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Weekly News Digest

October 20, 2011 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

New Report on Assessing Community Information Needs

On Oct. 17, 2011 the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation released the final installment in a series of eight white papers aimed at implementing the recommendations of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy. The paper—“Assessing Community Information Needs: A Practical Guide” by Richard C. Harwood—proposes four guideposts and nine strategies for communities to assess and build a healthy information environment. The paper also includes a checklist for getting started.

Free flowing news and information is essential to the health of democratic communities, but not all information environments are equally effective at meeting community information needs. What can a community do to measure the quality of its information environment, identify its information needs, and take steps to build a more robust news and information ecosystem?

Assessing Community Information Needs: A Practical Guide is a guide for adopting civic innovation strategies to spur the development of news and information environments that address real community needs. Civic leaders, elected officials, motivated citizens, community-based organizations, and others can use this guide to understand how to integrate useful practices for assessing and building engaged, informed communities—communities with the civic capacity necessary to deal successfully with today’s many economic, social, environmental and political challenges.

Among the key elements of his nine-step plan are the following:

  • Engage the community early on and focus on core community needs
  • Actively cultivate boundary-spanning organizations and groups
  • Tell the community’s story of change
  • Ensure enough entry points for people to engage

Source: John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor Brandi Scardilli

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