2002.


4. A greater role for nonprofits - organizations such as the Center for Public Integrity, the St. Petersburg Times, and National Public Radio, along with foundation support -- could help lift all media.


The Breaux Symposium.  News in the Public Interest: A Free and Subsidized Press. The Manship School of Mass Communication. March 20, 2004. (Will be mailed to all participants)


Carl Sessions Stepp. "Journalism Without Profit Margins." American Journalism Review, Oct/ Nov 2004, pg. 37.



Jack Shafer. "PBS Unplugged." Slate.


5. More responsible corporate governance among media companies is essential if the costly work of original journalism is to be sustained.


Geneva Overholser. "Profit Pressures Over Time." Poynter Online. 8 April 2004.


John Soloski. "Taking Stock Redux." (will send)


6. The government role in protecting, regulating, and supporting the press demands thoughtful consideration and public discussion.


Robert M. Entman.  "American Media and the Quality of Voter Information."  Aspen Institute.  (Will email PDF's)


7. The essential role of a free and responsible press must be made a primary concern of the public. Only they can protect and sustain it. The discussion must be brought to public attention.


Nicholas Kristoff. "A Slap in the Face." New York Times. 12 April 2005.


"On Mission: It's Time to Reconnect the Press and the Public." Columbia Journalism Review. March/April 2005.


8. Citizens of a democracy have a responsibility to be informed. Media literacy courses, stronger civics education, and other tools can create the environment of vigorous debate in which the press can thrive.


Evan Cornog. "Let's Blame the Readers: Is it possible to do great journalism if the public does not care?" Columbia Journalism Review.  Jan/ Feb 2005, pg. 43.


Reviews of David T.Z. Mindich's new book, Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don't Follow the News:




9. New forms of media, the engagement of a richer array of people in producing media, and new ways of using media are transforming the landscape. An understanding of these changes, their potential, and the challenges they pose is essential to addressing the problems and opportunities confronting journalism.


Jim Lehrer Interview Transcript.  "With Circulation Dwindling for Major Paid Newspapers in the U.S., Publications Distributed for Free, or 'Freebies,' Are Changing the Landscape of the Media Business in Cities Across the Country." 2 May 2005.


Rina Chandran.  "Ethnic Media Comes of Age." Business Line. 20 June 2002.


Online Video from the Museum of Media History.


The Impact of the New Media: A Live, Inter@ctive Discussion & Webcast. The Brookings Institute: A Brookings Briefing. 22 March 2005.


Rachel Konrad.  " Founder Eyes Journalism." YahooNews. 7 May 2005.



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