Good News / Good Deeds
Community Problem-Solving in the Age of Electronic
Goal: To improve and strengthen community
communications so that the Puget Sound area citizens can act more
effectively to make their community a better place to live.
Objective 1: Initiate public discussions of the
future of media communications so the media, independent sector,
and the public can communicate most effectively with each
1.1 Research: Review exiting research on models
for effective print media-community collaborations and conduct
research on models for effective electronic media-community
collaborations; use the most promising models to stimulate and/or
enhance local media-community collaborations (i.e., "public" journalism, applied research
partnerships among the media, independent sector and public).
1.2 Think tanks: Create topic-specific think tanks to
explore ways in which media-comunity collaborations can better
serve citizens' needs.
1.3 Public discussions: Hold community-wide public
discussion(s) on these issues.
1.4 Publish: Produce and disseminate printed material to
relate the ideas that evolve from these efforts.
Objective 2: Raise the profile of the independent sector as an important
source of information, which is on par with business and
government, in its impact on individuals and its influence on the
quality of community life.
2.1 Focus groups: Conduct focus groups with
members of the media to gauge their level of understanding about
the independent sector and community problem-solving.
2.2 Promote training: Identify and promote ways in which
the media can learn more about the independent sector.
2.3 Database: Work in partnership with the Seattle Public
Library to create an electronic database of independent sector
"news sources" that can be accessed by the media and the public.
Work to promote database access.
Objective 3: Improve the independent sector's
capacity to communicate with the media and its consituencies,
especially as can be achieved through new technologies.
3.1 Focus groups: Conduct focus groups with
members of the independent sector to identify barriers and
opportunities fo increasing communications capacity.
3.2 Promote training: Identify and promote training to
increase the independent sector's understanding of new technologies
and public access.
Objective 4: Initiate media and independent
sector planning to make better use of the community's communication
infrastructure (i.e., "electronic democracy," and the interactive
potential of such "new" media as computer networks, cable and
telephone interconnects, faxes, etc.).
Democracy: the interactive potential of the "new"
media includeing computer networks, cable and telephone
interconnects, faxes, etc.
Sector: charitable not-for-profit organizations and
their philanthropic donor base.
journalism: journalism which contributes routinelyu to
the strengthening of civic culture, through such techniques as
convening, hosting, or facilitating a community's coming to grips
with critical issues. (Davis Merritt, editor of the Wichita Eagle
and Jay Rosen, associate professor of journalism at New York
University, are leaders of this "movement")
- What: A three-year research and community
education project on how our region can use the new information
technology, along with improved relations between media and
nonprofits, to help citizens be more effective and powerful.
- When: January 1, 1995 through December 31,
- Where: The Puget Sound region, Washington
- Why: A big-thinking, independent effort is
needed to spur a local information highway that serves citizens as
well as corporations and government (and allows them to "reinvent
community"). Non profits and media organizations can do a better
job of this "reinvention" by improving the ways in which they
interact with each other on behalf of the public good. "New media"
including interactive television, computer-assisted communication,
and "electronic democracy" are being pioneeredd and tested here.
Seattle has a history of creativity and civic involvement that
makes a new level of dialogue possible.
- Who: Good News / Good Deeds is a project of
the Institute for Creative Development, a Seattle-based think tank
which has facilitated think tanks on the future of such asreas as
philanthropy, chemistry, nuclear energy, and public television.
Principals are Jan Gray (broadcast background), Stephen Silha
(print/nonprofit background), and Marion Woyvodich (print/marketing
background). A number of organizations and individuals are
- So What? Expected products include focus group
research to improve media coverage of the nonprofit sector, a
report on national models for media-nonprofit collaboration,
training sessions and materials for journalists, philanthroupists,
and nonprofit leaders, a series of public discussions, and an
electronic database of nonprofit "sources" for use by news
organizations and the public. Out of the process will come a
broader understanding of how the new media can work for citizens,
and a commmunity communications syustem that enhances citizens'
efforts to foster healthy communities.