Renewing Trust in Democracy: The Role of the News Media

Renewing Trust in Democracy:

The Role of the News Media

A William W. Treat Lecture

February 10, 2022

6:30 -8:00 pm ET

Online event



Cecilia KangThe New York Times 

Joe McQuaid, New Hampshire Union Leader

Melanie PlendaGranite State News Collaborative  

Moderated by Anna BrownCitizens Count 

What is the role of the news media in a democracy? In light of new technologies, how can it continue to evolve to serve its essential function of informing “we the people”, thereby restoring trust among voters? Is the traditional news media something we need to preserve, or do we need a completely new model? What role does media literacy and civics education have to play? Join Cecilia Kang of The New York Times, Joe McQuaid of New Hampshire Union Leader, and Melanie Plenda of Granite State News Collaborative in this nonpartisan conversation.   


Presenter Biographies:

Cecilia Kang 

Cecilia Kang

Cecilia Kang covers technology and regulation and joined The New York Times in 2015. She is the co-author, along with Sheera Frenkel of The Times, of “An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook's Battle for Domination.” 

Previously she was the senior technology correspondent for The Washington Post and was a staff writer at The San Jose Mercury News and Dow Jones. She is a 2018 recipient of the George Polk and Gerald Loeb Awards along with her Times colleagues for coverage of Facebook.

Joe McQuaid

Joe McQuaid Headshot

Currently editor at large for the Union Leader, McQuaid is former publisher, editor-in-chief, and reporter for New Hampshire’s statewide daily and Sunday newspaper. A published author, he is President of the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications in Manchester. 


Melanie Plenda

Melanie Plenda Headshot

Melanie Plenda is the director of The Granite State News Collaborative, a collective of more than 20 local media, educational and community organizations across the state of New Hampshire. Melanie has more than 20 years of journalism experience. Her work has been published by the Associated Press, The Atlantic, The New Republic and numerous local and regional publications.


Anna Brown, Moderator

Anna Brown Headshot

Anna is the Director of Research and Analysis for Citizens Count, a nonprofit dedicated to providing unbiased information about New Hampshire policy issues and candidates.  She has been with the organization since 2011.  Anna is a regular contributor to NHPR, Good Morning NH, and other Granite State media outlets. She received her master’s degree in justice studies from the University of New Hampshire.


 Loeb School and Rudman Center Logos

This William W. Treat Lecture is presented in partnership with the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications and The Warren B. Rudman Center at the UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law.

Additional partnership provided by Citizens Count, the NH Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, and the NH Supreme Court Society

NH Humanities Logo

The William W. Treat Lecture Series is made possible with support from New Hampshire Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities. Learn more at

Contact: Amanda Pawlik -

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Renewing Trust in Democracy: The Role of the News Media

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A large portion of my day is spent on video calls helping parents to teach their kids the right material. Because of all that I’m constantly looking for great online resources to share with the parents of the kids I work with and I came across your NH Civics page while looking up social studies resources. It’s been a great help and had a lot of great sites I could send the kids and their parents to for some extra material to work with. Just thought I should reach out and thank you for putting it all together!
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