Explain “what ends should journalism serve? Does it have any responsibility for the state of democracy itself? What is the relationship of journalists to the public, beyond simply reporting from a supposedly objective and unbiased perspective? If journalists give up their supposed role as completely ‘objective’ and ‘unbiased,’ what is the source of their power and authority?”

First you have to read 2 reading that I give you.Boyte and Kari add a new dimension to our readings in the course by framing their argument about work today in directly political and ethical terms. The problem of democracy, they suggest, is largely a problem of how we understand and approach the work that we do.

1) Let’s begin with the connection between democracy and work. How do Boyte and Kari define “democracy,” “work,” and the activities that connect the two? How do they suggest that work needs to be re-imagined (individually and/or institutionally) in order to build a more vital democracy? How does their definition of “public work” differ from commonsense understandings of “customer service” or “volunteering?” Whom or what are they arguing against? How does their argument compare to the ways in which the other authors in the course have talked about work?

2) Now let’s turn to specifics. In their concluding chapter, Boyte and Kari suggest that all “jobs” can be turned into “public work” if one begins by asking (and paying attention to) the right series of questions. (Please note that they also argue that no job is, by definition, public work.) For example, they suggest that the job of the journalist can be transformed into public work by asking the following questions: “What ends should journalism serve? Does it have any responsibility for the state of democracy itself? What is the relationship of journalists to the public, beyond simply reporting from a supposedly objective and unbiased perspective? If journalists give up their supposed role as completely ‘objective’ and ‘unbiased,’ what is the source of their power and authority?” (167)

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