Democracy and the Informed Citizen

Wisconsin and Beyond

Downtown Milwaukee photo by Gary Porter

What are we to do?

Scholars tell us our democracy is endangered. They point to diminishing sources of reliable information, a tuned out public, social media algorithms that create bubbles and silos of information, and the intentional misrepresentation of information intended to confuse or mislead us.

Communities across the state are faced with a struggle to engage their citizens on important local issues. Yet, we are so inundated with information we are too overwhelmed to wade through thousands of messages we receive every day, many contradicting themselves.  In many cases, people think they are wise news consumers. Yet, they may only be seeing a tiny slice of the information pie that has been tailored for them based on what they have seen before.

How can we find the information we need to make sound decisions: from development or health or educational policy to casting our vote for our local representation?

While we have several cities that have been the focus of Beyond the Headlines, this issue is a national issue. It’s a Wisconsin issue. As we encounter programs that can increase Wisconsinites’ media literacy and deepen our knowledge through news media, we’ll share on this page.

We thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of this initiative and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership.