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Charter Building Forum, Phase II Forum Archive

These discussion topics are from the Phase II web forum held in December 2002 through January, 2003.

1. Critique the draft of the Charter

Cole Campbell has crafted a draft of the Society’s Charter based on the discussions that occurred during Phase I of the web forum. (See the Phase I Archive folder for all the old discussion topics.)

Our goal here in Phase II of the webforum is to critique and help amend the draft of the charter before the live Charter Meeting at Kennesaw State University on January, 24-25, 2003.

Note that each section of the draft has its own URL to make it easy to refer to draft language:

Mission | Who | What | When | Where | Why | How

Leonard Witt – Jan 6, 2003 9:55 am (#1 Total: 29)

Welcome Back Everyone — Phase II Begins

Welcome back everyone. It is time to begin Phase II of building a Charter for our new public journalism society.

To get started, you will want to read the new draft of the Charter as rewritten by Cole Campbell. Those of you who participated in Phase I of this online forum will see a lot of your ideas embedded in the second draft.

Plus as you read the draft you will see what a strong document it is.

Now we need to hear your comments. What did we miss? What did we get right? What did we get wrong? Think a word, phrase or the whole document should be changed. Tell us why. Help us build a more perfect document and a more perfect society.

Oh, one more thing—the name.

Why not The International Society of Public Journalists

With the tag line:

Democracy’s Watchdogs.

We want to be an international society so that’s a no brainer. So then is it civic journalism or public journalism. Apparently public journalism will be better understood internationally than civic journalism. And that’s what we are about, enhancing public life.

So there we have it:

The International Society of Public Journalists.

Comments? Let them fly. That’s what this forum is about. And after Phase I, we know this online forum works. Just read this draft of the Charter and you will agree.

Oh and the watchdog piece. That was an inspiration from Dennis Foley of The Orange County Register. To learn more see my weblog entry for Sunday, January 5, 2003.

If you are new to the discussion and want to warm up to it, read the full archived forum discussion or simply read the excerpts from Phase I. The excerpts are fairly quick read.

The key message: We need you to participate in the forum now. Your ideas are important.


Cole C. Campbell – Jan 6, 2003 10:31 am (#2 Total: 29)

This Draft is Your Draft, This Draft is My Draft

Greetings, fellow posters.

The draft charter now posted draws heavily on Phase I of the discussions, with a great boost from you, Len, given your synthesis of the first-phase discussions. I borrowed whole cloth from many other contributors, too.

My role as “author” of the draft simply has been to organize and condense the main ideas into a discussable — and revisable — document.

If I have landed on one side or another of a contentious argument, I didn’t do so consciously. There is no intended signal that one side of an argument has prevailed over another. If there are contentious points, we may resolve them online or face to face at Kennesaw State.

Any pride of authorship I have is pride in the robust discussion we all have fomented thus far. So don’t worry about offending me with your suggestions or criticisms. I’m easy to criticize but hard to offend.

Thanks for moving us forward.

Griff Wigley – Jan 6, 2003 10:44 am (#3 Total: 29)

System Admin

Greetings, gents, thanks for getting us rolling.

My apologies to you both and Buzz Merrit and anyone else who tried to post to this topic this morning. I forgot to flip the read-only switch off. Argh!

Leonard Witt – Jan 6, 2003 12:27 pm (#4 Total: 29)

What about Australia?

I was just reading though our charter where it reads:

It is being organized by journalists and journalism educators from North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Europe.

We left out Australia which has a vibrant civic journalism movement.

So if we are going to be an international organization we need to hear from people from around the world.

Got contacts? Let us know who they are. We will try to engage them in the conversation.

Buzz Merritt – Jan 6, 2003 2:13 pm (#5 Total: 29)

Buzz Merritt

Leonard and Cole deserve applause for pulling together a really strong draft. A couple of thoughts: the “democracy’s watchdog” concept is excellent for incorporation into the mission, but it bothers me as a sort of subtitle. Standing alone, the words are potentially more limiting than declarative, and the phrase positions us–the society–as unilateral actors when the body and thrust of the charter is collaborative.

The mission segment does talk about democracy in two places, as it should, but it also needs a reference to the nexus between journalism and democracy in the second graf, where we announce our goal. If someone looks to the current draft for a simple statement of our goal, she would come away with improving journalism and nothing else. (Imagine a news story with the line, “The goal of the society is to strengthen the practice and quality of journalism everywhere.’” We’d declare the reporter had gotten it wrong.) Our ultimate goal is not to simply strengthen journalism; actually that’s the method of reaching the goal of enriched democracy and public life. I think it’s important to assert the nexus at every point and so would make the second graf something like: Our goal is to strengthen the practice and quality of journalism everywhere and thereby strengthen public life and democracy everywhere. As an alternative: As journalism and democracy are fully interdependent, our goal is to strengthen democracy by strengthening the journalism that underlies it.

And Australia and New Zealand do need to be in there. Some interesting work has gone on in both places.

Cole C. Campbell – Jan 6, 2003 2:43 pm (#6 Total: 29)

Good catch

Buzz, you make a very good point about explicitly linking the improvements in journalism with strengthening democracy wherever we can.

Tom Warhover – Jan 6, 2003 4:05 pm (#7 Total: 29)

I wouldn’t rule out Buzz’s first point either. Democracy’s Watchdog has a great ring to it. But a watchdog simply barks, not builds. We need to do both.

Other thoughts:

– Isn’t it enough to say, in the first graf, “the relationships between public life and democracy?” Isn’t public life the big tent that includes communities and citizens?

– Do we really want to measure success? Or have others measure success for us? Isn’t the purpose is more about exploration and conversation? (Success, for me, would be nothing more than to continue to foster debate about the purpose and philosophy of journalism. Not public journalism. Journalism. (Nothing more — and that is everything, to blaspheme Joseph Conrad.) )

Stanford Mukasa – Jan 6, 2003 4:05 pm (#8 Total: 29)

What about Africa?

I note that the session ( 9:30–10:00) on “The international perspective – Views from Japan, Europe and South America” leaves out Africa.

Stan Mukasa

Leonard Witt – Jan 6, 2003 4:46 pm (#9 Total: 29)

Africa Must Be Included

Stan, you are referring to the agenda for the live summit on Jan. 24-25 here at Kennesaw State–which was tentative.

We have been trying to line up representatives from each continent, but we have limited funds and it’s tough for people to pay their own way.

Now the only certain foreign journalist will be Hideya Terashima from Japan. He is here in the USA on a Fulbright studying civic journalism.

As I mentioned in an earlier post in Phase I, with about $2,500 we could bring in people from Asia, Africa, Europe. and South America. But I don’t have it in my budget.

Also in the Charter Draft we do specifically say:

The society is an international society. It is being organized by journalists and journalism educators from North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Europe. (We will add Australia and New Zealand.)

We can say that because we have had online participation from Asia, Africa and South America. Now we have to figure out how to get live representation too.

Thanks for calling us on this. The last thing we want to be is ethnocentric, and the way to prevent that is to open the door in this society to everyone, everywhere.

Stanford Mukasa – Jan 7, 2003 12:15 am (#10 Total: 29)

World Summit on the Information Society

The World Summit on Information Society will be held at the end of this year. The Summit aims at mapping out an information agenda for the 21st Century. This information agenda will help define social and other relationships in a way that will enhance human progress. The second Preparatory Committee meeting for WSIS will be held end of February and interested stakeholders are invited to submit suggestions for discussion and possible inclusion in the Program of Action that will emerge from the Summit at the end of the year.

Is this something we might be interested in looking at? I have posted below extracts from the Summit’s description.

Stanford Mukasa


The global information society is evolving at breakneck speed. The accelerating convergence between telecommunications, broadcasting multimedia and information and communication technologies (ICTs) is driving new products and services, as well as ways of conducting business and commerce. At the same time, commercial, social and professional opportunities are exploding as new markets open to competition and foreign investment and participation. The modern world is undergoing a fundamental transformation as the industrial society that marked the 20th century rapidly gives way to the information society of the 21st century. This dynamic process promises a fundamental change in all aspects of our lives, including knowledge dissemination, social interaction, economic and business practices, political engagement, media, education, health, leisure and entertainment. We are indeed in the midst of a revolution, perhaps the greatest that humanity has ever experienced. To benefit the world community, the successful and continued growth of this new dynamic requires global discussion and harmonization in appropriate areas.


