Champion of Free Speech and Journalism Margaret Talev Leads Institute for Democracy, Journalism and Citizenship (Podcast)

Margaret Talev can vividly recall the specific moment she knew journalism had failed to properly inform and educate a large portion of the American voting electorate.

It was Jan. 6, 2021. More than 1,000 citizens were protesting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Talev was working as managing editor at Axios, overseeing the outlet’s political coverage. During the events, one of her reporters became trapped in the chambers of the House of Representatives, while another was trapped in the Senate’s chambers.

Margaret Talev

A decorated and accomplished national political journalist, Talev prided herself on helping people understand the news, both in the short-term and big picture. Talev covered American politics and the White House for 30 years, including working the campaign trail for presidential elections in 2008, 2012 and 2016 as a White House correspondent for Bloomberg News and McClatchy Newspapers.

Talev watched the events unfold and was left wondering how thousands of her fellow citizens could stage a protest based on misinformation.

Unsure of her future in journalism, Talev wanted to focus her career efforts on the relationship between the news that was being produced and consumed by voters and how that was impacting their views on democracy and governance.

She was immediately interested in serving as the Kramer Director of the Institute for Democracy, Journalism and Citizenship (IDJC), a joint effort of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Based in Washington, the institute promotes nonpartisan, evidence-based research and dialogue in the public interest, striving to create new knowledge, foster a more informed and engaged citizenry and better equip students for success.