Daily Archives: February 5, 2010

Communities Working to Inform Themselves in New Age of Journalism

By Melanie Eversley, Rewrite Reporter at USA Today, DJTF Treasurer

Something special is happening in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday.

The Oakland Tribune will host an open house for its new Community Access Center, based at the West Oakland Branch of the Oakland Public Library. The effort is part of a six-month pilot project launched by the Tribune and the Maynard Center for Journalism Education. Tribune journalists will work with 10 community members, teaching them reporting skills. The residents’ work will appear in the Tribune.

This project is one of several from across the country that are being tracked by the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Commnunities in Democracy. The 17-member commission is made of media, policy and community leaders, including NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous, Alberto Ibarguen, Knight Foundation president and former publisher of The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, and Michael Powell, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

The commission, a project of the Aspen Institute and the Knight Foundation, is pushing efforts across the country to maximize the availability of credible information to communities in the digital age, and is encouraging people to engage with their communities. It also has called for universal broadband access for everyone to prevent communities of uninformed, second-class citizens.

The commission’s report, compiled after a year of research, is being reviewed by top communication officials in the federal government.

Of the Oakland project, Tribune editor Martin Reynolds is quoted on the commission Website as saying, “This is what it’s all about — creating new projects that can help us remain relevant, accountable and accessible to the communities we cover.”