The World Summit on the Information Society will provide a unique opportunity for all key stakeholders to assemble at a high-level gathering and to develop a better understanding of this revolution and its impact on the international community. It aims to bring together Heads of State, Executive Heads of United Nations agencies, industry leaders, non-governmental organizations, media representatives and civil society in a single high-level event. The roles of the various partners (Member States, UN specialized agencies, private sector and civil society) in ensuring smooth coordination of the practical establishment of the information society around the globe will also be at the heart of the Summit and its preparation.


The anticipated outcome of the Summit is to develop and foster a clear statement of political will and a concrete plan of action for achieving the goals of the Information Society, while fully reflecting all the different interests at stake. The scope and nature of this ambitious project will require partnerships with public and private entities, and such partnerships will be actively sought in the coming months.

Stanford Mukasa – Jan 7, 2003 12:30 am (#11 Total: 29)

Development Journalism

One traditional theory of journalism in Africa is Developmental. It envisages a partnership between government and journalists in promoting human socioeconomic development. Most unfortunately it has been interpreted in some African countries as blind support for government. This interpretation makes the journalist a mere public relations agent for the government. However, in the post Cold War era there has emerged a new breed of African journalists who seek to assert their journalistic independence from this coerced partnership. A new definition and practice of developmental journalism should see journalists developing a dynamic partnership with civil society [rather than government]. The Kennesaw Summit should discuss how the international community of Public journalists can be involved in helping forge this partnership in a campaign for, or in support of, among other things, democracy and human rights.

Leonard Witt – Jan 7, 2003 5:09 pm (#12 Total: 29)

Public Journalism and Africa

Stan, you alert us to the work that public journalists can do worldwide. You mention that African journalists are coerced into a binding partnership with government. You say one way to break that bind is to have journalists interact more with the public.

I think some North American journalists, among them public journalists, would say that although we are not coerced perhaps we also are too tied to the government’s take on reality and not tied enough to the citizens’ take on reality.

Perhaps what happens in Africa, might, in more subtle ways, be happening here too. These are exactly the types of topics that this new public journalism society must think about, talk about and research in an effort to be a catalyst for positive change.

Neil Heinen – Jan 7, 2003 5:13 pm (#13 Total: 29)

Charter Draft

My appreciation to Cole and Leonard for providing us with a terrific draft with which to work. It indeed encompasses many of my concerns and hopes for this organization. Our meeting in a couple of weeks comes at the perfect time as the We The People Wisconsin partners are discussing our future as a public journalism entity. I’m in search of inspiration. There are other groups with whom I have been working, including the Harwood Institute and the Center for Democracy in Action (a Madison group) that are eagerly awaiting the results of our meeting, reinforcing for me the importance of a society that values partnerships with others who share our values and goals. My inclination is to shorten the mission. Keep it general enough to allow for comfortable association by those interested in testing the waters while still clearly stating our core concept of “An association of journalists and journalism educators interested in exploring and strengthening the relationship between public life and democracy.” Thanks Tom. I agree with Buzz: restate it as a goal. “Our goal is to enrich democracy and public life and strengthen the practice and quality of journalism everywhere.” And leave it at that. I agree with Tom on eliminating measurement as a part of our mission. And while I’d be inclined to use it in one of my editorials Leonard, I find “Democracy’s Watchdogs” a distraction.

Leonard Witt – Jan 7, 2003 9:04 pm (#14 Total: 29)

Here Are the Changes, However….

Buzz, Tom, Neil:

Here are the changes as requested

Mission: This is an association of journalists and journalism educators interested in exploring and strengthening the relationship between public life and democracy.”

Goal: Our goal is to enrich democracy and public life and strengthen the practice and quality of journalism everywhere.

Buzz’s Alternative Goal: As journalism and democracy are fully interdependent, our goal is to strengthen democracy by strengthening the journalism that underlies it.

I like the mission; the goal gets a bit redundant. Plus I want to make sure that we are not seen as residing in the ether.

That’s why words like communities and citizens are important to me and also why talking about helping journalists and educators grow professionally, improving the craft, fostering ground-breaking journalism and–over time– enhancing democracy are also important.

We want to help journalists think about the philosophical, sociological, and political underpinnings of their work, but we also want to show them that we are willing to take applied approaches to improve the craft and democracies.

I might add neither Cole nor I can claim ownership of those phrases that I admire. They came from participants of the first phase of this online forum. I am interested in hearing what they have to say.

Jan Schaffer – Jan 8, 2003 10:04 am (#15 Total: 29)

It’s about THEM

My hat is off to Cole and Len, et al, for a good charter draft. Warm thanks.

But I do want to register one concern. To me, civic journalism is not about US, the journalists. It’s about THEM, the readers, listeners, viewers. It’s about how journalism can engage them in public issues — by attending a meeting, joining, volunteering, voting, participating in civic life in some fashion. It’s about holding citizens just as accountable as we would hold public officials.

I’m troubled that our mission and goals are too inward-focused. They’re about US. I’m squirming at a naval-gazing quality ; it feels offputting. Even a bit sanctimonious..

Civic journalism is all about mixing up with citizens in some way — through deliberations, mapping, framing, providing entry points for participation.

And when journalists have done that, civic journalism has derived the most converts, the most epiphanies.

I’m not dissing high-minded, stratospheric discussions from all the wonderfully intelligent people in this movement. Those need to happen, too.

I am suggesting we think about framing our mission so that it’s a little more accessible to newcomers.

I woulld offer something in this direction:

Mission: This is an association of journalists and educators (I wouldn’t limit it to journalism educators) interested in creating and refining quality journalism that more effectively engages citizens and thereby strengthens democracy.


Jan Schaffer

Hideya Terashima – Jan 8, 2003 7:23 pm (#16 Total: 29)

One idea on “How”

Please let me say, A happy new year, in the beggining. We Japanese can’t start anything without it.

If you could allow me to make a suggestion from a foreign journalist’s view, I hope you to consider to add something like “Create the archives on Civic/Public Journalism on web which can be accessed by any journalists and scholars in the world”, to “How” on the draft.

What is Civic/Public Journalism? It has been taking me several months to comprehend what that means. Surfing on Google everyday to search for ariticles, essays, books, publications of Pew Center etc at random, and reading mountainous materials and transmitting emails to civic journalists of whom I got name, from a spot “Zero” .

Yes, surely it is research. I’m here at Duke just for researching and bringing “what Civic Journalism is”,”What in it can work in Japan” into deliberation among my colleagues. Organizing a study group among who get interest might be the first step after returning home. But actually, the movement of Civic Journalism is little known in my country (one major reason should be our traditional climate without scholars of journalism who could lead crafts in newsroom to another dimention as in America).

So it would be great help for foreigh journalists to understand “what is Civic/public Journalism?” if new society could set up archives on web, which introduces journalistic achievement of the movement in comprehensive way. It might include representative essays on its history, academic reports, reviews of works such as “Taking back our neighborhoods” “The Public Agenda” “We the People Wisconsin” through the latest exellent initiatives, if possible. In some years, it might work as the archives also introducing international works to colleagues in America.

For foreign journalists, I supporse, it would be essencial to get an accessible place to be able to compare with one another’s works to know what defferent or common is, where we are in current world’s journalism. Such process could lead to common ground for us all to work with in comming time.

I’d be happy if this could be useful to your discussion.

With Best regards,

Hideya Terashima

Cole C. Campbell – Jan 8, 2003 9:10 pm (#17 Total: 29)

Most useful, indeed

Hideya, your observation about making explicit in the “How” section a commitment to making foundational documents and examples available to anyone around the world is a most useful comment. The society does not have to maintain the definitive archive, but its Web site certainly can link to all the major documents and examples in a coherent way that would make it easier for journalists from Japan, Africa or anywhere in the United States or the world to follow the progression of the ideas and practices that make up public or civic journalism.

Thanks for keeping that valuable function front and center in our discussion.

And Happy New Year to you!

Stanford Mukasa – Jan 9, 2003 7:50 pm (#18 Total: 29)


Hideya’s comments are pertinent in arriving at a universal definition of civic/public/community journalism. Why do some people call themselves Civic journalists, Public journalists, Community journalists, or just journalists when they all deal with the public? We will have to start building literature and scholarship on what we mean by the International Society of Public Journalists, especially the “public” part.

Stan Mukasa

Kathy Campbell – Jan 10, 2003 10:14 am (#19 Total: 29)


Just a note to get down in writing something most of us have probably noticed: If the acronym for International Society of Public Journalists becomes commonplace, many folks might reasonably conclude that the group was an offshoot of the Society of Professional Journalists.

I know the name issue is still unresolved but the acronym/nickname/logo possibilities should be a big part of the decision.

Kathy Campbell (kc)

Len Witt – Jan 10, 2003 9:57 pm (#20 Total: 29)


Kathy, when I see the acronym for International Society of Public Journalists as ISPJ it doesn’t seem connected to the SPJ to me.

