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

August 14, 2012 in Community, Education, Policy, Resources

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

Center for News Literacy

July 27, 2012 in Education, Resources

Critical thinking. Citizenship. The importance of the press. These are some of the tenets of The Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism. Faculty members train the next generation of news consumers to think critically about what they read, watch, and hear.

The Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University is committed to teaching students how to use critical thinking skills to judge the reliability and credibility of news reports and news sources. It is the only such center in the United States.

Funded by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the center currently is committed to teaching News Literacy to 10,000 undergraduates—from across all academic disciplines.

The Center also is at work developing innovative curriculum materials for high schools and the general public.” Source: Center for News Literacy

The Media Policy Initiative

November 2, 2011 in Community, Experiments, Policy, Resources

The Media Policy Initiative, part of the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative, formulates policy and regulatory reforms to foster the development of a healthy media that satisfies the needs of democracy in the 21st century. MPI’s fellows and staff research, analyze, and promote policies that are committed to maximizing the public interest potential of innovative media, supported by partnerships with communities, researchers, industry, and public interest groups. By studying the social and economic ramifications of policymaking – particularly on poor, rural, and other underserved constituencies – MPI provides in-depth, objective research, analysis, and findings for policy decisionmakers and the general public.

MPI hired its first batch of fellows in Spring 2010, and its current work centers on the recently published Knight Commission Report Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age.

Building on the report’s findings, in 2010 the MPI staff and fellows focus on policies to invigorate public media, increase independent public interest reporting, and improve citizen access to and engagement with high-quality information. MPI utilizes a broad definition of a community’s information needs, which includes information provided to the public by media, community institutions, and government. By tracking and critiquing policy initiatives at the federal level, as well as innovative media efforts in communities across the country, the Initiative reports on both the successes and failures in this interdisciplinary realm, along with their implications for the Knight Commission’s recommendations.


  • Identify and recruit a cross-section of media thinkers and do-ers able to inform the policymaking processes ongoing at the FTC, FCC, and in Congress.
  • Conduct assessments of local media ecosystems as a means of informing the debates in DC with diverse, outside-the-Beltway perspectives.
  • Build research collaborations among academics, media producers, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders.
  • Study the social and economic impacts of the ongoing disruption in media models.
  • Support business, government and social entrepreneurs pursuing pilot projects and proof-of-concept prototypes with data and analysis.
  • Support the development the Fellows many of whom are new to their role as policy entrepreneurs.” Source: New America Foundation