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Future of journalism topic of next community conversation

September 7, 2018

Is the future of journalism a topic that should be of interest to anyone other than journalists?

Most definitely.

When the freedom of the press is a right entrenched in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution; when the notion of “fake news” makes the headlines on a regular basis; and when informed citizens are essential to the future of a democracy, then the future of journalism is, indeed, an issue that affects everyone.

That’s why the Daily News is helping to sponsor a special installment of its “community conversation” series of public events next month in Norfolk.

Set for Tuesday, Oct. 16, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Cox Activities Center theater on the Northeast Community College in Norfolk, the conversation will be titled: “An Issue of Trust: a discussion about democracy and the future of journalism.”

The 90-minute program that is free and open to the public will explore questions such as: What role should the new media play in our democracy? How does one identify biased or inaccurate reporting? What does the future hold for the consumption and dissemination of news? What are the obligations of citizens and journalists in today’s news environment?

Featured guests will be Jenna Johnson, a national political correspondent for The Washington Post; Clark Kauffman, investigative reporter for The Des Moines Register; and Frank Partsch, retired Opinion page editor for The Omaha World-herald.

The Daily News — with partners Calmwater Financial Group and Northeast Community College — regularly sponsors community conversations on issues of public interest. But this one is a special edition of that series.

Humanities Nebraska is a featured partner in this event. It’s a statewide non-profit organization that strives to inspire and enrich personal and public life by delivering opportunities to engage thoughtfully with culture and history.

Humanities Nebraska is working with the Pulitzer Prize organization to organize not only the forum in Norfolk, but also subsequent ones on the same topic in Scottsbluff, North Platte, Kearney, Omaha and Lincoln.

The entire series of six forums is being patterned after the Daily News’ “community conversation” events.

“We are thrilled to be working with communities across the state to provide opportunities for Nebraskans to explore these important issues,” said Chris Sommerich, Humanities Nebraska executive director. “A core aspect of our work as a state humanities council is to find ways to bring people together through the humanities, and sometimes this means addressing topics that are challenging and divisive.”

The series of forums is part of a national “Democracy and the Informed Citizen” initiative administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The 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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