Civics-Based News and Information: Urgency and Opportunity


Tuesday, October 15, 2013, 7 pm
Robertson Bowl 001, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

Melissa Lane, Professor of Politics, Princeton University
Stanley Katz, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University
Rosemary Parrillo, Assistant Managing Editor, The Star-Ledger
Sanford Ungar, President, Goucher College

7:05 - Welcome

  • Susan Haig, Founder & Creative Director, NJ Arts News

7:15 - Is Civics making a comeback?        

  • How do we distinguish between concepts of “civics,” “civic,” and “civil?”      
  • Is “ good citizenship” a useful concept?

7:30 - Full Disclosure: What's your mission?

  • What are your aims and goals - as a citizen, author, journalist, teacher, leader? Does public and/or higher education have a "civic" mission?
  • Does news?

7:45 - Sample Civics: Environment and News  

  • Are “We the People” on a sustainable course?  How do we assess environmental literacy? What would constitute excellent news coverage of conservation and sustainability issues in NJ, and who's responsible for it? 

8:00 - Refreshments
8:10 - No Humanities, No Democracy?

  • Embracing complex narratives; escaping the tyranny of the “news peg.”  What domains of information might populate a “civic space” for news, oriented toward common interests of society as a whole? Who is responsible for fostering best practices of self-governance? 

8:25    Audience Response

8:45    Wrap-up

Forum on Civics-Based News and Information: Urgency and Opportunity


Sanford J. Ungar joined Goucher College as its tenth president in July 2001. A respected international journalist and educator, he previously served as the director of Voice of America and as dean of the School of Communication at American University. His extensive experience at news organizations worldwide includes editorial positions at Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic, and host of National Public Radio's All Things Considered.  Mr. Ungar obtained his B.A. in Government magna cum laude from Harvard College and a Master's degree in International History from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he was a Rotary Foundation fellow.

Rosemary Parrillo is Deputy Managing Editor of The Star-Ledger and Editor in Chief of Inside Jersey, the paper's statewide magazine. She is the author of "Welcome to Exit 4," a collection of newspaper columns, the plays "Shelter" and "Lou's 24/7" and the screenplay "Bella Vista." A resident of Westfield, she also was the editor of "An Accidental Artist," a finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing.  She received her BA in English from Rowan University and is also involved in screenwriting. 

Melissa Lane is a professor of politics at Princeton University, and an affiliated faculty member with the departments of Philosophy and Classics.  She is Director of the Program in Values and Public Life at Princeton’s University Center for Human Values, and co-director of the research community on Communicating Uncertainty: Science, Institutions, and Ethics in the Politics of Global Climate Change, sponsored by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS).  She is author of Eco-Republic and Plato's Progeny: How Plato and Socrates Still Captivate the Modern Mind. 

Stanley Katz is President Emeritus of the American Council of Learned Societies, the leading organization in humanistic scholarship and education in the United States. Mr. Katz graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1955 with a major in English History and Literature. He received his M.A. from Harvard in American History in 1959 and his Ph.D. in the same field from Harvard in 1961. He attended Harvard Law School in 1969-70. His recent research focuses upon the relationship of civil society and constitutionalism to democracy.

Presenting and Co-Sponsoring Organizations

NJ Arts News ( produces lively human-interest video segments that connect viewers to humanities, arts, and creative activity in New Jersey and beyond.

The Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies (CACPS) was founded in 1994 to improve the clarity, accuracy and sophistication of discourse about the nation's artistic and cultural life.

The Pace Center for Civic Engagement supports efforts by Princeton undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, and alumni to identify and address issues of public concern, to be actively engaged citizens, and to practice effective public leadership for the purpose of building stronger communities and societies throughout the world.