#HumCitizen: Beyond the Headlines

Presented by:
Wisconsin Humanities Council
Current Initiative: Democracy and the Informed Citizen National Partner: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Pulitzer Prizes Local Partner: Colleges and Universities, Libraries, Museums, Nonprofits, Other, Public Radio Subject: African American/Black, Cross-Cultural Understanding, History, Journalism, Literacy, Varies Audience: All, Colleges and Universities, Other

Working closely with local steering committees, the Wisconsin Humanities Council will organize community forums in five cities that examine the role of journalism through the lens of issues crucial to those cities. From race relations to water, these issues will provide an entree for journalists, scholars, and community leaders to discuss how the media investigates and reports on these issues and the impact of their coverage. In conjunction with these programs, the council will create a “Behind the News” website with resources, readings, media literacy tools, and information generated by each of the community forums.

In Eau Claire: Partners include a non-profit and an online independent news source. This event will continue community conversations about poverty, bringing tools to citizens that help them interpret relevant data. Together, citizens and the media will tell the county’s story about poverty.

In Milwaukee: Partners include America’s Black Holocaust Museum, Rid Racism-Milwaukee, Marquette University Center for Urban Research Teaching & Outreach, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee History Department. Here, the policy focus will address the “othering” that affects civic, social, and economic life in Milwaukee.

In Madison: Partners include UW-Madison College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Wisconsin Newspaper Association. Here, the event is designed specifically for journalists and stakeholders and will focus on a critical statewide issue – water. This invite-only workshop will bring together journalists, scholars, civic-leaders, non-profit and business leaders from multiple perspectives to talk about the future of water in Wisconsin. The workshop will explore ways to move beyond polarized framing of issues toward a shared vision for Wisconsin’s waters at a time when major issues face the state, from the arrival of FoxConn to mining.

In Wausau: Partners include WIPPS, WSAW-CBS affiliate, WAOW-ABC affiliate, Midwest Communications, Gannett-USA Today (Wausau Daily Herald), and WHRM (Wisconsin Public Radio) and will discuss controversies over local policing and the media’s role in informing the public about policing, crime, and judicial processes.

In Superior: Partners include the mayor, UW-Superior Communicating Arts Department, Superior Telegram, and Wisconsin Public Radio.

APRIL 2018

Wisconsin’s Water Future Workshop – Madison, WI – This workshop for reporters and the public will help illustrate why it is crucial for the media to keep water and the struggle to protect it in the headlines, and why they need to share the voices and stories of those whose lives have been turned around due to water quality. Ron Seely, award-winning science and environmental writer, will moderate the workshop.

MAY 2018

Beyond the Headlines – Building Trust: Law Enforcement, the Media, and You – Wausau, WI – This is the council’s kickoff event for the national discussion of “democracy and the informed citizen” initiative in Wisconsin. The event focuses on how to stay informed despite seemingly conflicting reports from police, the news, bystanders, or our own observations, and how to know who is “telling the truth?” The event will bring together local members of the media, law enforcement, and community to help build trust and help citizens sort through these questions. Featured guests include Kathleen Bartzen Culver, assistant professor at UW-Madison and Mike Leary, editor of the San Antonio Express-News. Learn more.

JUNE 2018

Beyond the Headlines – Building Trust: What is News and Whose Story Is It? – Wausau, WI – Beyond the Headlines is a series of programs in five Wisconsin communities that bring people together with journalists over issues of local and national importance. This program, taking place in Wausau, focuses on how law enforcement agencies determine what to release to the public and how journalists and news organizations decide what to publish.


Building Trust: The Impact of Race – Eau Claire, WI – How do news headlines, pictures and language that identifies race, ethnicity or religion affect how we understand the news and the people in the news? What is the responsibility of media and law enforcement in reporting incidents that involve minority populations? Join us in a facilitated community conversation that brings together news media, law enforcement and the public to talk about the impact of media coverage of incidents involving minority populations, including undocumented residents. How does this coverage affect public perceptions of policing? How does it affect public perceptions of minorities?

Beyond the Headlights: A Community Read Discussion – Eau Claire, WI – A community read of the book The Elements of Journalism, which examines the relationship of journalism and democracy, will be free and open to the public. A two-part discussion of the book will be held on Oct. 3 and Oct. 9 at the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library. Jan Larson, chair of the UW-Eau Claire Department of Communication and Journalism, will moderate. Tom Rosenstiel, co-author of the book and executive director of the American Press Institute, will join the Oct. 9 discussion remotely.

Building Trust: Eau Claire and Its Journalists Engage on Poverty – Eau Claire, WI – This forum will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters Joan Garrett McClane and Joy Lukachick Smith who won a 2017 Pulitzer Prize for a series they co-wrote for the Chattanooga Times Free Press highlighting that city’s poverty. The forum panel also will include Dominique Brossard, co-director of the research group Science, Media and the Public at UW-Madison, and Sarah Ferber, an organizer for Chippewa Valley EXPO (EX-Incarcerated People Organizing).

Hard Times: An Artistic Expression of Poverty in Eau Claire – Eau Claire, WI – Start with a group of selected Eau Claire-area authors with deep literary talents and a passion for thoughtful storytelling. Mix them with local musicians who create a symphony of sound that stirs a range of deep emotions. Then add modern dancers whose graceful physical movements lend performances a soulful feel. Place them in a brand-new performing arts center and tell them to combine forces to depict the stories of poverty. The result will be a powerful, artistic display designed to change not only minds but hearts. Event is free; donations may be accepted at the door for The Community Table.