#HumCitizen: Journalism & Democracy

Presented by:
Mississippi Humanities
Current Initiative: Democracy and the Informed Citizen National Partner: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Pulitzer Prizes Local Partner: K-12 Institutions, Libraries, Nonprofits, Other, Public Radio Subject: Cross-Cultural Understanding, Digital Humanities, Journalism, K-12 Education, Literacy, Other, Professional Development, Varies Audience: All, Educators, K-12, Other, Young Adult, Youth/Teen

The Mississippi Humanities Council will address the theme of “Journalism and Democracy” through an array of public programs on the importance of journalism in creating informed, engaged citizens and with a variety of partners. The central program will be a day-long “Journalism and Democracy Summit,” which will feature a unique coalition of local and statewide news organizations. It will include a series of panel discussions with journalists, scholars, and newsmakers addressing a variety of different topics, such as unnamed sources, small-town newspapers, nonprofit news, and journalism in the wake of “fake news.”

Additionally, the council will host four regional summit panels at public libraries that will explore the history and future of small town newspapers and the “fake news” phenomenon. The council will also offer an in-person, half-day “train the trainer” workshop to cover how to evaluate print and online sources and the role of the media.

Another segment of the initiative will include a partnership with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for a special program on the life and legacy of Mississippi-native Ida B. Wells, the crusading journalist who uncovered and publicized lynchings across the South. In addition to celebrating important journalists of the past, the council will also support the development of future journalists by partnering with the Youth Media Project, an intensive 8-week summer program that trains over 25 high school students from the Jackson area.

Finally, the council will incorporate the project themes into several of their ongoing programs, including the Mississippi Book Festival, radio segments and podcasts, and at various “Ideas on Tap” programs held monthly in Jackson and two a year in Cleveland, Oxford, and Hattiesburg.


Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching – Jackson, MS – A free public event featuring biographer Paula J. Giddings who will present on the life and legacy of Ida B. Wells. Wells was born into slavery in Holly Springs, MS and went on to become one of the highest-profile voices for civil rights in the 19th century. Giddings is the author of Ida: A Sword among Lions,” which won the Los Angeles Book Prize for Biography and the inaugural John Hope Franklin Research Center Book Award presented by the Duke University Libraries. A reception and book signing will accompany the program.

APRIL 2018

Ideas on Tap “Emerging Mississippi” – Jackson, MS – A discussion of media and news coverage in Mississippi in the 21st century, including conversation on how news is disseminated, how people choose to receive their news, the approach that young reporters take to cover issues, and reporters’ connections to the news they’re covering. Panelists include Larrison Campbell, Mississippi Today; Arielle Dreher, Jackson Free Press; Beau York, Podastery; and Bracey Harris, Clarion Ledger.

Ideas on Tap “What Do We Commemorate & Why?” – Oxford, MS – Partnering with the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies, this council-run program will featuring Dr. Charles Ross, director of African American Studies and professor of History at the University of Mississippi; Dr. Anne Twitty, associate professor of History at the University of Mississippi; Cindy Gardner, administrator of the Two Mississippi Museums; and Alysia Steele, assistant professor of Journalism at the University of Mississippi. This public conversation will address commemoration, what we decide to commemorate and what the implications are. The event takes place in conjunction with the Isom Center’s annual “Radical South” programming.