Informing Communities is a report done by the Knight Commission. I highly recommend this report to anyone who involved in local communities activities. Reports such as these are vital to changing the minds of individuals, communities and the governments that represent them. One line summed it up for me: “[P]eople must be inspired to engage information”. I agree that access to public information is the right of every citizen and those who don't have access in this digital age via a broadband connection are merely relegated to second class citizenship. In our great democracy, the question I ask after reading this report is, how do you inspire people in under served communities? How do you inspire them to care about vital information, know where it is, access it and want to do something with it.
I grew up in communities that were undeserved, overlooked and basically forgotten by the city. I understand how access to information can change the way we live for ourselves, for those around us, for our block, and the entire neighborhood. Governments can be held accountable for what transpires in this society. But I also believe that people in these communities must want to do better and should be held accountable as well. People need to be heard and governments, as the commission states, must not hinder the work of intermediaries like the press and libraries to guide the way in sifting through information. The old saying "out of sight, out of mind" still holds true if communities don't raise a voice. That voice and its message can be clearer and carry more force if people have the information they need and desire.
For more information on The Knight Commission and to obtain a copy of the report, goto http://www.knightcomm.org/
For more information on The Knight Foundation, goto http://www.knightfoundation.org/