Pulitzer Prize winner to speak in Ft. Payne, Rainsville Wednesday

Democracy and Informed Citizens FT PAYNE What comes to light


Pulitzer Prize winner Joey Bunch will be featured in What Comes To Light: Alabama Journalists And An Informed Citizenry, a public forum to be held in Rainsville and Ft. Payne Sept. 26. The forums are slated for 9:30 a.m. at the Health & Fine Arts Building, Northeast Alabama Community College in Rainsville, and at 5:30 p.m. at City Auditorium in Ft. Payne.

In partnership with two- and four-year college and university faculty and staff, local news outlets, Alabama journalists, and public and private secondary schools, the Alabama Humanities Foundation presents What Comes To Light: Alabama Journalists And An Informed Citizenry, a series of public forums devoted to provoking public discussion of the role of journalism in a healthy democracy and the contributions of the humanities to an informed citizenry.

The forums also are taking place in Thomasville Oct. 23 with Pulitzer Prize winner John Archibald and in Talladega Oct. 30 with Harold Jackson, another Alabamian with a Pulitzer Prize to his credit.

They will reflect on their careers as journalists and speak to the current climate in which journalists operate. All presenters will encourage attendees to give careful consideration to reliable and unreliable sources of information.

Journalists currently working in Alabama will speak to immediate challenges and opportunities close to home. And finally, scholars will provide some historical context with a discussion of Alabamians whose contributions to the profession continue to inspire investigative journalism and truth-telling in small towns and larger cities alike.

Staff of the David Mathews Center for Civic Life, a non-partisan non-profit dedicated to strengthening civic life in all of Alabama’s 67 counties, will serve as moderators for the public discussions. Events will be live streamed on Facebook.

Alabama chapters of the Society for Professional Journalists, the Alabama Scholastic Press Association and the Alabama-based National Elementary Schools Press Association will serve as statewide partners to help promote the forum and discussion series.

AHF aims to highlight the work of three Alabama-born Pulitzers winners while providing young people and general audiences in three communities the opportunity to engage directly with these award-winning journalists. This initial presentation and exchange will provide fodder for a deeper community conversation about the critical role journalists play in maintaining an informed citizenry and how that information in turn affects democracy.

Discussion, facilitated by neutral moderators from the Mathews Center, will encourage attendees to think about the current obstacles journalists face, how to discern sources’ veracity, and why it is important that investigative journalism continues to serve as the basis for American intellectual life while adapting to a changing media landscape.