Civic Engagement and Community Information: Five Strategies to Revive Civic Communication

A White Paper on the Civic Engagement Recommendations of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy

Promoting greater civic engagement and investing in the capacity of citizens to engage with civic information and one another to solve public problems are among the recommendations made by the Knight Commission. Civic Engagement and Community Information: Five Strategies to Revive Civic Communication, a new policy paper by Peter Levine, calls on community and elected leaders to adopt sensible strategies to strengthen civic communication and citizen engagement.

The strategies posed in the report include reforming existing federal, state and local programs and institutions that could make significant contributions to the information environment and health of local communities through a Civic Information Corps; engaging young people in building the information and communication capacity of their communities; realigning incentives in higher education to turn these institutions into local information hubs; investing in public deliberations; and mapping the civic networks that exist in communities.

Adopting these strategies will enable communities to tap into the expertise and innovative spirit of the public to create public knowledge and culture that benefits the whole community.

Levine is the director of CIRCLE: the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement and research director of the Jonathan Tisch School of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University.