Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age, the report of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy, is the result of a year-long study to assess the information needs of communities across the United States. The report sets a vision for healthy, informed democratic communities and offers 15 policy measures to help citizens meet their local information needs. This report has received considerable press coverage as well as attention at the Federal Communications Commission.
The FCC announced January 21, 2010:
“As the nation’s expert agency involved in media and communications policies, the FCC has begun an examination of the future of media and the information needs of communities in a digital age. The objective of this review is to assess whether all Americans have access to vibrant, diverse sources of news and information that will enable them to enrich their lives, their communities and our democracy. The Future of Media project will produce a report providing a clear, precise assessment of the current media landscape, analyze policy options and, as appropriate, make policy recommendations to the FCC, other government entities, and other parties.”
“The bipartisan Knight Commission on Information Needs of Communities recently declared: America is at a critical juncture in the history of communications. Information technology is changing our lives in ways that we cannot easily foresee.”
“The digital age is creating an information and communications renaissance. But it is not serving all Americans and their local communities equally. It is not yet serving democracy fully. How we react, individually and collectively, to this democratic shortfall will affect the quality of our lives and the very nature of our communities.”
More on the Knight Commission
The Knight Commission is the first major national commission to report on news and information in the digital era. It is comprised of 17 respected leaders from the fields of media, public policy and community organization, including co-chairs Theodore B. Olson and Marissa Mayer. Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation president and CEO, and Walter Isaacson, Aspen Institute president and CEO, served as ex-officio members. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation provided funding for the Commission and the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program gave the Commission its institutional home. Peter M. Shane, the Davis and Davis Chair in Law at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University, served as the Commission’s executive director.
The Commission formally presented this report to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski (above), federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra and Ernest J. Wilson III, chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, at an October 2nd event at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The event included three panels featuring commissioners, Assistant Secretary of Commerce Larry Strickling and other experts in dialogue on the three goals highlighted in the report: maximizing access to relevant information, strengthening the capacity of individuals to use it, and promoting public engagement with other citizens using that information.
The Commission seeks to foster a nationwide dialogue on the issues it raised. We invite you to join the national conversation. There are several ways to do so: the online report at www.knightcomm.org has dedicated “Discuss this Page” tabs for sharing ideas and feedback; join the robust exchange on Twitter using the #knightcomm hashtag; or discuss the report in other media, your own blog or social network. Additional information about the Knight Commission and a webcast of the October 2nd event are available on the Commission website at www.knightcomm.org. Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age is available in English and in Spanish on the website for viewing, downloading and commenting as well. It is also available on the Amazon Kindle for free.