VIDEO: Harvard Prof. Michael Sandel on why news reading is critical to citizenship -- not consumer-ship

Why is journalism important?  Listen to Michael Sandel, Professor of Government at Harvard University:

Says Sandel in this five-minute video: "The newspaper is perhaps the most important instrument of civic education, because that is the way citizens learn what's at stake."

He adds: "Unless people share a common life, unless they bump up against one another in downtown areas or in public transportation or in public schools, or libraries or other public facilities, it won't really be the case that they share a sufficiently common live to deliberate with each other about the
common good."

If we're to be citizens, not just consumers going off to the mall, says Sandel, the two things a democracy requires that need to be revitalized are "informed citizens who read the newspaper, who learn about public affairs; the other is the cultivation of those shared convictions, the habits of the
heart that can motivate and inspire men and women to deliberate not only about their own individual interest but about the common good."


For my part, I don't think what needs to be saved is the act of reading the newspaper (as in paper) every day. It is the act of devoting some portion of your daily life to an activity that informs you about civic issues.

This article discusses the translation of Sandel's Harvard course into a 12-episode PBS documentary to run this fall and winter: