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Civic Innovation Needed for a Healthy Community

The Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation released a white paper calling on America’s local leaders to adopt civic innovation strategies to spur the development of news and information environments that address real community needs. Assessing Community Information Needs: A Practical Guide, is a guide for elected officials, civic leaders and motivated citizens to understand how to integrate useful practices for assessing and building informed, engaged communities with the civic capacity necessary to deal with today’s challenges.

In Assessing Community Information Needs: A Practical Guide, author Richard C. Harwood observes that communities, states and the nation need new approaches that allow community members to engage more fully with each other as well as the schools, businesses and other organizations that contribute to the health and stability of a community. High-speed broadband, news websites, social media and local online hubs are important for expanding opportunities to participate in public life. But, in order for these technologies to be truly transformative, communities need to create a receptive environment.

“Free flowing news and information is essential to the healthy functioning of communities. However, you can’t fix or improve anything unless you know what’s falling short, or how or why life can be better. Assessing Community Information Needs: A Practical Guide is a fine addition to a growing set of resources, including the Knight Foundation’s Community Information Toolkit, that enable communities to determine whether their local news and information ecologies are healthy and understand why that matters to the community,” said Mayur Patel, Vice President of Strategy and Assessment of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

SOURCE: The Aspen Institute

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