Crisis in Democracy: Renewing Trust in America

Crisis in Democracy: Renewing Trust in America

A vibrant free press is an essential element of a healthy democracy, and news organizations, technology companies, and citizens all must work to restore faith in journalism and the news media, a report from the Aspen Institute's Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy argues. The report, Crisis in Democracy: Renewing Trust in America (HTML or 208 pages, PDF), found that the technologies that have given individuals unparalleled access to information have also made it more difficult for them to find news they consider trustworthy — with misinformation and disinformation being spread virally and the line between news and opinion becoming blurred. To restore trust in the media and democratic institutions, the commission's twenty-seven members recommend that journalists, newsrooms, and information distributors — including major technology companies — commit to "radical transparency," providing users with information with respect to how outlets select the stories they cover, the sources they use, and how they reach their conclusions; that newsrooms increase the diversity of staff, leadership, and owners; that philanthropy increase support for journalism in the public interest; that tech companies improve technologies designed to identify and address disinformation and protect users; that state and local educational authorities provide basic civic education to citizens of all ages; that local institutions take more of a role by initiating and supporting a dialogue among citizens; and that a voluntary year of national service be encouraged.