What are journalists’ perceptions of the citizen’s role in democratic life? What is the role that journalists attribute to the public in the construction of the news agenda? The main goal of this study is to investigate the relationship between the local press, citizens and civic practices. It takes as starting point a dual theoretical approach, the theory of deliberative democracy and the public journalism movement, to assess the scope of the concept of “deliberative journalism.” Under the aegis of the project “Citizens’ Agenda: journalism and political participation in the Portuguese media”, questionnaires were delivered to 45 journalists from the main regional newspapers in Portugal. Focusing on the importance of the citizen’s agenda for the journalists’ decision making process, the results show that although the journalists appreciate the principles underlying the public and deliberative journalism movements (which suggests that a deliberative consciousness is emerging), they also express the permanency of a conventional journalism approach.
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