I don’t think anyone will read them side by side.

Len Witt – Jan 10, 2003 10:30 pm (#21 Total: 29)

America’s Role in the World

Hi forum participants;

Cole Campbell and I are in Philadelphia to observe a National Issues Forum being produced by McNeil Lehrer Productions and James Fishkin, who constructed the deliberative issues forum in Texas back in 1996.

Some 360 randomly chosen citizens from around the country are here to discuss what America’s role should be in this era of globalization.

Stay tune for more details over the next couple of days. But for those who might be wondering about the state of public journalism, this is a good sign that it is alive and well.

Cole and I were also with several other observers including Buzz Merritt, Jay Rosen, Fannie Flono, John X. Miller, Hideya Terashimas, and Tom Warhover, all of whom will be coming to Kennesaw State University for the Charter Meeting on Jan. 24-25, 2003.

The discussion turned to what can be done to make public journalism more mainstream. An interesting question that seems to dominate even in the midst of this groundbeaking event.

We’ve heard the question before now we have to start providing the answers in this new professional society.

Chris Waddle – Jan 13, 2003 2:11 pm (#22 Total: 29)

VP/News of The Anniston Star and Director of the Ayers Institute

We’ll know Public Journalism has arrived when….

Hello. I’m new to this forum but not to Public Journalism. Len Witt asked me to weigh in with a point I made in conversation last week.

Sustainability of this skein in the fabric of mass communications ought to be a chief goal of our emerging Society.

I am a full time editor who sometimes teaches journalism. I’ve seen Public Journalism grow from counter intuition to a generalized notion to a bright idea to a counter cultural venture to a genuine movement.

Public Journalism has not, however, achieved the status of an idea that does not have to be explained over and over. Why else are we writing this charter?

When we can use the term and take for granted that its meaning will be commonly understood by Press and Public, then our Movement shall have arrived. Even my own newsroom does not share a generally understood industry definition for Public Journalism. Nor do I think we are unique.

If it were not for the coming Charter Summit, could we be sure Public Journalism would not slip into journalism history as a fad?

I think a primary goal of The International Society of Public Journalists should be sustainability of the movement by driving our understanding of it into the mainstream. What we declare in our charter should say so. Walter Lippman said it is the duty of every journalist to drive the incompetents out of the profession. It should be our duty to drive the notion of Public Journalism into it.

The resulting credibility will lift Public Journalism as a professional tool and a widespread feature of journalism curricula.

Chris Waddle

Executive Editor and VP/News, The Anniston Star, Anniston, Ala.

Jan Schaffer – Jan 14, 2003 9:09 am (#23 Total: 29)

Kudos to Chris

Chris Waddle’s suggestion of driving the understanding of civic journalism deeper into mainstream journalism is an excellent and very useful goal and I would urge that it be adopted by this new group.

I think we have all experienced jornalists who have quite a distorted view of what it is we’re all talking about even though they are working with other journalists who do have the right notion.

david loomis – Jan 13, 2003 10:53 pm (#24 Total: 29)

PBS’ “By the People” and global v. local

I’m not sure whether this is going to the right bulletin board. But thanks to Leonard Witt and Co. for the head’s up on PBS’ “By The People” series, its deliberative polling and its ongoing effort to engage citizens in what the network calls “a national conversation about America in the world.”

One thought: A fair amount of the Jan. 13 News Hour With Jim Lehrer segment was devoted to discussion of national and global issues, as billed. Which is fine. But one issue I hope the public journalism summit later this month addresses is this nationalization and globalization of news at the expense of news on a smaller scale.

A national news network such as PBS rightly should be addressing issues of national scope. But when news gets nationalized and globalized, other issues of great(er) civic/public importance tend to get pushed off the public agenda. This news is local, regional or statewide. This is news that is of equal or even paramount importance to Big News. But it is news that is not covered nearly so well, according to the trade lit.

A critique of Big News is that it serves the political interests and agendas of the powerful — the administration of President George Bush, for example. It also serves the economic interests of concentrated news industries. Ben Bagdikian’s writings come to mind here. So does the fim “Wag the Dog.”

News organizations that cover the world rightly should be attending to these big issues. But I hope civic/public journalism researchers consider the equally if not more important news of local and regional concern. This includes issues closer to the roots of public/civic journalism. And arguably, these issues may have more long-range importance than this week’s Big News.

I would like to see this new organization foster such journalism and measure its effects, in addition to the Big News of foreign policy and war.

And I would be interested in reading feedback about this.

David Loomis, Ph.D.

Elon University

Leonard Witt – Jan 14, 2003 5:10 pm (#25 Total: 29)

The AEJMC, Academic Connections

Civic journalism has from its beginning had strong roots in academia. The Civic Journalism Interest Group of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) has some 100 paying members.

Several journalism schools and professors around the country are experimenting with new ways to incorporate civic journalism into their curricula or into their course work. One lofty goal of this new society should be to encourage every journalism and media studies program in the country to offer public journalism courses.

By producing a new generation of students who understand public journalism or, at least the interaction of media and community, we eventually may produce change in the world of professional journalism.

There is already a cadre of professors who could, with a little funding, take a show on the road to journalism schools or media organizations around the country. This new international public journalism society can be the coordinating wing to make that happen.

Or alternatively the schools teaching civic journalism could grow into centers where they would sponsor regional workshops to help journalists, other academics, high school newspaper editors and supervisors, college students and citizens learn more about the finer points of public journalism.

This new professional society will be formally introduced to academics on July 29, 2003 at a workshop the day before the official beginning of the AEJMC convention in Kansas City.

Later that week a panel of professors who teach civic journalism will explain how and why they teach the courses they do. If you want to attend or help build the July 29 workshop, contact me: Leonard Witt,

This AEJMC workshop will be a crucial piece in building this society into an enduring enterprise.

Chris Waddle – Jan 15, 2003 7:49 am (#26 Total: 29)

VP/News of The Anniston Star and Director of the Ayers Institute


One way to get and keep the attention of practicing professional journalists is liberally to sprinkle academic talk with real-life applications of Public Journalism. Following is the link to an Editorial Journal I published this very day, Jan. 15, promoting a state legislature-of-the-mind as a better way for Alabama journalists to cover our state government.

Dennis Foley – Jan 15, 2003 10:55 am (#27 Total: 29)

driving public journalism

I’d like to build on the notions of driving civic journalism into newsrooms and classrooms. I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to do both. I’ve practiced, promoted and pushed public journalism with reporters and editors and with university communications students and professors through conversations and teaching public-affairs reporting classes. The students accept it readily because it makes sense. It is presented as the way to think about and cover their communities, without the need to contrast it to “traditional” journalism. The goals and values are the same anyway, it’s the method and attitudes that are a big part of the “controversy” within newsrooms. In those newsrooms, open-minded journalists usually catch on to the ideals and benefits of public journalism in adding dimension and more thoughtfulness to the way they look at their coverage. I’ve experienced the fear and loathing among journalists and some professors over this “assault on the dominant paradigm” of Journalism, but isn’t this the way in scientific study? The dominant theory is tested repeatedly by others and, over time, the theory is amended and sometimes swept away by what at first seemed a radical, even erroneous concept, which then becomes the dominant theory? I say let’s keep pushing. Good ideas have staying power because they work (they are pragmatic, as Jay Rosen says). While I am at it, let me recommend the new college textbook by Cheryl Gibbs and Tom Warhover, grounded in public journalism sensibilities, as a fine tool for teaching the next generations. I daresay that many journalists would learn from it, too.

Leonard Witt – Jan 15, 2003 2:51 pm (#28 Total: 29)

A New Tagline

Hey, Chris and Dennis, when writing my weblog and thinking about what each of you wrote, I got a new idea for our new professional society’s tagline:

The International Society of Public Journalists: Finding Better Ways to Cover Our Communities and Enrich Our Democracy.

Griff Wigley – Jan 17, 2003 6:31 am (#29 Total: 29)

System Admin

Web Forum Phase II is over

See Len Witt’s weblog post about the end of Phase II of this webforum:

The discussion topic is now read-only… no more posts can be added.

Thanks, everyone!

2. The Lounge

The Lounge is a place to chit-chat, socialize, chew the fat, and shoot the bull with your colleagues. Help yourself to the coffee and snacks. Step outside for smoking, though. Start new discussion topics on any subject, any time of the night or day.

Post a note to let others know you’ve arrived. Welcome and/or harrass the newcomers.

Keisha Hoerrner – Nov 18, 2002 4:03 pm (#1 Total: 36)

Welcome to KSU!

