Introducing the Democracy Infusion Project: A free collection of classroom resources for journalism educators
The project is designed to highlight democracy’s impact across every course and on any beat
Just days after the debut of the newest social media star baby Threads, a debate erupted about what type of content should be posted there.
Topics like “sports, music, fashion, beauty, entertainment, etc.” are more palatable, suggested the platform’s leader Adam Mosseri, because they’re devoid of “politics or hard news.” But journalist Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan rejected that idea — and echoed a couple thousand other comments — when she replied: “Every one of those things is about politics and hard news.”
Journalists have always had an important mandate to explain the role of government and politics in every single aspect of our daily lives in a democracy. It’s especially important — and particularly challenging — as we approach another contentious election.
What if journalism educators took on a larger role in that mission? What if journalism students graduated with a more holistic understanding of democracy?
That’s the idea behind today’s launch of the Democracy Infusion Project, a free collection of classroom resources for journalism educators who want every student to learn and understand “how things work” in a democratic society. The project is supported by the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University as part of U.S. Democracy Day, which is funded by Democracy Fund.
The need for infusing democracy across all journalism courses occurred to me after I volunteered last year for the Democracy Day organizing committee. This nationwide collaboration of more than 400 news organizations published hundreds of stories that explored and explained democracy’s tentacles across all beats and topics. They’ll do it again this year.
But do our journalism students have the basic knowledge for that kind of reporting?
As a longtime journalist and adjunct instructor, I’ve had many conversations with media educators and newsroom editors who shared serious concerns about civic knowledge deficits among their students…