Federal Communications Commission

Comment on: Information Needs of Communities and Citizens

Posted January 20th, 2010 by William Freedman - Associate Bureau Chief, Media Bureau

The Future of Media project encourages comments and suggestions on the key questions about the changing media landscape.  This post includes broad questions about the information needs of consumers and citizens.  (The full public notice can be found here.)


1.    What are the information needs of citizens and communities?  Do citizens and communities have all the information they want and need?  How has the situation changed during the past few years?  In what ways has the situation improved?  Gotten worse?  Consider these categories:


·        media platforms (e.g., broadcast, cable, satellite, print, Internet, mobile, gaming);

·        media formats (e.g.,  video, audio, print, email, short message formats);

·        geographic focus (e.g., international, national, state, regional, local, neighborhood, personal);

·        media affiliation (e.g., independent, affiliated with an advocacy organization or movement, academic, governmental);

·        organization type (e.g., commercial media, non-profits, public broadcasting, cultural/educational institutions);

·        types of journalism (e.g., breaking news, investigative, analysis, commentary, beat reporting, objective reporting, advocacy, specialized, general interest, citizen generated, collaborative); and

·        topics (e.g., politics, crime, schools, health, disasters, national news, foreign news, children’s programming).


2.    How have the changes in the media landscape affected the delivery of critical information in times of natural disasters, extreme weather, or public health emergencies?  From where do people get their information in such situations?  What, if anything, should the Commission do to ensure that communities receive such often life-saving information widely and quickly?


3.    How do young people receive educational and informational media content?  How do they consider and process the news and information provided to them?  How should these patterns affect government policy toward the future of the media? 


4.    Are media consumption patterns different in minority communities?  How would those differences affect business models for various media platforms?  What are the implications for the availability of news and information in minority communities?  How should such business models and their implications affect government policy?


5.    What roles should libraries and schools play in supporting community information flow?  How can communities best make use of citizens’ talents and interests in the creation, analysis, curating, and sharing of information? 


6.    What are the best examples of Federal, state and local governments using new media to provide information to the public in a transparent, easy-to-use manner?  When has this public information been provided directly to consumers and when has it been used as the basis for lower-cost reporting?  In what formats should such data be provided?  Should the laws on government provision of information to the public be changed?

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Posted in Public Notices Ideas and Debates Information Needs of Communities