As a colleague of Len Witt’s in the Department of Communication at Kennesaw State, I would just like to welcome you to this forum. We look forward to the interchange of ideas and the wealth of viewpoints that are sure to be represented in the coming days.

We are so pleased to have Professor Witt on our faculty to share his expertise and enthusiasm for civic journalism. Thank you for taking the time to provide your expertise as well.

Keisha L. Hoerrner, Ph.D.

Griff Wigley – Nov 18, 2002 4:34 pm (#2 Total: 36)

System Admin

Greetings, Keisha, kudos for being the first to post… and thanks for doing a beta test for us.

Griff Wigley – Nov 19, 2002 6:40 am (#3 Total: 36)

System Admin

And as the online facilitator for this forum, I’d also like to welcome everyone.

I did a few of these web forums with Len Witt when he was at MN Public Radio and it’s a treat for me to be working with him again. He’s actually not half-bad to work with.

So grab something to drink (The Lounge is open 24 hours), greet your colleagues, and then head to the discussion topics whenever you’re ready.

And if you have questions about these message boards, feel free to post them here. Or contact me by clicking on my name in the header.

Yohtaro Hamada – Nov 19, 2002 7:13 am (#4 Total: 36)

Hello from Tokyo

This is Yohtaro Hamada, a reporter of Japanese newspaper. Just want to say hello from Tokyo. I will be serving as a co-chair of International Liaison Committee. If you ever have a chance to visit Tokyo, I promise to welcome you here.

Griff Wigley – Nov 19, 2002 7:20 am (#5 Total: 36)

System Admin

Hi Yohtaro, glad you could make it. It’s still early on Tuesday here in the US altho you’re probably getting ready for bed.

Cole C. Campbell – Nov 19, 2002 7:39 am (#6 Total: 36)

Greetings from Chicago

Good morning from the Windy City.

This is Cole Campbell. I’m chairing the Charter Committee, the work of

which is being done on this forum. My job is to get the discussion started, contribute along with everybody else, then pull everything together in a document that can be reviewed and revised face to face at Kennesaw State in January.

I look forward to a robust conversation on line and, later, in person.


Griff Wigley – Nov 19, 2002 10:30 am (#7 Total: 36)

System Admin

Hi Cole, good to have you here in the Lounge.

And thanks for all the prelim work on the intro pieces on the discussion topics.

Leonard Witt – Nov 19, 2002 10:38 am (#8 Total: 36)

Welcome from Kennesaw State University

Hi Everyone:

Our team at Kennesaw State University has been busy setting up the web site and this forum. We are looking forward to the discussion.

By the way, I have visited the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa, so I believe in the axiom: If You Build It, They Will Come.

Neil Heinen – Nov 19, 2002 6:07 pm (#9 Total: 36)

From The Broadcast Committee

This is Neil Heinen, Chair of the Broadcast Committee, entering the Lounge. Feels good in here. As one of many wearers of several hats in this bunch I sure like the idea of looking at the demand side of public journalism. My hunch is I’m having more success with my students at Edgewood College examining journalism in public life than with the journalists at WISC TV in providing it. The magic of course is in the juxtoposition of the two. And consider me squarely on board Cole’s proposal to include civic leaders and “the public” in this journey. There’s some sound thinking about this going on outside the newsroom and the classroom.

Cole C. Campbell – Nov 19, 2002 9:49 pm (#10 Total: 36)

Hi Neil

I’m looking forward to learning more about your work with students and broadcasters in the course of this forum discussion.

Buzz Merritt – Nov 20, 2002 11:43 am (#11 Total: 36)

a new face?

Buzz Merritt here. I hope really old guys can play, as I’m looking forward to all of this, including January.

Kathy Campbell – Nov 20, 2002 2:35 pm (#12 Total: 36)

Everything’s ducky in Oregon

Hi! Kathy Campbell checking in from Eugene. I’ll be the academic liaison as we try to put all this together. Some related news: a small group of Oregon dailies is putting together a civic journalism project on our horrendous state budget problems; JoNel Aleccia, a working journalist and one of our graduate students here at the University of Oregon, is heading the project. I’m hopeful that the project will generate some interest among journalists who will wish to join us–it’s kind of a neat and very timely recruiting opportunity!



Griff Wigley – Nov 20, 2002 5:19 pm (#13 Total: 36)

System Admin

More loungers

Hi Buzz and Kathy, welcome to the Forum… and the Lounge.

Buzz, did you see this mugshot of you in Len’s posting to his weblog today?

Griff Wigley – Nov 21, 2002 4:35 pm (#14 Total: 36)

System Admin

Other mugshots

It’s only fair to put up some other mugs:


Professor Len:

Leonard Witt – Nov 21, 2002 4:52 pm (#15 Total: 36)

Add Your Photo

When you come into the lounge if you want to add your photo let Griff know where it is and he will pick it up electronically. It makes the whole thing more personal.

John X. Miller – Nov 22, 2002 3:36 pm (#16 Total: 36)

Hello from Motown …

Hello, folks,

I’m John X. Miller, public editor at the Detroit Free Press, and pleased to be among like-minded journalists and professionals who recognize civic/public journalism values and routines need to be more widely articulated and practiced.

We’re using some aspects of civic mapping in the newsroom here, but I want to go deeper, yet find I’m still fighting against wrong-headed ideas of what’s civic journalism. Though it’s evolved in practice, the criticism remains largely the same.

Now, we’re faced with passing CJ on to the next generation. Our work may never be done. But I look forward to it, and talking and working alongside many of you.

Cheryl Gibbs – Nov 24, 2002 8:09 am (#17 Total: 36)

Hello from Hoosier country

(Or, to Ana Maria, if you’re reading this, hola de Hoosierlandia!) Good to see so many familiar names here and some new ones as well. For the record, this is the only conversation that I wanted to be part of enough to overcome my laziness/technophobia about online discussions. It’s been a good but challenging fall for me at Earlham, due institutional priority shifts that are giving me the opportunity to prepare a new interdisciplinary course on the ethical coverage of conflict, building on the pioneering work of educator Annabel McGoldrick and BBC reporter Jake Lynch of the U.K.; some trying experiences with student newspaper staffers (amazing, how self-righteously wrong they can be); and some unexpected family needs. But … it’s very motivating/inspiring to see folks kicking up the conversation about public/civic journalism again. So hello and thanks to everyone who’s posted — and to those who have yet to post!

Cole C. Campbell – Nov 25, 2002 11:21 am (#18 Total: 36)

Hello back from snowy Chicago

Hi John X. Hi Cheryl G.

Welcome to the society in search of a name, explicit philosophy, etc.!

Griff Wigley – Nov 25, 2002 11:53 am (#19 Total: 36)

System Admin

Welcome Cheryl

Hi Cheryl,

I thought I’d grab your mugshot from the page that announces your new journalism text book:

“Getting the Whole Story: Reporting and Writing the News.”

Griff Wigley – Nov 25, 2002 12:09 pm (#20 Total: 36)

System Admin

Welcome John

I found your mugshot, John, but couldn’t find your column on The Freep! Got a link to it for us?

Griff Wigley – Nov 26, 2002 6:32 am (#21 Total: 36)

System Admin

Where’s Jay?

I see Jay’s posting elsewhere so maybe hoisting his mugshot here in The Lounge will entice him to stop by:

Jay Rosen – Dec 2, 2002 9:15 am (#22 Total: 36)

Answering Griff’s question…

Greetings everyone, most of whom are old friends, co-warriors, fellow travelers, or former participants in the Project on Public Life and the Press seminars. I’m here. My work these days is focused closer to home: chairing the Department here and trying to figure out what J-school should be these days. I am doing less writing and almost zero traveling, in part because I have a daughter in kindergarten and a son who’s 13 months old.

You can check out the Opinion Forum I edited on recent debates over the future of Journalism Education here:


Griff Wigley – Dec 2, 2002 4:07 pm (#23 Total: 36)

System Admin

Greetings, Jay. Good to hear you’re taking that dad role seriously!

That’s quite a nice post-webforum editing/web publishing job. Looks like it was a lot of work. Maybe we can do something similar here.

Ana María Miralles – Dec 3, 2002 1:24 pm (#24 Total: 36)


I am sorry to be a litle late here. I was outside Colombia. Hello to Cole, Cheryl, Jay (Tom Wharover is there???) and the other people I met in Washington, Dayton, Baltimore, etc, talking about Public Journalism. Hello to the people of Kennesaw University!! I am glad to meet you.

I decided do not read your proposals before I write my owns ideas. But, once I post my proposals I will be able to share some comments with all of you.

