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Journalist Margaret Sullivan says media's job is to 'inform citizens'

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Michael Benabib
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Margaret Sullivan
Margaret Sullivan is a journalist and the author of "Newsroom Confidential: Lessons (and Worries) from an Ink-Stained Life."

Margaret Sullivan, author of "Newsroom Confidential: Lessons (and Worries) from an Ink-Stained Life," discusses American's mistrust in the media and the media's role in preserving democracy.

Americans' trust in news media has declined over the past 50 years. Margaret Sullivan, author and former media columnist for the Washington Post, said the 24-hour news cycle, the internet and coverage of former President Donald Trump are to blame.

"I think that former President Trump did a lot of damage," Sullivan said. "He used the disparagement of the news media as a central part of his initial campaign, and then of his administration, and afterwards."

Reporters' constant coverage of former President Trump was a "disservice" to those in the profession because overloaded the public "to the exclusion of anything else," Sullivan said.

The author noted that journalists have a "constitutionally protected role" and are important to protecting democracy.

"We need to remember that we have a job, which is to inform the public, and to do it properly, and that our job is not to get the most clicks. And it's not to get the most corporate profits, but it is to inform citizens so that they can be self-governing," said Sullivan. "And I think we've kind of lost touch with that to some extent."

Sullivan joined Up To Date to discuss "Newsroom Confidential: Lessons (and Worries) from an Ink-Stained Life," her career and the role of the media in democracy.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
As an assistant producer on Up To Date, my goal is to amplify voices of people who serve as pioneers in their respective fields while shedding light on issues that affect underserved communities. I produce daily conversations to uplift and inspire the people of the Kansas City area to make the world a better place. You can reach me at reginalddavid@kcur.org.
Elizabeth Ruiz is a producer for KCUR’s Up To Date. Contact her at elizabeth@kcur.org or on Twitter at @er_bentley_ruiz.
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