We’re currently facing an unprecedented assault on our democracy, a clear and present threat to our constitutional rights and our ability as journalists to exist and do our jobs.But as we inch closer to a possible democratic collapse in 2024, the magnitude of that threat isn’t well-understood by all Americans, nor is it being treated seriously enough by our elected officials. In some cases, elected officials are part of the anti-democratic efforts, and aren’t being held accountable. It’s time for journalists to step up and do more.
DRAW ATTENTION TO THE CRISIS AND HOW INDIVIDUALS CAN RESPOND
Democracy Day is an effort to draw attention to this crisis, provide the public with the context and information they need, and bring all types of media together to sound the alarm collectively.
INCENTIVIZE MEDIA COVERAGE THROUGH A NATIONWIDE COLLABORATIVE
We’d like to provide clear explanations of what’s happening (and what could happen), give practical information on what members of the public can do, and uncover new revelations related to anti-democratic efforts.
We intend to pick a date on which print, radio, TV, and digital media on the national and local level can come together to report on the threat we’re facing. This would include original reporting, aggregations of existing reporting, and op-eds. Through the collaboration, we’d make some Creative Commons reporting free for all to republish and use across various mediums.
HOW THIS COMPLEMENTS OTHER WORK + HOW IT STARTED
We know that some newsrooms are already thinking about this, and some are even building teams to focus on democracy, like at the Washington Post. Newsrooms like KPCC and the Long Beach Post, meanwhile, are shifting their political coverage to focus on democratic erosion and the voters themselves. We hope this effort will light a fire under newsrooms that haven’t yet thought about this coverage strategically.
We’re organizing this initiative with support from media industry groups, several of which have already signed on to support the effort. This idea is initially being developed by Jennifer Brandel, co-founder and CEO of Hearken and lead strategist on Election SOS and Democracy SOS; Stefanie Murray, director of the Center for Cooperative Media; Bridget Thoreson, member collaborations editor at INN; and me, Rachel Glickhouse, learning and labs director at News Revenue Hub. We’re hopeful that an organizational sponsor and funding to manage the project could help us jumpstart this effort.
We believe this effort will encourage more and better reporting on the anti-democratic threats we face. And we hope our actions will serve our country and help protect the rights we hold dear — before it’s too late.
Want to participate or learn more? Sign up here for updates.
JOIN THE EFFORT! HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
If you want to support Democracy Day from afar: You’re someone who understands the threats facing out democracy and you want to keep abreast of how Democracy Day develops. You can join as a stakeholder and will be asked to receive emailed communications about the effort. Sign up here.
If you want to join as a media partner: You’re part of a news organization that understands the critical role that a free press plays in a democracy, and recognize now is the time to use your role as a trusted communicator to share information and solutions to the threats this nation is facing. You can join as a media partner. Sign up here.
Media partners will be asked to:
— Allow your logo to be added to Democracy Day materials stating you are a media partner in the effort.
— Participate in the communication vehicle chosen by the collaborative. (Likely to be email or Slack).
— Have someone from your staff join our on-boarding webinar.
— Create a Democracy Day landing page on your website, which should briefly explain why you’re participating in Democracy Day, with links to any relevant coverage. This page can include your own text, and/or pull from Democracy Day messaging that we’ll share.
— Create at least one piece of democracy-related content from a sample menu we’ll share.
Media partners will be encouraged and supported to:
Do additional reporting about threats to democracy and actions to support democracy in the U.S.
— Produce editorials or opinion pieces about threats to democracy and ways to strengthen democracy.
— Create a mission statement for your democracy coverage, a brief statement explaining your newsroom’s commitment to democracy coverage, and could go on your landing page above. We’ll host workshops on how to develop this mission statement.
— Republish stories from our Creative Commons pool. We plan to have reported pieces from several participating newsrooms that newsrooms can republish for free.
If you want to help organize Democracy Day: You GET IT. You’re likely part of a news outlet or journalism support organization that understands the critical role that a free press plays in a democracy, and recognize now is the time to use your power to shape this important initiative. You can join as an organizer and will be asked to regularly attend planning calls, help with media partner outreach, fundraising and overall execution of the project. Sign up here.
If you want to help fund Democracy Day: You know that now is the time for philanthropy and major donors to do all that they can to support a myriad of initiatives across the U.S. that tackle the problem of the erosion of democracy from all aspects — of which media is one. You can join as a funder, and no gift is too big or small; contact Stefanie Murray at email@example.com or sign up here.