COVID-19 Citizen Commission Version 1.0 :   

The Press,  Media, Journalism  and Social Media

Edited Image 2016-06-02 22-35-29

Starting  May 2022

 "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

First Amendment 

Passed by Congress September 25, 1789. Ratified December 15, 1791. The first of 10 amendments form the Bill of Rights

Examining the role of the media  in the COVID- 19 Pandemic

The media plays and important role maintaining and enhancing our democracy, yet more and more Americans distrust the fragmented media.

Nearly a two years into the COVID 19 Pandemic we have no idea where this crisis is headed. But what we do know is that the coronavirus, in addition to being terrifyingly contagious, acts as an unusually merciless magnifying glass, showing the flaws in our politics, our healthcare system, our social safety net. And in our media.

Media outlet's coverage of the COVID- 19 pandemic illustrate the challenges and opportunities for the media in reporting and covering complex health, political social issues. As the shapers of public opinion, the media plays a crucial role within the COVID- 19 pandemic  ecosystem.

The overall goal of the exploration of the media as a stakeholder is to evolve a framework for engaging citizens and facilitating public opinion based on reliable information and recognition of the centrality of the citizen in the body politic.

“no one can take the place of the [news] media during this (COVID-19) pandemic in providing the public with information and analysis, and in countering rumors and distortions.”

 Antonio Gutteres , The UN Secretary General   

The Hutchins Commission’s  five essential mandates for the  press:

first, providing “a truthful, comprehensive, and intelligent account of the day’s events”;

second, furnishing a forum for discussion of “all the important viewpoints and interests in the society”;

third, offering a “representative picture” of society and its various groups;

fourth, educating the public on “the ideals towards which the community should strive”; and

fifth, making information available to everybody.

From; How Can the Press Best Serve a Democratic Society?  Michael Luo The NewYorker July 11, 2020


“I want to know why didn't journalists take the first reports in January from China more seriously because if you read those reports the entire unfolding of this pandemic is described in five papers we (the Lancet)  published in the last week of January and yet they were largely ignored.  I don't understand why journalists didn't understand the significance of WHO's declaration of a public health emergency of international concern that it on January 31st that is a red alert to the world that should have triggered action and it didn't.  Where were journalists in February when the epidemic was spreading and tens of thousands of deaths could have been prevented if there had been greater attention paid to that spreading pandemic? I don't fully understand why journalists have colluded with a political narrative that has emphasized this cynophobia.” 

Richard Horton, Editor The Lancet 

The COVID 19 Pandemic: The Challenge for Media and Journalism

“The primary purpose of journalism is to provide citizens with the information they need to be free and self-governing.”


The Elements of Journalism, Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel 

The goal

The goal of the citizen commission media stakeholder focus  is to explore the challenges of and provide a journalistic framework that can enhance the performance of the media. The approach addresses the many challenges facing the media in the digital era. The    “symptom” of the   COVID-19 Pandemic is explored as a vehicle to address the political challenges inherent  in society  and to provide a case study to help understand the complexity of challenges facing our ”body politic” and the potential for the media to contribute to the role for  political discourse and  “public opinion” in the public sphere.

The Challenge:

"Why didn’t we see this coming sooner? And once we did, why didn’t we sound the alarm with more vigor?" 

In the political ecosystem, the media plays a central role in providing a framework and process for citizens to be part of the deliberations addressing challenges to the body politic. How do we establish and maintain a vibrant media that facilitates meaningful deliberation and dialogue in the public sphere. With the citizen commission we examine the current state of the media and  offer a comprehensive framework to an emerging  journalistic approach to address the complex challenges associated with the COVID 19 pandemic and other social political challenges. 

Questions posed for the citizen commission media focus 


  • How to understand the COVID 19 media ecosystem and the role of journalism in 2022? 

  • How has and is  the media covering  the COVID-19 pandemic and what does it reveal about the current state of the media?

  • What does the media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic teach us about  the challenges and opportunities for the media ecosystem? 

  • What will a media ecosystem that serves informed citizens and facilitate public opinion and dialogue in a republican representative democracy look like  in the twenty-first century ? 

