“Journalism,” Citizen co-founder Larry Platt told a room full of concerned Philadelphians at the Athenaeum this week, “is the one industry in America singled out in our founding document as vital for the future of the Republic.”
Which is why, Platt continued, he found himself so dismayed by the state of journalism over the last several years—including those he spent at the helm of two Philadelphia institutions, Philadelphia magazine and The Daily News. It’s also why Platt co-founded The Philadelphia Citizen in 2015, as an antidote to the dwindling impact and relevance of local journalism in America. To Platt, journalism and democracy are inextricably linked—and they both fail when readers, viewers, scrollers are rendered apathetic and helpless.
“Imagine, instead, a journalism with a fiduciary-type responsibility only to the citizen,” Platt said. “A journalism that elevates the public discussion instead of playing the clickbait game. A journalism that, with each story, contains a ‘Do Something’ option; click on it to find ways you can make your city better: Sign a petition, attend a community meeting, sweep a street. Be a citizen. A journalism that still serves the vital role of watchdog, yes, but that also is a force for civic good.”
Want to hear more about the impetus behind, and raison d’etre for, The Citizen?
Listen to Platt’s speech here: