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'Citizen Kentucky' Project
to Hold Community Forum

By Brad Duncan

 

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"The Citizen Kentucky Project is about changing the relationships between the university, the press, citizens and civic life. As a professor, I am trying to engage citizens through the power of the press. All the while, I am working closely with my students to help them learn more about the relationship between journalism and democracy."

-- Buck Ryan,
creator of the Citizen Kentucky Project

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Oct. 8, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- A community forum will be held as part of the Citizen Kentucky Project from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at Kentucky Educational Television's Visitors Center, 600 Cooper Drive. The forum will address concerns and thoughts from Lexington's citizens on how Lexington can become America's most livable city by 2020.

The Citizen Kentucky Project, created by Buck Ryan, executive director of the University of Kentucky's First Amendment Center and former director of UK's School of Journalism and Telecommunications, began with an April 2001 community forum at UK's William T. Young Library focusing on civic life in Kentucky, which was produced into a national award-winning KET program, "Citizen Kentucky: Democracy and the Media."

"The Citizen Kentucky Project is about changing the relationships between the university, the press, citizens and civic life," Ryan said. "As a professor, I am trying to engage citizens through the power of the press. All the while, I am working closely with my students to help them learn more about the relationship between journalism and democracy."

As part of the project, Lexington mayoral candidates Teresa Isaac and Scott Crosbie wrote their vision of how Lexington will be in 2020, which was published in the Lexington Herald-Leader. In addition, Ryan, himself, has provided commentaries for the Herald-Leader for the project.

"Two of those citizens (involved in Citizen Kentucky) are the candidates for mayor," Ryan said, "and I am working as a liaison between them and the press, as
their ideas get expressed in print through the Citizen Kentucky project. This is a win-win-win-win situation, for the university, for the students, for the candidates and for journalism."

The forum is being held as part of Ryan's Freshman Discovery Seminar course at UK, "Citizen Kentucky: Journalism and Democracy." FDS courses, open only to first-term students, provides intimate experiences inside and outside of class with some UK's most famous professors, while also providing detailed exploration of a problem at the core of one of 12 fields of knowledge. The forum is open to the public and media, with everyone encouraged to attend.

"The First Amendment deals with the power of assembly," Ryan said, "and that's the magic that can happen when citizens can come together to talk about their community's future. We're just trying to do some good for Lexington."


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