Interactive graphic novel mash ups, mobile transmedia scavenger hunts, service corps? As innovative technologies transform our society, encouraging and strengthening civic participation, conversation and interaction through social and mobile media, great concern still exists regarding the accessibility of credible and up-to-date information among communities of color, low-income users, senior citizens and others. A growing consensus is that today’s public media must do more to fully reflect the public’s needs and engage the entire range of community members at the local level. As noted in the influential 2009 Knight Commission report, Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age, America needs to support local resources and institutions to ensure that democratic values of openness, inclusion, participation, and empowerment thrive across all appropriate media, engaging members of the public in their role as active citizens. But what are the elements of a 21st century public media that meets the needs of our increasingly diverse and sophisticated publics? Who are the partners poised to realize the vision of Public Media 2.0, to create an ecosystem that is “more local, more inclusive and more interactive,” as the Knight Commission Report put it. Architects of and participants in three provocative prototypes that push the boundaries of public media will share their experiences working with communities of various kinds, with various needs to create new models.
11th–15th March 2011