Simultaneous virtual events invite Hoosiers to discuss why local reporting matters

“Chew on This: Why Does Local Reporting Matter?” will feature simultaneous conversations on Sept. 22

INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 10, 2019)—At a time when local journalism is under threat, Indiana Humanities, in partnership with the Hoosier State Press Association, invites Hoosiers across the state to participate in a virtual dinner party about why local reporting matters.

Designed to be in-depth and fun, the simultaneous statewide conversations called “Chew on This: Why Does Local Reporting Matter?” will take place Sept. 22 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Each discussion will be led by a pair of Indiana journalists or media executives.

Among the topics of conversation will be the historical role of local journalists – watchdogs that hold elected leaders accountable – as well as feature writers and sports reporters who forge a sense of community by informing residents about happenings around town and the ups-and-downs of hometown teams. 

The conversations will be especially timely in our time when the business model of ad-supported print media has collapsed. News is consolidating, journalists are being laid off, and reporters are expected to do more with less. While no one knows a community like its local reporters, there are fewer of them every day.

In this context, it is imperative that each citizens ask himself or herself questions about what a community should expect from local reporting: How do you get your news? How often do you seek out—and pay for—local reporting? What kinds of stories are or aren’t told when we lose local journalists? What’s the connection between thriving local media and a healthy community? 

“Indiana has a rich tradition of effective local journalism, from small towns with feisty weeklies and honored radio reporters to bigger cities with nationally respected dailies and TV news,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “We hope these conversations get Hoosiers talking about what’s at stake with local media, and how we can preserve it—and in what form—for the sake of our communities.” 

Tickets are $10 per person. Attendees are encouraged to support local restaurants to purchase their dinner on their own. Space is limited and registration is required at

Participating facilitators are:

Kaitlin Lange, The Indianapolis Star, and Ryan Martin, The Indianapolis Star

Adam Wren, Importantville/Politico/Indianapolis Monthly, and Ebony Chappel, Open Lines and What’s Good with Ebony Chappel (Indianapolis)

Terry Anker, Current in Carmel, and Nate Feltman, Indianapolis Business Journal

Don Hurd, Hoosier Media Group, and Ray Cooney, The Commercial Review (Portland)

Richarh Tyson, Channel 27 (Marion), and Jeff Kovaleski, Kokomo Tribune

Scott Agness, Fieldhouse Files (Indianapolis), and James Boyd, The Times of Northwest Indiana

Michael Puente, WBEZ Chicago/Northwest Indiana and Indiana Pro SPJ President, and Michael Wanbaugh, South Bend Tribune

Scott Underwood, The Herald Bulletin (Anderson), and Katrice Hardy, The Indianapolis Star

Kathy Tretter, The Ferdinand News and Spencer County Leader, and Max Jones, Tribune-Star (Terre Haute)

Steve Key, executive director and general counsel for the Hoosier State Press Association, said “Journalists have served as the eyes, ears and voice for communities in America since before there was a United States. Their importance in a democracy is why the states demanded a Bill of Rights containing the freedom of speech and press as part of the First Amendment be included before our Constitution was ratified. But the media should never hold themselves above the public, but be willing to explain how decisions are made concerning stories written or produced. A journalist’s credibility is his or her currency – without credibility, a journalist cannot operate. These virtual discussions should be fascinating conversations.” 

This program is part of the “Democracy and the Informed Citizen” initiative, made possible thanks to the generosity of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and in partnership with the Pulitzer Prizes.

About Chew on This

Chew on This is a program designed by Indiana Humanities to use the power of food and drink as a convener of people and catalyst for conversation to inspire thoughtful discussion on engaging topics.

About Indiana Humanities

Indiana Humanities connects people, opens minds and enriches lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk.

About the Hoosier State Press Association

The Hoosier State Press Association, founded in 1933, is a trade association representing 167 daily and weekly paid-circulation newspapers in Indiana. HSPA provides legal information, training and other services to its members.

Contact information: 

Kristen Fuhs Wells, Vice President, Indiana Humanities 


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