Thank you for inviting me to participate in this initiative that I am truly convinced will be very positive for PJ. And please, excuse If I make some mistakes trying to write in english.

Griff Wigley – Dec 3, 2002 3:12 pm (#25 Total: 36)

System Admin

Greetings Ana

Hi Ana, delighted to have you join us. Don’t worry about any English mistakes. Most of us are envious of anyone who’s as fluent in another language as you are.

Here’s a mugshot (small photograph) I found of you on a website.

Tom Warhover – Dec 3, 2002 5:29 pm (#26 Total: 36)

Tom Warhover is here. Great to hear from you, Ana, and from all the really smart and interesting folk who have “gathered” here. I’ve been lurking around the site for several days now but haven’t jumped in the water until today.

Leonard Witt – Dec 3, 2002 5:42 pm (#27 Total: 36)

Hello, Tom and Ana

Hi Tom and Ana:

It is good to see you both posting. Tell your friends. And as for the lurkers, jump in. It’s fun, interesting and very much a piece of what civic and public journalism is about.

Tom, do you have an electronic mug shot? Let Griff Wigley know where it is, and we will post it.

Thanks again.

Griff Wigley – Dec 3, 2002 9:13 pm (#28 Total: 36)

System Admin

Tom’s mug

How’s this one, Tom?

Griff Wigley – Dec 3, 2002 10:04 pm (#29 Total: 36)

System Admin


I found a teeny mushot of Dennis Foley:

Griff Wigley – Dec 4, 2002 11:33 am (#30 Total: 36)

System Admin

New and improved mugs – Len and Tom

Tom Warhover

Len Witt

Griff Wigley – Dec 4, 2002 5:19 pm (#31 Total: 36)

System Admin

Don’t forget the poll

All you Lounge lizards, don’t forget to take the straw poll on the names suggested thus far:

Griff Wigley “Straw Poll: Name the Society” 12/2/02 4:01pm

Dennis Foley – Dec 10, 2002 11:22 am (#32 Total: 36)

I’m much larger in real life

Thanks for showing my face. I’ve been on “vacation” for two weeks. Good to see some friendly faces. Hello, Jan, Cheryl, Tom, Ken, Buzz, Jay, John. I hope to see y’all in January and look forward to meeting everyone I don’t know other than by their eloquent words and their much larger mug shots. — dennis

Griff Wigley – Dec 11, 2002 6:45 am (#33 Total: 36)

System Admin

Dan Suwyn

Dan’s joined the conversation so here’s his mugshot:

Griff Wigley – Jan 6, 2003 10:36 am (#34 Total: 36)

System Admin

Phase II of the Lounge

I’ve recycled this Lounge topic from Phase I of the web forum.

So grab something to drink (The Lounge is open 24 hours), greet your colleagues, and then head to the discussion whenever you’re ready.

And if you have questions about these message boards, feel free to post them here. Or contact me by clicking on my name in the header.

Oh yeah. It’s non-smoking.

Griff Wigley – Jan 14, 2003 10:29 am (#35 Total: 36)

System Admin

Moved posting

David, I’m moving your PBS post over to the main discussion topic. No biggie! It’s now at:

david loomis “Phase II: Critique the draft of the Charter” 1/13/03 10:53pm

Griff Wigley – Jan 23, 2003 10:30 am (#36 Total: 36)

System Admin

from Yohtaro Hamada

From: Yohtaro Hamada, staff writer, Asahi Shimbun (Japanese newspaper)

This is Yohtaro. Again, I would like you to accept my sincere apology for not being able to attend the conference at Kennesaw.

I have started my new beat of the Prime Minister’s Office (equivalent of being in the White House Press Corp covering the Capitol Hill ) on January 10th. As a job, I would hate it. However, I welcome this opportunity as a watcher of political journalism. Political reporting in Japan shares same kind of traits as the U.S.: heavily dependent on the very small group of bureaucrats and politicians, always trying to put all phenomenon into the good old conflict framework, etc… I am determined to watch everything that goes around me and analyze why politics has to be reported in this manner, which portrays everything as a drama and, as a result, tends to drive general readership away.

I plan to come back to the arena of public journalism after 2 years. If I could deepen my understanding of mainstream journalism (One Journalism, as Davis Buzz Merritt might say) , I would have a better chance to change it, so that our newspaper would be more geared toward improving democracy, not decaying it.

Please give my best regards to all the attendees. I wish I could be there.

Yohtaro Hamada

3. Charter Meeting Attendees

A private discussion area only for those people registered for The Live Charter Meeting at Kennesaw State University on January 24-25, 2003.


1. The Kennesaw Summit Bar and Lounge

A place to chew the fat and shoot the bull with your colleagues before you arrive in Georgia.

So sign in here and let others know you’ve arrived virtually.

Griff Wigley – Jan 20, 2003 7:26 am (#1 Total: 4)

System Admin

Full-text email notification

Hey, Y’all, The Kennesaw Summit Bar and Lounge is open.

And I’ve flipped everyone’s Email Notification setting to receive the full-text of anything new posted here.

Let me know if you’d like your settings changed back, or feel free to adjust them yourself by clicking the Preferences button.

Chris Waddle – Jan 20, 2003 9:44 am (#2 Total: 4)

VP/News of The Anniston Star and Director of the Ayers Institute

But you can call me anytime

I’ve had a title change since joining this forum. I remain VP/News of The Anniston Star and take on the title of Director of The Ayers Institute. “AI” is our emerging vehicle for community journalism. Len Witt rightly mentioned it in this forum as a potential lab for public journalism while our society of public journalists also emerges. I trade off day-to-day editing duties to two colleagues as I concentrate on Anniston’s new venture. You can call me veep or you can call me director or you can me Chris. I hope you’ll call me often.

Griff Wigley – Jan 20, 2003 11:51 am (#3 Total: 4)

System Admin

Ayers Institute

Congrats, Chris, on the new venture. Does it have a web site yet? A Google search on the phrase “ayers institute” brought up a number of organizations.

Dennis, I move your post about arrival/departure times over to the Logistics topic:

Dennis Foley “Logistics–Ride Sharing Etc.” 1/20/03 11:00am

Chris Waddle – Jan 21, 2003 8:54 am (#4 Total: 4)

VP/News of The Anniston Star and Director of the Ayers Institute

Thanks, Griff

The Anniston Star’s website is with an exclusively Ayers Institute for Community Journalism site to come, perhaps when we lock in university partners and move more deeply into journalism education.

2. Logistics–Ride Sharing Etc.

Use this topic for discussion of the logistics of our face-to-face meeting — travel, accommodations, meals, entertainment, etc.

Stanford Mukasa – Jan 17, 2003 9:31 am (#1 Total: 8)

Ride Sharing

Anyone want to share a ride from Atlanta Airport to Kennesaw Friday at 6 p.m. and/or back Sat. at 6 p.m.?

Sandy Nichols – Jan 18, 2003 8:35 am (#2 Total: 8)

Ride sharing

I’m arriving at 4:30 p.m.and would love to share a ride with anyone arriving close to that time.

Kathy Campbell – Jan 18, 2003 11:38 am (#3 Total: 8)

Thursday/Sunday airport runs

Arriving 7:15 Thursday night, departing 8:30 a.m. Sunday

Shuttle service per person is about $55 one way, according to my sources. Renting a car seems like a better option. Any interest in sharing a rental?


Stanford Mukasa – Jan 18, 2003 1:58 pm (#4 Total: 8)

Sharing a ride

I will arrive at 5:30 p.m. and will return Sat. at about 6 p.m. I will be happy to share a rental with anyone interested.

Stanford Mukasa – Jan 18, 2003 1:59 pm (#5 Total: 8)

Sharing a ride

I forgot to mention 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Buzz Merritt – Jan 20, 2003 9:28 am (#6 Total: 8)

buzz merritt

I’ll be arriving at 2:30pm Friday and leaving about 9a.m. Sunday and have rented a car which I will be happy to share with someone.

Dennis Foley – Jan 20, 2003 11:00 am (#7 Total: 8)


Thought I’d post my arrival/departure times, in case they coincide with others, as I have rented a car and maybe someone would like a ride.

Arrive Friday at 3:40 p.m. aboard Delta (of course). Depart Sunday at 11:05 a.m.

Can be reached directly at or 714.285.2862.


Leonard Witt – Jan 21, 2003 11:32 am (#8 Total: 8)

Writing the Final Report

Anyone out there who is willing to keep notes during the Charter Meeting? I would really like a combination of minutes that are then rewritten to a public document chronicling what we did at this Charter Meeting.

