Eighth Graders Interview Times Editor Jonathan Ellis on Journalism’s Role in Democracy

As part of their exploration of journalism, eighth graders in Cambridge Lynch’s social studies class had the opportunity to interview Jonathan Ellis, Deputy Sports Editor at the New York Times and the paper’s former Senior Politics Editor. Students collaboratively prepared a list of questions for Mr. Ellis on topics ranging from the process of editing a story, to the culture at the Times, to making sense of the Capitol riots and how to rebuild the public’s trust in media and journalism. 

“That world of bad information that exists online has suddenly come into reality, and it resulted in … real violence,” said Mr. Ellis of the Capitol riots. “That shows ... how important it is in a democracy that we know the truth and … don’t go down this path of disinformation.” 

Ellis emphasized the roles that both journalists and their readers play in protecting democracy.  “We live in this great democracy, but it really is up to all of us to participate in it,” he said. “One of the ways you can participate is by sticking to the facts and becoming an informed citizen. Certainly, it is a privilege to be able to help people do that by working in the field of journalism.” 

In the days following Mr. Ellis’s visit, students wrote notes to convey their appreciation for the chance to hear from a professional journalist. 

“It was amazing to hear from someone who has been so involved in the past few weeks, regarding the major political events that have occurred,” said eighth grader Lucy R. “You inspired me to look more closely at the way different articles are written!”