Well-informed citizens play a central role in a healthy democracy. When individuals are armed with reliable information, they are able to vigorously debate important issues, evaluate the effectiveness of public and private institutions, demand accountability, expose injustice, and drive positive change. In today’s world, we have access to more information than ever before, and news organizations now face increased competition. Many have adapted to this changing landscaping by creating alternate business models that reduce the volume of thorough investigative reporting and in-depth, unbiased coverage of state and local government.
LJAF recognizes the need for more high-quality journalism and is funding several organizations that produce accurate, objective reports. We provide general operating support to ProPublica and The Texas Tribune, and we fund the Center for Public Integrity’s ongoing coverage of money in state politics.
In addition, we work with government and nonprofit organizations that are developing technology and resources to make government more open, efficient, and accountable. One such example is our funding for Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, which has created Digital Democracy, a web-based platform that allows citizens to virtually access any state legislative hearing in California. Individuals can enter a search term and find relevant video clips and contextual information about political issues and debates. They can view hearings, read transcripts, and see the political contributions made to the elected officials participating in the conversations.