If the Charter is the official document, then this document would be more of a background piece on how we achieved what we did. It might someday have historical value to anyone looking back on public journalism’s progression.

Any volunteers?

The PJNet Web Forum Charter Building Forum, Phase II Archive Charter Meeting Attendees

3. Charter Meeting Content Discussion

Use this topic to plan and discuss the content of our meeting at KSU on Jan 24-25.

Dennis Foley – Jan 17, 2003 1:37 pm (#1 Total: 19)

putting the public in public journalism

As we move toward our final crafting of the charter, I’ve been thinking about Jan Schaffer’s comments during the forum, suggesting we might be thinking too much about “us” (journalists, educators, fellow-travelers) and not enough about “them” (the public). In that vein, I wonder if we should tweak the mission and goals sections to put more emphasis on the fact that we believe and will act not just because we wish to “do for” the public, but also to “do with?”

Further, I have another naming suggestion: Public Journalists International (PJI).

Kathy Campbell – Jan 18, 2003 12:05 pm (#2 Total: 19)

Doing with others

Thanks, Dennis. Your point also takes us back to the discussion we had several weeks ago about membership in the group and whether it could be expanded, in some way, to include citizens and professionals involved in complementary activities. I see both drawbacks and advantages in moving in that direction, but one strong argument for doing so, in my estimation, is that we would be exemplifying the kind of inclusiveness that we are advocating. If we believe in community connectedness, we should get connected ourselves.

Doing so would clearly set us apart from most other professional journalism organizations. I see this as a good thing. I see it as a way to challenge students in campus chapters of this group to think differently about the way they want to shape their professional careers. I see it as a way to challenge academic researchers to reach across those artificial divides among disciplines. And I see it as a way to challenge myself to continue to think and grow as a journalist. It also makes me nervous, but that’s a good thing, too!

Here’s a very preliminary thought about how to accomplish this without losing our journalistic identity. Perhaps we could have a “bicameral” approach to the membership structure that would create two equal “divisions” so closely tied that both are required for the society to function but separated enough that journalists would have a definable group of colleagues and the non-journalists would have a forum for their discussions.

Other thoughts?


Leonard Witt – Jan 19, 2003 9:59 pm (#3 Total: 19)

Adding Citizens

Kathy, having our new public journalism society add citizens and other professionals is a worthy goal.

However, our Charter Meeting attendees are going to be exclusively journalists and academics; it’s too late to change that.

We are an embryonic organization. In the next year there will be plenty of room for committee work to determine best methods for strengthening this new professional society. We probably will have a membership committee and considering suggestions like yours would be part of its work.

Kathy Campbell – Jan 20, 2003 12:06 am (#4 Total: 19)

Membership and other issues

This discussion seems pretty pertinent now, at least to me. I think these are central questions to answer in the charter, which would then provide some direction to a subsequent membership committee. The “Mission” statement and the “Who” section would be directly affected, for starters. So, as is often the case, we journalists and journalism educators will simply need to consider carefully other potential stakeholders in the enterprise. I’d very much like to hear more points of view; Jan made an important point several weeks ago when she said that journalists are sometimes reluctant to get involved in groups that include non-journalists. That’s certainly an important consideration.

This discussion has prompted another question in my mind: Should there be a provision in the charter to allow for revisions and outline a procedure for making them? I certainly don’t want to bog down the charter with lots of administrative stuff, but some brief guidelines for election of officers, dues if any, procedures for amendments, etc., might come in handy in the future. Maybe that too would be a good topic for a post-forum committee to tackle.



Griff Wigley – Jan 20, 2003 6:24 am (#5 Total: 19)

System Admin


From Jay Rosen:

Len: Here is an example of a founding document that is an oath, which means it can have “signers.”

I think a lot of it is powerful, and while not necessarily a model for us, the lift and elegance of the language might be an inspiration. Certainly it talks about media responsibility in a new way.

Maybe you want to post it for the group.



At the beginning of the 21st Century men and women of the media register their commitment to integrity and public service. This document was launched at a World Media Assembly, SARAJEVO 2000, and signed by participants on 30 September 2000.

We, men and women of the media ­ professionals at all levels, from publishers and producers to cub reporters and students of journalism; from the print media, television and radio, book publishing, cinema and theatre, advertising and public relations, music and the performing and creative arts – met here in the bruised, historic and beautiful city of Sarajevo, pay our homage and respect to the millions of humanity whom we inform, entertain and educate.

We look back on a century of brilliance and bloodshed, of amazing technological advance and distressing human misery, of mobility and isolation and of healing and hatred. A century in which two world wars emanated from the so-called advanced and civilised continent of Europe. A century in which we split the atom, but left families, communities and nations divided. A century which ended with some 30 unresolved major conflict situations.

We accept that we in the media, whilst talent and technology enabled us to reach the lives of almost every last person in the world, were not able to create the climate in which problems were solved, conflicting groups and interests reconciled, and peace and justice established. Now that we confront a new century, many of us, hoping that we interpret the views and feelings of the vast majority of our colleagues, would like to establish a commitment, an undertaking, a pledge, to all those who will live and love and work in these coming hundred years.

We shall inform you to the best of our ability, with clarity and honesty, with independence of mind, of what is truly happening in the world at the level of the individual, the family, the community, the nation and the region. We shall present the facts and explain the facts, and some of us will aim with modesty to interpret them. As we succeed in doing this, we believe that you, the people, will be enabled to make the right decisions, to elect and appoint the best leaders and to build a fair, just and compassionate society.

We seek a world in which everyone cares enough and everyone shares enough so that everyone will have enough; a world in which the work and wealth of the world are available to all at the exploitation of none.

We shall provide the art and entertainment which will inspire, arouse and give hope and a sense of direction to all humanity. We shall be working to raise up and not to drag down. We shall challenge our politicians to work for the next generation and not the next election, encourage our governments to make agreements which are effective in people’s hearts as well as on paper; and stimulate our business, industrial and labor leaders to meet the material needs of humankind with fairness and equity.

We shall work to educate, through all the means of communication, generations who will be able to confront the challenges of their age with competence and vision. We shall combine freedom with responsibility, talent with humility, privilege with service, comfort with sacrifice and concern with courage. We realize that change in society begins with change in ourselves.

We undertake to apply and demonstrate in our own lives the values that we hope for, and often demand, in others. We shall confront hypocrisy, oppression, exploitation and evil, firstly by our own clarity and straightness and then through the means by which we reach our audiences.

We are unlikely to be perfect, but we shall aim to be truthful and free of guile, selfish ambition, perverted behavior and deception.

We shall not cease to strive until every gun is silent, every injustice righted and every human being enabled to live a life of satisfaction and purpose.

To all these intentions and obligations, we commit ourselves at this time of beginning. May the higher aspirations within us all, be they spiritual, moral or humanistic, enable us to fulfil this commitment.

Chris Waddle – Jan 20, 2003 9:30 am (#6 Total: 19)

VP/News of The Anniston Star and Director of the Ayers Institute

Global citizen members

We are about journalism in a civil society. Other worthy organizations promote civil society generally. We could have a charter provision permitting us to associate or to correspond with those other institutions as we choose. Then we would not have to vex ourselves over the absence of lay members. We wouldn’t need a cumbersome bicameral governance. And we would be clarifying our purpose — journalism.

Jay Rosen – Jan 20, 2003 3:53 pm (#7 Total: 19)

Here’s to our Forum; plus some other notes

Hi, everyone. Looking forward to this weekend’s talks.

Some observations: I don’t think it argues against our intention to include citizens in the work if we limit the group to journalists, academics and teachers of journalism. Civil society organizations operate best when they know who they are, and focus on a few powerful themes. I vote for keeping ourselves a “professional” society, a recognized type with a worthy history in journalism. It’s up to us not to become insulated or throw up artificial barriers. Plus, we’re already “broadening” public journalism by being founded as an explicitly international group. For now, that’s ambition enough.

Since we’re still deliberating about the name (not a bad thing, in my view) let me put another vote in for the idea of ourselves as a “forum,” as in the Global Forum for Public Journalism, which could also be the title of the annual event. I say this in the belief that providing a forum for the continued discussion, development and refinement of public journalism is the essential good we can do here.

“Forum” is, to me, a more active and elegant term than society or association, and of course it has much to do with public journalism. Joann Byrd once described public journalism as an extension of the newspaper “in forum mode,” and there are all the citizen forums that have been held within the movement’s pale since 1989. Are we not trying to become an International Forum for Public Journalism? Don’t we like the participatory ring in urging people to “join the forum,” which suggests both joining the club and joining the discussion?

