Is journalism failing its role in democracy?

Center founders John Christie and Naomi Schalit are giving a series of talks across the state about the role of investigative journalism in our democracy. The talk, entitled “Is journalism failing its role in democracy?”begins with the Center’s motto, from Thomas Jefferson: “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.”

In our presentation, we make the case for independent, investigative journalism, drawing on Kovach and Rosenstiel’s book, “The Elements of Journalism,” which sets forth this “statement of purpose” for journalism:

Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth;

Its first loyalty is to citizens;

Its essence is a discipline of verification;

Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover;

It must serve as an independent monitor of power;

It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise;

It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant;

It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional;

Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience.

Along with Center material, we distribute and discuss the statement of purpose, paying special attention in our discussion to the section about how journalism is a “discipline of verification.” We describe the threats to journalism, especially accountability journalism, and how the Maine Center tries to respond to those threats.

If you’d like Christie and Schalit to address your group, just give us a call at 207-620-4519, or send an email to

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