Good News / Good Deeds

Community Problem-Solving in the Age of Electronic Democracy

Goal: To improve and strengthen community communications so that the Puget Sound area citizens can act more effectively to make their community a better place to live.

Objective 1: Initiate public discussions of the future of media communications so the media, independent sector, and the public can communicate most effectively with each other.

1.1 Research: Review exiting research on models for effective print media-community collaborations and conduct research on models for effective electronic media-community collaborations; use the most promising models to stimulate and/or enhance local media-community collaborations (i.e., "public" journalism, applied research partnerships among the media, independent sector and public).

1.2 Think tanks: Create topic-specific think tanks to explore ways in which media-comunity collaborations can better serve citizens' needs.

1.3 Public discussions: Hold community-wide public discussion(s) on these issues.

1.4 Publish: Produce and disseminate printed material to relate the ideas that evolve from these efforts.

Objective 2: Raise the profile of the independent sector as an important source of information, which is on par with business and government, in its impact on individuals and its influence on the quality of community life.

2.1 Focus groups: Conduct focus groups with members of the media to gauge their level of understanding about the independent sector and community problem-solving.

2.2 Promote training: Identify and promote ways in which the media can learn more about the independent sector.

2.3 Database: Work in partnership with the Seattle Public Library to create an electronic database of independent sector "news sources" that can be accessed by the media and the public. Work to promote database access.

Objective 3: Improve the independent sector's capacity to communicate with the media and its consituencies, especially as can be achieved through new technologies.

3.1 Focus groups: Conduct focus groups with members of the independent sector to identify barriers and opportunities fo increasing communications capacity.

3.2 Promote training: Identify and promote training to increase the independent sector's understanding of new technologies and public access.

Objective 4: Initiate media and independent sector planning to make better use of the community's communication infrastructure (i.e., "electronic democracy," and the interactive potential of such "new" media as computer networks, cable and telephone interconnects, faxes, etc.).


Electronic Democracy: the interactive potential of the "new" media includeing computer networks, cable and telephone interconnects, faxes, etc.

Independent Sector: charitable not-for-profit organizations and their philanthropic donor base.

Public journalism: journalism which contributes routinelyu to the strengthening of civic culture, through such techniques as convening, hosting, or facilitating a community's coming to grips with critical issues. (Davis Merritt, editor of the Wichita Eagle and Jay Rosen, associate professor of journalism at New York University, are leaders of this "movement")