View this event’s agenda.
Since before the birth of our nation, a free press has played an important role in supporting democracy – so important that the First Amendment specifically protects it. We count on a free press to deliver information and analysis about politics and policy, and to hold elected officials accountable to voters. A free press keeps government in check and arms citizens with the information they need to cast their votes on Election Day. A free press contributes to an informed electorate, made up of citizens who cannot be told what to think by government.
Now, in the 21st century, news breaks constantly via social media on mobile devices. Traditional newsrooms are shrinking as bloggers exert their influence. We see an increased partisanship among news organizations with unprecedented reach through technology; the power of talk radio to influence elections; and the growth of news satire serving as a primary source of information for many citizens.
How does this changing media landscape impact our electorate? How are citizens obtaining the information and analysis they need to make good decisions about elected leaders and the institutions of government? Does the journalistic ideal of objectivity in reporting even exist? What is the influence of news satire shows on the national debate? With the power of social media, how do we define a “reporter” or “news reporting?”
The Texas Lyceum plans to answer these questions and more at our quarterly conference in Waco, Texas, on the campus of Baylor University. We have invited reporters, editors, bloggers, news comedy writers, and elected officials for a thoughtful discussion about the state of the American free press in the 21st Century. We will explore how well the Fourth Estate is upholding its responsibility to the American electorate.
Click on the "Video" link to view Evan Smith's interview with Matthew Dowd and Mark McKinnon at the Lyceum's Fireside Chat, February 9 at the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame and Museum.