Why Americans Are Afraid to Talk to Reporters

They Fear Backlash From Their Neighbors, and Are Wary the Media Will Exploit Them

It’s been a landmark year for ordinary citizens in the news. Without the hurricane survivors, student protestors, mass shooting victims, and sexual abuse survivors who agreed to speak to reporters, our understanding of some of the most important issues of the day would be murky at best.

By giving first-hand accounts of what happened on the ground—or on the casting couch—before reporters arrived at the scene, citizen sources perform an important public service. But behind every citizen we see in the news is another story—about their interaction with journalists and …

More In: news

Art Can Help Us Understand Reality, Even While Transforming It

It Crafts Beauty and Truth from Mundane—Sometimes Ugly—Daily Existence

In their different ways, David Simon and Jamel Shabazz both have transformed gritty reality into art, drawing inspiration from the complex, often troubled urban-scapes of places like New York, …

Facebook Could Fix Our Local News Problem

The Media Behemoth Is Perfectly Positioned to Lead Investment in Civic-Minded Journalism

Facebook may not be quite ready to stand up and say the words, “My name is Facebook and I’m a media company.” But it has begun to accept that its …

Fake News Won’t Kill Democracy

Digital Journalism Is Challenging Journalists and Society, but There Are Reasons to Be Hopeful for the Future

The world now confronts a bitter irony: the democratization of information has proven not to be all that good for democracy.

That provocative observation, offered by moderator and Zócalo Public Square …

How the Memory of a Handshake Helps Put Tragedy in Perspective

The Overwhelming Stream of Depressing News From Around the Globe Makes Personal Connections Even More Meaningful

After mass shootings and other random acts of violence, the media responds in patterns all too familiar—heart-breaking accounts of the loss, a search to understand why (as if that answer …

Donald Trump Could Make the Media Great Again

Newsrooms May Be Guilty of Fueling His Rise, but Journalists Can Redeem Themselves by Holding the Mogul Accountable

A few weeks ago, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof weighed in on who is to blame for the poisoning of American politics.

“The G.O.P. Created Donald Trump,” blared the headline. …