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Kickstarting a fight against Washington State's "information ghettos" where "vast areas of the state are starved" of relevant local news. "The stakes the heart of the democratic process."

The Murrow Rural Information Initiative: Access, Digital Citizenship, and the Obligations of the Washington State Information Sector

The accelerating speed of technological developments requires a concerted effort to educate the public, policymakers and journalists about the promise held by the state’s expanding broadband infrastructure.

From rural towns to the state Capitol, public officials must understand the role of technology in facilitating an informed citizenry, driving economic development and shaping public education systems. If public officials, news media and communities do not take it upon themselves to learn about and grow with technology, then they effectively perpetuate the digital divide through inaction. As a result, the state may experience a greater separation between its most digitally informed citizens and cities, and those trailing in the wake of technological advances.

Further, emerging technology has the capacity to provide information, but news media are needed to curate that information, provide context and produce comprehensible content for rural communities. Indeed, more and more citizens are accessing state news online even as newsrooms at legacy media have shrunk.

In rural Washington, local news remains the backbone of community journalism. As broadband access and adoption continues to spread, rural journalists can make themselves even more indispensable to their communities. Rural journalists should routinely share best practices with each other and seek ways to receive new digital training in partnership with other professional media and the state’s journalism educators. They form the core of informed, literate rural communities in Washington.” Source: Murrow Rural Information Initiative

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