Let’s keep the charter clean; it’s about founding principles and ambitions, not governance. When we need them we can draw up association bylaws for how things are run.

I am impressed with who we have coming to Kennesaw. Len and Grif have done a great job, with key help from Cole. Time “away” from the movement (I’m not doing as much traveling as I once did) has helped me see it differently. So has my work publicizing public journalism abroad.

Neil Heinen – Jan 20, 2003 4:57 pm (#8 Total: 19)

Who We Are

The who question is so important. Jay’s observation is compelling. I’ll subscribe to it to the extent that the Forum we create is successful. But I am finding my best allies in promoting public journalism are not necessarily journalists, academics or educators. They are public intellectuals of a type who care about civic engagement and see the need to build up demand for public journalism. And they are in fact creating that demand. Should we find ourselves unable to fulfill our mission to our satisfaction I suggest we quickly invite these folks to join us. In the meantime I am satisfied we will seek their counsel and partnership as we proceed. And there’s something about the word Forum that I find very appealing.

Lew Friedland – Jan 20, 2003 6:09 pm (#9 Total: 19)

Citizens and Journalists

I want to second Neil’s comments which bring up a key point that crosscuts some of the discussion of the past few days. I think that in this first long phase of civic journalism there was a tendency to blur two uses of the term citizen. The first connoted the general public, out there, in local communities. They were the readers of the newspapers or viewers of television, interested in some issues and not in others. They come and go, sometimes liked what civic/public journalists did, sometimes not. But they were a fairly inchoate public, not too different from an audience. The second is that layer of community leadership that Neil called public intellectuals. These are the leaders of community and civic organizations, who often recognize quite explicitly the changes that public journalism represented. In my interviews with this stratum in eight cities they were almost universally supportive of civic journalism, understood (at least generally) what it was, the change it represented, and what that change might mean to them as citizens and leaders. They were a more organized public. They also understood (sometimes better than we have) how fragile civic journalism was, that with a change of editor or shift in corporate philosophy it could disappear fairly quickly. Rarely did they organize a demand for civic journalism, but in the few cases where this has happened it has been quite powerful. These folks are the natural constituency for civic journalism in any community, but it’s been rare that they have been engaged, other than episodically and at arms length. Often, even civic journalists have remained somewhat afraid of “getting too far into bed” with these folks.

I don’t think this answers Kathy’s question or Neil’s reservation, but it might point us towards a more strategic discussion: how do you build a sustainable civic journalism in local communities, that has some public ownership (if we see this as desireable; I do). That is substantively different than the discussion that goes on among civic journalists and educators, which we are starting. It concerns citizens, institutions, and strategy.

Chris Waddle – Jan 21, 2003 9:37 am (#10 Total: 19)

VP/News of The Anniston Star and Director of the Ayers Institute

The headline

A good title is not ambiguous. The fact that “Forum” could double as the name of an annual event, Jay, regrettably is an argument against that name. People hold a forum. They attend a forum. But they belong to……The Academy of Public Journalists.

That’s who we are. Simply. Cleanly. Elegantly. It’s a good headline, a global name that honors our institutional and our professional members in all lands. “Academy” conjures an assembly of thoughtful people who hold forums. The name is classy, distinctive, descriptive.

Chris Waddle – Jan 21, 2003 9:48 am (#11 Total: 19)

VP/News of The Anniston Star and Director of the Ayers Institute

The subhead

Taglines ought to be earned or at least evolved. I recommend we start with just a simple name. If not “Academy” or “Forum” then “Organization,” without a caboose of other defining words and phrases.

BTW lest we get and sound too stuffy, I also suggest we think of ourselves as The Pee-Jays. A tradition at the annual forum might be a pajama party. If serious journalism can’t be fun too, then why do it?

David Kurpius – Jan 21, 2003 10:18 am (#12 Total: 19)

Broader Reach

Looking across Jan, Kathy, Lew and Neil’s comments, I am struck by the fact that our discussion has the same core people talking about public journalism (engaged academics and journalists). This is a concern for me. For public jouranlism to expand and develop, we will need fresh ideas and people with new perspectives joining the conversation. For example, I am currently research statewide public affairs television channels (i.e., C-SPAN for states) and I am finding that some of these channels are expanding public affairs coverage and the leaders are looking for ways to engage citizens in the discussions. This is not universal among the 20 or so “SPATs” but the fact that they are starting to think about civic principles is interesting, particularly since most are unaware civic/public journalism even exists. The leaders generally did not come out of journalism backgrounds and tend to be more government and television production oriented in their views. Yet many talk like emerging civic public affairs producers. Including folks like this might both expand the reach and scope of civic journalism and bring new ideas into the organization.

Jan’s point about being too inwardly focused on professional development and not focused enough on what civic/public journalism does in the community and with citizens is well taken. I think our language needs further development to portray our goals both professionally and in communities. I realized the danger in this is a loss of clarity, though I think the discussion would help us develop language that more clearly defines what we mean in our mission.

Finally, I think we need to look more carefully at what other organizations have done to attract new participants. IRE stands out in my mind because it is relatively new and has grown fairly quickly. I also think Kathy’s idea of inclusion of folks outside of the realm of journalism is worth considering. At the moment it might be too big of a task for us, but we should consider how we include the community intellectuals Neil and Lew mentioned, as well as groups that foster those types of engagements. Initially, I think we could seek these groups and individuals out as advisors to our group who might help us understand the tasks ahead in new ways and ultimately might help us craft an even better organization, mission and direction for our group.

I look forward to moving into face-to-face conversations this weekend.

Leonard Witt – Jan 21, 2003 10:56 am (#13 Total: 19)

Forum vs. Association

I believe what we see playing out here in Jay’s call for the organization to be called The Global Forum on Public Journalism and David Kurpius saying let’s study the IRE, is an important dynamic we must recognize as we come together on Jan. 24-25.

Making this organization a Forum would continue what we are doing now. Having a meaningful public discussion.

A professional Society or Association (or now Academy) would not only have the discussion but would look for ways to apply what was talked about.

Another way of looking at it is:

Forum leans more to the philosophy of what we do.

Society or Association leans more to craft.

Forum does sound more elegant because its goals are loftier in an idyllic way; where as Society or Association is more hands-on in a down and dirty sort of way.

This dynamic actually played itself out at a roundtable that Jay and I recently attended in Philadelphia. The participants were talking about public deliberative discussions, when I started peppering someone about how much it cost in dollars to put on her deliberative discussion.

After a while, Jay, always the diplomat, said: “So what’s the point, Len? We know it costs a lot of money.”

I was thinking craft, practicalities. Where is the money going to come from? Jay was thinking about the essence of deliberative discussion. Society, Association talk vs. Forum talk.

John X. Miller of the Detroit Free Press wrote earlier, “We need a vision and a start to this effort that inspires and informs from Day 1, something that compels journalists and others to think deeply about current circumstances, then to act. “

We have to have room in this society for thinking and acting. If you imagine a continuum from ideas then moving to action, you will find people in this group at various places on that continuum.

So somehow we have to reconcile:

Global Forum on Public Journalism with the International Association of Public Journalists. (Or International Academy of Public Journalists.)

Here is one way: The International Association of Public Journalists (or The International Academy of Public Journalists) presents the Global Forum on Public Journalism.

Indeed that could, and probably should be, the association’s first public act.

We can have our bread and roses too.

Chris Waddle – Jan 21, 2003 12:00 pm (#14 Total: 19)

VP/News of The Anniston Star and Director of the Ayers Institute

Re: Broader Reach

Our purpose need not exclude the enlightened public. But it must start with enlightened professional and academic journalists. A maze remains an enigma unless you work toward the core.

John X. Miller – Jan 21, 2003 1:30 pm (#15 Total: 19)

What’s in a name?


I’m glad to see so much discussion about what we’ll call ourselves, because the name is the headline people will remember.

My only contribution to the naming discussion is I think ‘’society” is too haughty a start of a name for a group whose focus in not only inward but outward, toward the public. Does it seem to set as apart from the people and communities we need to connect with? Perhaps. I am a member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Sound elitist? (I’m not saying that it is, but there are those who would.) Therefore, at this point, I’m for the International Association of Public Journalists. I know we use the word in the draft charter several times, too, but I have less of a problem with it there.

That said, I think the language now in the Charter Draft makes it very clear that citizens, the community intellectuals and other non-journalists are welcome and central to the group’s vision/mission and the application of the vision/mission. Making that happen becomes a critical implementation strategy. To that end, the “By the People” effort and deliberative polling could yield ideas on how to tap into that public voice.

