Friday, August 1, 2008

Knight Foundation's big impace on local democracy

Steven Clift, writing on the MediaShift Idea Lab, shares a summary of "e-state-like" activity undertaken by the Knight Foundation and then offers some advice:

The Knight Foundation is beginning to make some waves in local democracy circles. And I am not just saying that because they fund this blog.

Earlier this year they hosted a conference with community foundations on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy, then they announced the Knight Center of Digital Excellence focused on universal access to the "digital town square," and most recently announced a commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy and $24 million in matching funds for community foundations (see my collection of online civic engagement resources for community foundations referenced in a Council on Foundation's e-newsletter).

These investments represent the largest basket of resources I've seen to date on e-democracy/citizen media in the United States focused at the local level. What comes of this matters.

Click here for the advice...

1 comment:

Karyn Vogel said...

Michael, thank you for sharing this incredible resource. I haven't read through everything in all of these links yet, but in reading Steve's advice, this bit stood out for me:

I've come to the conclusion that connecting local people to other local people through online public spaces is the most transformational and powerful thing you can do to build communities with stronger local democracies... While news and information gets old quickly, the connections among people can be sustained and grown over time.

So commentary, opinions, discussion and action are far more interesting than simple reports of news and events. And more important to a healthy democracy.