Panel will discuss the state of local journalism

BRATTLEBORO — The public is invited to learn about the choices, challenges, and responsibilities that local journalists face at “That's News to Me: Covering Brattleboro Today,” a panel and audience discussion with local journalists who will share their experience, the values that drive them, and how they view their role in the community.

The free event takes place on Friday, Aug. 6, starting at 5:30 p.m., at 118 Elliot on 118 Elliot St. A reception follows from approximately 7 to 8 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m.

Unvaccinated individuals must wear masks to enter. The audience will be capped at 50 in this well-ventilated space, with first-come seating.

Chris Lenois, former host of Green Mountain Mornings at WKVT-FM and chair of Brattleboro Community Television's board of directors, will moderate.

The panel that includes Melanie Winters, news editor, Brattleboro Reformer; Gena Mangiaratti, southern Vermont arts editor, Vermont News and Media; Jeff Potter, editor-in-chief, and Randolph T. Holhut, news editor, from The Commons, and Miles Anton, a recent Brattleboro Union High School graduate who has written for Vermont Public Radio,, and the Reformer, among others.

Each panelist will give a brief presentation, then respond to one another before opening up the last half of the event to open discussion with the audience.

Local journalism has faced many challenges over the past two decades. Many communities throughout the United States have endured a drastic decline in local news coverage.

Printed newspapers, once dedicated to conveying their communities' civic and cultural proceedings, have been either absorbed by larger news organizations or dissolved as unsustainable business models.

And distrust of media sources has widened amid an onslaught of unidentified, unqualified, or malevolent voices, threatening our very democracy.

Panelists will reflect on the media as the “fourth estate,” or “watchdog” of the three co-equal branches of democratic government - executive, legislative, and judicial.

“The digital revolution has been shifting how news is delivered, how it is received and how people react to it, but what constitutes good reporting has not been changed by technology,” says Lenois. “It will be interesting to hear how these local media outlets have adapted to innovations while maintaining their journalistic standards and how they continue to be an essential component in our community's ability to engage and evolve. We encourage all local journalists, bloggers and social commentators to participate in this timely discussion.”

The discussion coincides with a Gallery Walk opening of the multimedia exhibit “One Town, Many Voices: News and Book Publishing in Brattleboro Over Time,” also at 118 Elliot.

The exhibit was inspired by the new book Print Town: Brattleboro's Legacy of Words, documenting Brattleboro's long history and ongoing legacy of printing and publishing, and audio stories created by community members for the newly launched Brattleboro Words Trail.

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