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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…then Digital Citizen 2012 wants you. Please answer our simple survey and help us create Digital Citizen 2012! 

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.


See Knight Election Priorities blog post

 √   1. Creating new tools or data to meet people’s information needs
The Digital Citizen 2012 apps are new tools that will be built upon the Public Insight Network’s platform and used both online and in television broadcasts. DC2012 helps site visitors and TV viewers discuss and surface key election issues, meeting their information needs for the 2012 election.

2. Increase transparency of information about civic institutions

√   3. Encouraging place-based political discussion
DC2012 is accessed locally, via the websites of newspapers, broadcasters and communities, so that discussions can address place-based policy issues.

√   4. Accelerating productive discussion and healthy partisanship in civic discourse
gives a broad range of Americans, including  partisans and non-partisans, a safe and respectful way to participate in policy dialogue, as well as the excitement of appearing on TV, today’s most influential medium.

5. Creating a public access network that engages via new media forms

√   6. Popping the “Filter Bubble”
DC2012 participants engage in dialogue on television with each other, their leaders, and “the other side,”
breaking through the filter bubble. Our initial production, DIGITAL CITIZEN: Tea Party / Occupy, will connect Occupy and Tea Party adherents in Medford, Oregon (Airs 3/30/12)

√   7. Creating new rituals for civic engagement
Such as posting your opinion with the knowledge that it may get you a slot on a policy discussion television program.

√   8. Helping journalism moderate (and curate) political debate
DC2012 relies on local journalists to moderate discussions among engaged citizens and candidates, experts and pundits. Journalists also help participants check their facts.

√   9. Creating a new visual language around policy/politics
DC2012 is using the 10Questions format to crowd source the best local comments on news and community websites. A heirarchy of TV participation allows a large number of these contributors to become a virtual audience of participants, who appear - and see themselves - on TV policy discussion programs, creating a new visual language of participation in policy discussion.

√   10. Creating new interfaces and tools to encourage civic/media literacy and fluency
DC2012 is a training ground
for civic and media literacy, expanding democratic participation for the digital age. See

√   11. Reaching and engaging groups who aren’t regularly online
Over 50% of American news consumers get their news from TV, and 70% from local TV news. These numbers dwarf the number of Internet users, implying a tremendously diverse audience who are not necessarily online regularly. Nonetheless, our simple phone app will engage
a broad range of Americans in the Digital Citizen process.