What Makes a Fact True: Local Journalism and American Democracy
Democracy and The Informed Citizen
Local columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning Richmond Times-Dispatch journalist Michael Paul Williams
will join Pulitzer-nominated journalist Chip Jones (Author of 2022 VCU Common Book--The Organ Thieves:
The Shocking Story of the First Heart Transplant in the Segregated South, Winner, 2021 Library of Virginia
Literary Award for Nonfiction) and local scholar Mallory Perryman, Ph.D., (Assistant Professor, Journalism,
Richard T. Robinson School of Media and Culture, Virginia Commonwealth University) to discuss the
importance of an informed citizenry in a healthy democracy.
The program will address what it means to be informed and will cover truth and falsehoods in media -
and how to tell the difference. Our speakers will highlight the importance of local journalism as a critical and
trusted voice in a healthy democracy and in turn how that voice supports an informed and engaged citizenry.
Scholar and moderator Dr. Perryman will keep a lively pace and support the conversation between Mr.
Williams and Mr. Jones as they discuss how one becomes media literate amid a barrage of truth, falsehoods,
and the degrees between, in local and national news, and why it makes a difference.
This timely subject matter may include conversation around how the concentration of media ownership
impacts local media and the news we consume daily. Other topics may include how news organizations drive
engagement through the manipulation of emotions, and how moneyed interests and a “click-bait” mentality
can impact our news consumption.
This free event will be held in person and live-streamed on the Richmond Public Library's YouTube channel.
This program was developed by Meldon D. Jenkins-Jones, Senior Librarian, Law Librarian, Richmond Public Library, with funding support from the Virginia Center for the Book, a program of Virginia Humanities, as a part of its Democracy and the Informed Citizen initiative. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation provided generous support for this initiative, in partnership with the Pulitzer Prizes.
Meldon Jenkins-Jones is the Richmond Public Library / Community Services Manager at Hull Street Branch Library.
Meldon also chairs the Get Lit Advisory Committee which supports the Richmond Public Library Get Lit Reading Initiatives including the Black Male Emergent Readers (BMER) program and the Lit Chicks Read book clubs.
Meldon is a graduate of the Leadership Metro Richmond Class of 2022. She was the first recipient of the Virginia Library Association (VLA) Librarians of Color Forum Award in 2021 and is an active member of VLA. She presented “Libraries Bringing Community Together” at the 2023 VLA Annual Conference.
In 2011, Meldon received her Master of Library and Information Studies from Florida State University. She received her Juris Doctor degree from Rutgers University School of Law—Newark and practiced law in New Jersey until her retirement in 2003. Meldon received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she studied African American Studies and Russian Civilization.
A Metro Richmond resident, Meldon is the mother of two adult children and enjoys spending time with her grandchildren.