Jay Rosen – Jan 21, 2003 1:46 pm (#16 Total: 19)

Between thinking and acting

Sounds like we’re getting there, Len. You write:

“We have to have room in this society for thinking and acting. If you imagine a continuum from ideas then moving to action, you will find people in this group at various places on that continuum.”

Agree totally.

Also struck by David K.’s comments on other professionals who are not journalists but might be involved in projects completely in its spirit and ought perhaps to be drawn in. The example he gives (C-Span type producers) is a good one. Maybe we need add “media producers” or similar category to the intended members. By using language like “journalists, media producers, and writers” we can also add other folk who might meet David’s criteria of public professionals doing civic communication work.

Academy of Public Journalists has a nice sound to it.

Finally, this is material for discussion in Atlanta, but perhaps we can all agree that improving our ideas is practical work, and the addition of practical problems (also called craft) improves our ideas. I much prefer an understanding like that to being caught on one side or another of the craft vs. reflection divide, which is not a distinction I find helpful. If we’re to “imagine a continuum” (Len’s words) then we have to imagine no longer leaning on those nifty opposites.


Leonard Witt – Jan 23, 2003 6:55 am (#17 Total: 19)

Op-Ed Atlanta Journal-Constitution

An Op-Ed piece I wrote on public journalism, centering around this weekend’s Charter Meeting got top billing on an Atlanta Journal-Constitution opinions page today.

The editors also asked for readers to join an online discussion on public journalism. If any of you are interested, the AJC’s online forum is at .

Of course, once we get this new organization started, part of our thrust should be to get our voices and opinions heard in online, people’s forums just like this one at

Griff Wigley – Jan 23, 2003 9:57 pm (#18 Total: 19)

System Admin









Democracy’s Watchdogs

The Pee Jays

Mission: This is an association of journalists and educators interested in exploring and strengthening the relationships among journalism, public life and democracy.

We are a professional society committed to working with as well as for the public. We welcome into our conversations citizens, media producers, storytellers, public intellectuals and other scholars and practitioners interested in exploring ways to strengthen journalism’s connection to public life and democracy.

Our goal is to strengthen the practice and quality of journalism everywhere. Our success will be measured in terms of how well we help journalists and educators grow professionally, improve the craft, foster ground-breaking journalism, involve citizens, and –over time– enhance democracy.

Who: This is a public society which welcomes the scrutiny and the ideas of all. Membership is open to journalists, journalism educators and media scholars from around the world. We will work with and learn from citizens, ! practitioners and scholars who are concerned with public life.

What: The society will:

Introduce the concept of public journalism to new audiences.

Encourage, aid and facilitate public journalism’s long-term growth in mainstream media.

Support conversations and collaborations among journalists, citizens and scholars that can enrich and transform journalistic practice.

Encourage studies of and experiments with journalistic practices (and democratic practices that strengthen journalism).

Articulate a philosophy for public journalism that is theoretically sound, empirically grounded and practically feasible.

Spread promising ideas and practices so others can test or adapt them.

Help journalists reach deeper into the communities they serve and help communities work more closely with the journalists who serve them.

Seek ways to ensure that diverse voices and disenfranchised communities are better represented and understood in news gathering and dissemination.

Support the teaching and study of public journalism in colleges and universities.

Support the international growth of public journalism and the concept of a free press.

When: The society will convene officially in conjunction with the 2003 annual meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s annual.

Year One will be devoted to the pursuit of specific accomplishments:

1. Establishing a top-of-the-line Web site to serve as a forum for archiving, creating and spreading insights and knowledge.

2. Holding an international conference that brings journalists, journalism educators, citizen advocates, media scholars and collaborators together for thinking, reflection, invention and celebration.

3. Creating a data base, annual compendium or other form that will catalog developments in public journalism’s theory and practice.

Where: The society is an international society. It is being organized by journalists and journalism educators from North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. It will strive to hold meetings around the globe and to establish a physical presence – in chapters, research centers or other manifestations – on every continent.

Why: The society is made up of people who love journalism and who believe that journalism can make the world a better place. We believe we can learn and grow as practitioners, educators and scholars – and strengthen practice, education and scholarship – by examining, experimenting with and enhancing the theory and practice of journalism in relation to the theory and practice of democracy.

We believe in the value of studying the dynamics of communities and the complexity of public life. Just as journalists need to adhere to professional discipline and financial discipline to succeed, we believe we must adhere to democratic discipline. The heart of democratic discipline lies in giving citizens the tools to govern themselves.

How: The society will pursue its goals by a host of activities. It will:

Send society representatives to every major journalism convocation, conference and convention – and several outside of journalism – to foster conversations about journalism’s work in democracy and public life. We will work to drive a thorough understanding of public journalism throughout the profession.

Hold our own convocations, so members can think out loud together, think up or review experiments, and celebrate advances and meaningful failures.

Encourage the development of an applied research network and other university-based centers, programs and curricula.

Develop materials to facilitate teaching public journalism.

Run an annual contest to highlight how journalism can excel by building innovative relationships among journalism, communities, citizens, public life and democracy.

Maintain a top-of-the-line Web site to ensure access to the archives of public journalism, to introduce public journalism to new audiences, and to serve as a forum for creating, discussing and spreading insights and knowledge.


We the undersigned believe in a notion that is still as radical as it is recent in human history: that people are fit to rule themselves.

We believe self-rule works best when news, information and ideas flow freely; when media representations fairly portray the full range and variety of life and culture within communities; when news coverage and commentary open their underlying assumptions to public scrutiny; and when news reports help people function as political actors and not just as political consumers.

We believe in independent judgment and interdependent discovery – that journalists can stand apart in making sound professional judgments about how to cover communities, but we cannot stand apart in learning about and understanding these communities! .

We believe the rights and privileges enjoyed by journalists are the same rights and privileges enjoyed by everyone in a democracy, even as we acknowledge the practical necessity of public institutions accommodating members of the press as stand-ins for the larger public.

We believe that the stories and images we produce can help or hinder as people struggle to reach sound judgments about their personal lives and their common well-being. We believe the best journalism helps people see the world “steady and whole” and helps them take responsibility for what they see.

We believe the life of a journalist, like the life of a citizen, can be a source of wonderment, exhilaration, humility, pride and deep satisfaction. And we aim to experience and share all the blessings of our craft.

Therefore we have come together to draft this Charter for the … [NAME]

Leonard Witt – Jan 24, 2003 3:56 pm (#19 Total: 19)

Steve Smith Regrets

This is an email I received from Steve Smith at the The Spokesman-Review in Washington.

He writes:

I’m sorry to report I’ve had to cancel my plans to attend the meeting this weekend. I feel badly about this as I more or less invited myself into the process.

I’ve been closely watching the evolution of the charter and was prepared to join in its enthusiastic adoption. You and Cole have done some remarkable work.

I remain convinced that civic journalism is all about the exercise of deeply held personal and professional values. It’s not rooted, in my view, in any practice or set of practices.

I hope the new organization can help journalists rediscover and explore the core values that are the foundation of what we do and then encourage and share the widest range of practices that bring those values to life.

We’re looking at a very, very tough year in Spokane – not much different from the rest of our industry. My challenge is to continue to drive our values discussion, implement a cultural shift and promote innovative practices while managing a tight budget and a downsized (and downsizing) staff.

The new civic journalism organization must take into account this hugely challenging environment that has most editors hanging on for their lives, white knuckled and not a little scared.

I have to remind myself and my staff every day that we are blessed with a charge, a calling, to do work that no one else can do. As long as we’re in a position to do our job in a way that embodies the core values of our craft, then we can muster the fortitude and the courage to carry on in the face of the nicks, cuts and even wholesale amputations so many of us face.

I hope my absence this weekend doesn’t preclude me from participating in future activities. This work is too important and I’m not ready to walk away from it just yet.

Please give my regards to my friends and colleagues.

4. Charter Draft straw poll

Survey Results for Charter Draft straw poll (4 participants)

Please take some time to read the entire Charter Draft–it is only about a 15-minute read. Of course, if you selection choice #2 or #3, visit the discussion topic associated with this straw poll and explain what needs work so we can incorporate your suggestion prior to the live meeting on Jan. 24-25. No matter what you think pro or con, we need to hear your thoughts. That’s the important thing.

Question 1: What’s your opinion about the current Charter Draft? (single answer)

  • From my perspective the Charter Draft is in very good shape and will only need minor tweaking on Jan. 25 4 votes (100%)
  • From my perspective the Charter Draft is a good foundation but will require a lot more than tweaking on Jan. 25 0 votes (0%)
  • The Charter Draft as it stands now does not do a very good job of representing the society as I envision it. It will need a rewrite 0 votes (0%)