Why the Nevada Democracy Project matters
When Jon and I started The Nevada Independent in 2017, we knew we wanted to provide in-depth news and thoughtful opinion on goings-on in state and local government, provide explainers on policy topics and ballot measures in order to inform the electorate and strengthen the culture of civic engagement in the state by doing what we could to encourage people to take part in their democracy by fostering active and informed participation in the policy-making and political process.
Since then, and increasingly in the past few years, we have had to think about how to report fairly and without bias in the presence of misinformation, propaganda and all manner of political bias, all of which weaken democracy and in some cases undermine faith in the integrity of one of the country’s most fundamental and sacred processes: voting.
We also have asked ourselves how we can provide space that helps educate and inspire people to become more civically engaged and more actively participate in their communities. We have mulled how we can engage with and empower members of underserved and underrepresented communities so they, too, can actively participate in the policy-making process. And we have recently been thinking about how nonprofit newsrooms and public media organizations can build and maintain trust with their audiences.
The Nevada Democracy Project, a new partnership between Vegas PBS and The Nevada Independent announced last week at our annual conference, is part of the answer to those questions. The initiative is focused on civic engagement and inclusive community conversations and aspires to close a widening gap in Nevadans’ understanding of and engagement in local and state government.
As Mare Mazur, president of Vegas PBS, put it so well when we announced the partnership, “The project is based on the democratic principle that every Nevadan who is affected by an issue should have a say in the decision-making around it, regardless of socio-economic, cultural, ethnic or religious background.”
We believe that seeking diverse perspectives in our reporting gives us a needed range of insights that can challenge stale frameworks and false assumptions. As the only statewide news organization in one of the most diverse states in the nation, we also know that many Nevadans identify across multiple demographics and communities. We believe this enriches our state — and we believe the stories and struggles of everyday Nevadans need to make it into the public eye.
As part of the Nevada Democracy Project, Vegas PBS and The Nevada Independent will team up for regular community listening sessions and from those conversations will seek to understand community needs and provide in-depth news coverage on the channels of both organizations.
Residents of Nevada and members of the media are invited to the first community listening session:
Wednesday, November 1, 2023 — 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
West Las Vegas Library
951 W Lake Mead Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89106
The Nevada Independent is raising $200,000 by Dec. 31 to support coverage of the 2024 election.
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