Digital Citizen 2012

Digital Citizen builds on the new digital capabilities of television broadcasting, combined with the Internet’s advances in social engagement, to integrate citizen participation to an unprecedented degree in 2news coverage. Digital Citizen is made possible by media convergence, but our real concern is governance in a democratic society.
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Occupy Nashville and Vanderbilt University Young Republicans, Nov 3, 2011. The Nashville Tennessean: Occupy Nashville, Republican students find common ground

An Occupy Wall Street/Tea Party Dialogue

We know that a majority of Americans are concerned about a set of shared problems, which are not adequately addressed by the media or political establishments.

We understand that our media and political cultures thrive on conflict and distraction, often seeking their own benefit above that of the people, or the good of the nation.

We have the tools to find accord across the political divide and move our country towards resolution and action, but we don’t yet  know how to put it all together. 

Internews Interactive’s Digital Citizen initiative will use the Digital Citizen set of participation tools to engage representatives of two large and seemingly opposed American constituencies: the Tea Party and the Occupy movements. The goal of these multiple-format productions is to surface the issues that most concern all Americans, to gather a large number of people into ongoing constructive dialogue, and to leverage these issues into the political discourse in advance of the 2012 election.

The Tea Party and Occupy movements are both new social structures that aim to affect change and give suppressed perspectives a way to be heard and acknowledged. Within our two-party system, they have had little choice but to align with either the Republicans or the Democrats. But these movements have some striking similarities: each has been reluctant to give its wholehearted backing to the party with which it is associated, and many sympathizers of each group are disgruntled centrists, politically closer to each other than to the more extreme members of their own movement.  

While ideological, economic and cultural divisions among Americans are real, our current inability to engage in the democratic process is a relic of an earlier mindset. Modern communication technologies are more conducive to participation than division. If the moment is seized, new configurations of media and activism can give the perspectives of the majority, as well as those of rarely-heard minorities, a voice with the power to change the course of events.