Media thinkers: Sound off on community news needs

Fixing the media crisis is on a lot of people’s minds these days. Editors and common folk alike are grappling for not only answers but the right questions to ask on the long-term effects of dwindling news outreach on effective government that demands a well-informed citizenry.

The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy and PBS Engage have teamed up on an online survey to gauge citizen reactions with more than 1,000 comments already logged on the Web site. But, hurry, the survey closes Friday.

In today’s media environment — with so many newspapers cutting back on editorial staff, and online media becoming more ever-present each day — do you have the information you need to accomplish your personal goals and to be an effective citizen?

Question 1: Where do you find your information? Newspapers? Online? Television? Radio?

Question 2: In your local community, what kinds of information do you need to inform the decisions you make and improve your understanding of the community in which you live?

Question 3: How can local governments improve public access to the information communities need?

Question 4: Do you think everyone in your community has access to the networks they need (online or in-person) to find important information?

Question 5: How would you improve the quality of information available to the general public?

The Knight Commission is a joint project of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. A draft of the report on public policy reforms to improve community information sharing is now available and will be updated with survey responses later this year.