Putting the Human Face Back in Public Policy

Submitted by cfields@langhum… on Sat, 06/05/2010 – 2:24pm

Session Convenor: Cheryl Fields, Brian O’Connor, Kwan

Session Reporter: Cheryl Fields

Discussion Participants:

Kwan got the participant list

Everyone shared their interests, which were varied, as was the composition of the group. Some are journalists (print, broadcast, digital), some community activists, others funders and students. Overall, the focus was on how media can do a better job of informing people about public policy. We talked about the degree to which media can be a catalyst for making public dialogue happen. How do we go about helping to create the communications ecosystem we need?  Some said the old model of journalism seeking objectivity seems in appropriate to the times. There were varying opinions about the need for balance in reporting. We agreed that journalists should be working toward the public good. Should we be creative about melding the reporting advocacy process. Maybe provide a checklist at the end of every story (print, radio, digital) giving the community a list of things they can do to learn more or get involved. Also point them to local resources.  Journalists should also hold the community accountable when they do not engage.  Perhaps media should incorporate gaming into the conversation in some way. And we talked about polling and the need for journalists to do a better job of helping readers interpret poll results. Perhaps even engaging readers to interact with each other more about poll results. And we talked about media outlets serving as convenors of events and other opportunities for the community to learn more about local issues and other state, regional and national public policy issues that affect them.

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