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Final Installment of WSLR's News Education Series Set for Tuesday


SARASOTA — The final installment of 96.5 WSLR's Public Newsroom series will take place Tuesday at its Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center. Titled "Community News and Democracy," it will feature three regional news leaders: the Herald-Tribune, WUSF, and the Barancik Foundation.

A thriving democracy relies on an informed and engaged electorate. Local news, in particular, is essential to civic engagement, trust, voter participation, and community vitality. Now more than ever, it can be a critical tool to help combat misinformation and polarization. In this session, we will discuss the role that local news plays in supporting healthy local democratic practices.

Facilitator: Maria Vesperi, professor of anthropology, New College of Florida


Brian Ries is the engagement editor at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Mary Shedden is news director at WUSF Public Media, where she oversees a team of reporters, editors, and producers covering 13 counties on Florida’s west coast. A journalist for more than two decades, Mary arrived at WUSF in 2013, where she worked first as a reporter and then as editor of the Health News Florida journalism collaborative. She became news director in 2015.

Matthew Sauer is the Collaboration and Impact Officer for the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, working on issues such as the environment, workforce housing, the foundation’s community journalism initiative, health equity and recidivism. Prior to joining Barancik in May 2021, Sauer spent 35 years in journalism, lastly as executive editor and general manager of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and as Gannett Co.’s regional editor for Florida, overseeing newsrooms at the company’s 20 publications in the Sunshine State.

The program is free and open to the public, though you must register here. It is scheduled for 6 p.m. The Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center is located at 525 Kumquat Ct, Sarasota, FL 34236. Doors open at 5 p.m. 

Funding for this program was provided through a grant from Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this forum do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.


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