Media Impact on Information Needs and Democratic Values to be Examined by Knight Commission

July 23, 2008  • Institute Contributor

Media Impact on Information Needs and Democratic Values to be Examined by Knight Commission and Aspen Institute

Trends, Access, Quality, and Presidential Candidate Policies to be Studied in Aspen, CO August 9-12


July 23, 2008
Contact: Sarah Snodgress
Tel. 202.736.5818 

The Annual Aspen Institute Forum on Communications and Society (FOCAS) ( will be held in conjunction with the second meeting of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy (  The Commission’s mandate is to determine community information needs, trends that affect how community information needs are met, and how public policy and private initiatives can better meet these needs.

Saturday, August 9th – The Knight Commission will convene to examine the current and future state of journalism including the growth of citizen journalism.  Click here to view the full agenda.

Sunday, August 10th – Tuesday August 12th – The Knight Commissioners and 40 other invited members to FOCAS will discuss how the media facilitates citizen engagement, the information rights and responsibilities of citizens, and the role of media in the electoral process.  Participants will develop recommendations for citizens, media, and public institutions to serve the goals of American democracy better.  Click here to view the full agenda.

WHO:  Participants include:

  • Jonathan Adelstein, FCC Commissioner
  • Madeleine Albright, Principal, The Albright Group
  • John Carroll, Former Editor Los Angeles Times
  • Reed Hundt, Former FCC Chairman
  • Alberto Ibargüen, President, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
  • Henry Jenkins, Director, Comparative Media Studies and Professor, MIT
  • Paula Kerger, President, Public Broadcasting Service
  • Michael Lomax, CEO, United Negro College Fund
  • Marissa Mayer, Vice President, Google
  • Craig Newmark, Founder, Craigslist
  • Theodore B. Olson, Former Solicitor General of the United States
  • Philip Rosedale, Founder, Second Life
  • William Dean Singleton, Vice Chairman & CEO, MediaNews Group

WHEN: Saturday, August 9 – Tuesday, August 12, 2008

WHERE: Aspen, CO – Doerr-Hosier Center at the Aspen Institute Aspen Meadows Campus
1000 North Third Street, Aspen, Colorado  81611

WEBCAST: The Knight Commission will be webcast live and available for future viewing at and FOCAS will be webcast live on

Sarah Snodgress
Tel. 202.736.5818 

The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy is a 15-member commission assembled to recommend both public and private measures that would help American communities better meet their information needs. The Commission’s research-based approach will examine the following three questions: What are the information needs of communities in our American democracy? What are the current trends affecting how community information needs are met? And what changes will ensure that community information needs will be better met in the future?

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on ideas and projects that create transformational change. Nearly 20 years ago, the Knight Foundation created the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. That first Knight Commission has helped restore intercollegiate athletics to the control of university presidents.

The Aspen Institute, founded in 1950, is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue. Its seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives seek to promote nonpartisan inquiry and timeless values. The Institute is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with campuses in Aspen, Colo., and on the Wye River near the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Its international network includes partner Aspen Institutes in Berlin, Rome, Lyon, Tokyo, New Delhi, and Bucharest, and leadership initiatives in Africa, Central America, and India.  The Communications and Society Program is one of 21 policy programs at the Aspen Institute.  It addresses the societal and democratic impact of the communications and information sectors.


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