Last year, as part of our participation in Democracy Day, The Objective committed to hiring a correspondent to cover the intersection of journalism and democracy.
We struggled to choose just one correspondent … which is why this month we’re excited to announce The Objective is bringing on two Democracy Correspondents: Uyiosa Elegon and Jacob Gardenswartz.
Elegon is a facilitator and co-founder of Shift Press, a youth media organization that helps young people move power through story sharing and media education programs. Gardenswartz has covered legal issues and the White House for NBC News, and contributed to The New Republic, Vox, and The Wyoming Truth, among other places.
Both correspondents will be covering the intersection of journalism and Democracy, but are excited to fill the gaps in different spaces.
Elegon told me he is interested in focusing on “how money either supports or antagonizes the work of movement journalism organizations across the nation,” as well as how different outlets define democracy and how young people can take up space in and against the journalism field.
Gardenswartz said that he’s often seen journalism as “reactive as opposed to proactive” and “always trying to respond to criticism or improve on past wrongs.” Instead, he wants to push organizations to intentionally consider what they’re failing to report on and contextualize.
In conversations he’s had with news leaders at legacy or mainstream outlets, many refuse to engage with the idea they’re making a choice when framing their coverage.
“More often than not, news leaders I’ve spoken to have brushed off the choice. But every decision is a means of promoting or minimizing democracy,” he said. “And I’m interested in the ways news organizations do or don’t make those choices.”
Elegon said the opportunity to support democratic movements through this role, by looking at how mainstream journalism has failed minorities in the U.S., is an exciting opportunity.
“Journalism in America has not always championed democracy for minoritized people, so this opportunity to write at the intersection of journalism and democracy means a lot to me as a person who’s interested in supporting the many democratic and strong movements that minoritized people lead in this country,” Elegon said.
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The Objective is a nonprofit newsroom holding journalism accountable for past and current systemic biases in reporting and newsroom practices. We are written by and for those underrepresented in journalism.