Towards a Civic Communications Ecosystem for Thriving Community

What’s possible when the public and journalists engage to support communities to thrive? Engagement is about authentic connections, valuing people, and mutual exchanges so that what’s best for individuals and the community as a whole emerges. With both journalists and other community members present at Experience Engagement, some conversations also pointed towards a communications ecosystem that supports the civic health of communities. Beyond journalism, as we know it, this civic communications ecosystem would provide robust information, feedback, inclusive dialogue, strategy and action for serving community goals. Read more of this from co-author Peggy Holman.

The Problem With Inclusion

Our focus on inclusion is misplaced as long as it fails to change the structures and practices that promote exclusion in the first place. Inclusion is inherently about exclusion. No matter what the particular subject — voting, education, technology, you name it — whenever we talk about the need to include people we implicitly acknowledge that the status quo is exclusive — that there are people who are currently not included in X, Y, or Z, but who could be. That’s the language we use — those of us living comfortably in our own inclusion: “Not included.”

Power and Empowerment

We attempt to demystify and reveal the many faces of power. We look at power as an individual, collective, and political force that can either undermine or empower citizens and their organizations. It is a force that alternatively can facilitate, hasten, or halt the process of change promoted through advocacy. For this discussion, we draw on practical experience and theory, particularly related to poverty and women’s rights where power has been analyzed from the vantage point of subordination and discrimination. We also offer a variety of tools and frameworks for mapping and analyzing power and interests.