Published June 9, 2021

On Tuesday June 8, in the first of a two-part series of conversations, leading journalism experts discussed one of the predominant threats to a functioning democracy: the viability of journalism in 21st century America. The free online event, hosted by Virginia Humanities in partnership with the Federation of State Humanities Councils, featured national experts and practitioners with decades of experience in journalism. 


  • Panelist: Penny Abernathy, Visiting Professor at Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University
  • Panelist: Greg Moore, Partner and Editor-in-Chief of Deke Digital
  • Panelist: Karen Rundlet, Director of the Journalism Program at the Knight Foundation
  • Panelist: Margaret Sullivan, Media Columnist, The Washington Post
  • Moderator: Phoebe Stein, President of the Federation of State Humanities Councils

The pandemic-sourced economic downturn and increasing consolidation of newspaper businesses through hedge fund ownership have significantly worsened the already difficult conditions for local, regional and city newspapers. These two public conversations on the role of journalism in our democracy will provide an important platform to discuss the impact that shrinking local journalism has had on government accountability and public policy literacy—and what can be done, and is being done, to fill the void. 

Watch Part 2 »

Presented In Partnership By

This program is part of the “Democracy and the Informed Citizen” initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils and funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation across forty-nine statewide humanities councils. The multi-year initiative seeks to deepen the public’s knowledge and appreciation of the vital connections between democracy, the humanities, journalism, and an informed citizenry.

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