  • What should be the role of the media in facilitating public opinion and dialogue in the public sphere?

  • How should the Media respond to fake information and misinformation?



Nearly a year into the COVID-19 Pandemic, as we head into the next phase, with new challenges facing the global community, and the impact of the measures to contain it is becoming more clear,  it’s worth looking back to assess how the media performed, how it could have done better as the virus broke out of China and headed to the US, how could it have helped frame public opinion, how can it provide reliable up to date information, how to report on the political and related policy response locally, nationally and globally. By examining critically these areas with a complexity lens we develop a new framework for the media, journalism, and public opinion for the current moment, and for addressing challenging complex problems in society. The media stakeholder focus  of the citizen commission will endeavor to provide a framework for more meaningful citizen engagement with societal challenges that allow for a contextualized media framework to include investigative reporting, data journalism, accountability journalism, social media.

Points to Consider 

  • The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-Cov-2 has dramatically reshaped social relations and the political landscape  in many ways

  • The pandemic has captured  and continues to hold the attention of citizens through out the world.

  • The flow of information around the globe has been remarkable altered by digital technology and social media

  • The media plays an important role in maintaining and enhancing our democracy, yet more and more Americans distrust the fragmented media.  (Print, Radio, TV, internet, social media, podcasts) 

  • As the shapers of public opinion, the media plays a crucial role within the  COVID-19 Pandemic ecosystem.

  • The Media’s coverage of the  COVID-19 Pandemic illustrates the challenges and opportunities for the media in reporting and covering complex social issues. 

  • Because of its complexity and multifactorial elements , the COVID 19 Pandemic presents an opportunity to test a way to be more relevant to major social challenges and test a journalistic approach that addresses some of the challenges confronting all of the media. 

  • Fake news and misinformation are prevalent and consume much of the reporting about the COVID- 19 pandemic. 

Description of Stakeholder:

Media outlets coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic illustrate the challenges and opportunities for the media in reporting and covering  complex and complicated biological,  social, economic, political  issues. As the shapers of public opinion, the media plays a crucial role within the COVID-19 Pandemic. The  citizen commission will examine When complete this section will include the latest articles, social media, lectures and related information relevant to the COVID-19 Pandemic Case. Their role however is diminished by the changing nature of the business models reshaping the media landscape. This is particularly unfortunate given the impact the COVID-19 pandemic  is having  on so many levels of American society. 

The Role of the Media in Addressing Social and Political Challenges 


The media provides comprehensive news and information associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic as well as a place to share ideas that inform and influence citizens in their  political roles.


  • What is the role of the media to inform and educate citizens to take a meaningful role in the political process?

  • What news organizations are meeting their responsibility to provide a meaningful framework including relevant facts to enable public deliberation?

  • Will the involvement of the ownership of the various media outlets, or not for profit  lead to “experimentation” with innovative formats to enable “healthier” citizen deliberations?


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News Outlets 

Social Media 

  • Twitter

  • YouTube

  • Facebook

  • Instagram

  • Reddit 


  • Public Health

  • Academy 

  • Economics

  • Medical

  • Political

  • Media

  • Other 

Foreign Affairs July/August 2020 Issue Launch: Democracy, Autocracy, and the Pandemic

Streamed live on June 29th, 2020

Foreign Affairs with Executive Editor Daniel Kurtz-Phelan and contributors Danielle Allen and Francis Fukuyama discuss the challenge of the media (Start 23').

The Future of Democracy

How Can the Press Best Serve a Democratic Society?

In the nineteen-forties, a panel of scholars struggled over truth in reporting, the marketplace of ideas, and the maintenance of a free and responsible press. Their deliberations are more relevant than ever.

By Michael Luo The NewYorker July 11, 2020

Americans are losing faith in an objective media. A new Gallup/Knight study explores why. August 4th, 2020

Illiberal Media:  Democracy in Danger Podcast.  Nicole Hemmer 

Overview of the Media Stakeholder. Click here to go to Coggle website

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