Why is journalism important?

Smart, fair, independent journalism is essential for a democracy to function well.

“The primary purpose of journalism is to provide citizens with the information they need to be free and self-governing,” write journalists Tom Rosenstiel and Bill Kovach.

By reporting what government, businesses and other powerful institutions do, journalists give citizens information they need to decide everything from which school to attend to whom they should vote for.

Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Learning about journalism also gives teens a chance to build important skills like researching, writing, interviewing and thinking critically. They learn about their community and themselves. When their work is published, their voices are heard by the whole community.