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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Democracy Fund Issues Grant for Solidarity in Journalism Initiative

Democracy Fund

Democracy Fund

Anita Varma, PhD, assistant director of Journalism & Media Ethics as well as Social Sector Ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, has received a grant from Democracy Fund to support her initiative on solidarity in journalism.

The one-year grant will support in-person workshops at journalism schools and newsrooms across the United States, as well as the development of publicly available materials with resources on how journalists can implement solidarity in their reporting – starting with greater inclusion of the perspectives of affected communities.

“An incredibly challenging aspect of journalism is encouraging audiences to care before they click away,” Varma explained. “Growing evidence of news fatigue and news avoidance suggests that standard reporting approaches are making audiences weary, which points to an opportunity for new techniques to help journalists enhance engagement using a solidarity approach. I look forward to having conversations about solidarity in newsrooms and journalism schools across the country in 2020.”

Varma’s work is based on her Stanford University doctoral dissertation Solidarity in Action: A Case Study of Journalistic Humanizing Techniques in the San Francisco Homeless Project, which received the inaugural Penn State Davis Ethics Award in 2019.

This grant was issued through the Rights and Dignity Working Group, a multi-organizational partnership of The Omidyar Group that is committed to addressing conditions and systems of hate through a values-based, collaborative approach. Democracy Fund convenes and supports the working group, which is comprised of representatives from The Omidyar Group, Democracy Fund, Humanity United, and Luminate.

Created by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar, Democracy Fund is a foundation helping to ensure that our political system can withstand new and unprecedented challenges, and deliver on its promise to the American people. Since 2011 Democracy Fund has invested more than $125 million in support of a healthy, resilient and diverse democracy with particular focus on modernizing elections, ensuring effective governance, building a vibrant public square and just and inclusive society.

Dec 17, 2019

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