The Sun, Baltimore
In my mind, civic journalism and public service journalism ought to be synonymous.
To me, that means a news organization takes its big spotlight and shines it on a very important public issue that requires attention. And by shining a spotlight on that issue, it compels public officials to do the right thing.
An example is what The Sun did after we discovered that two-thirds of our region's third graders were not reading at grade level. We dissected that issue. We interviewed students, parents, teachers and college professors who taught prospective teachers how to teach reading. The Baltimore Sun, as a company, started giving employees - from the publisher, Mike Waller, to the advertising department - an hour a week, on company time, to tutor children in reading.
We put our spotlight on the issue and made public officials realize that something had to be done. Now the state Board of Education has quadrupled the number of reading courses teacher candidates have to take; it is committed to putting a lot more teachers in classrooms to reduce class size.
And that is what good journalism can do: By shining the spotlight, it prods, nudges and cajoles public officials to act.