Folk River


The Vital Current of Folk Music in Democracy

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type



Faculty of Arts and Sciences




America’s technology-infused society is cluttered with torrents of information and often scarcity of facts. Many people never bother to check where information is coming from, whether the sources have been documented and if the presentation is fair, balanced and worthy of our democratic nation. Hundreds of experienced journalists have left or been forced out of newsrooms due to financial pressures in the industry and monumental changes in technology. These experienced journalists have been dedicated to serving as the eyes and ears of citizens who do not have time to attend hours of meetings, question those in authority, analyze details from multiple sources and request documents through the freedom of information process. Journalism is the ‘fourth estate,’ charged with maintaining a watchdog presence over the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. As newspapers, radio and television lean toward entertainment and sports programming, a vital stream of diverse voices comes through folk music. Long a channel for commentary on war, peace, work and social issues, folk music is a valuable, and increasingly critical, element for preserving a healthy democracy.