Dewey, John. The Public and Its Problems. (New York: Holt, 1927). “No man and no mind was ever emancipated merely by being left alone.” In this chapter, Dewey notes that all the public discourse and education in the world is irrelevant to community improvement without a means of mass dissemination. He also calls to task the purveyors of “news” for concentrating on the sensational and prurient, and calls them to a higher purpose: “the perfecting of the means and ways of communication of meanings so that genuinely shared interest in the consequences of interdependent activities may inform desire and effort and thereby direct action.”
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Funding research in journalism and media studies, the Knight Foundation specifically seeks “to enable all residents to participate in their communities and to assume the full rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy.”
Matheson, Donald. “Weblogs and the Epistemology of the News: Some Trends in Online Journalism.” New Media Society 2004; 6; 443. Journalism has been slow to develop distinctive forms in response to the new contexts provided by the internet. One rapidly developing form, unique to the world wide web, is the weblog. This article reviews the claims made by proponents of the form and explores, through the case study of a weblog produced by the British Guardian newspaper, epistemological differences to the dominant Anglo-American news form. The article argues that the rearticulation in this institutional product of the relation between journalists and users, of the claim to authority made in the news text and of the news text as product, provides historians of both journalism and new media with a case study of the adaptation of journalism to new contexts.
Seiter, Ellen. “Practicing at Home: Computers, Pianos, and Cultural Capital.” Digital Youth, Innovation, and the Unexpected. Edited by Tara McPherson. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008. 27–52. This essay reviews the connections and divergences between old and new media in terms of the acquisition of cultural capital. In investigating media literacy, it will consider the developmental abilities, the kinds of scaffolding, and the economic and technological thresholds for domestic usage that are required to reap the greatest benefits from new media.
CPN: The Wichita Eagle . Fed up with coverage of the 1988 presidential campaign, Wichita Eagle editor Davis Merritt challenged his newsroom and the community to find a better way to report pre-election information. Forsaking soundbites and mud-slinging, the Eagle held community forums (dubbed “The People Project”) to determine the issues that mattered most to readers, then focused ongoing pre-election coverage of the 1990 gubernatorial race on those issues.
The Journal Star Leadership Challenge: Building a New Generation of Leaders. Peoria, Illinois: A town so ordinary it’s used as shorthand for average middle America. But in the mid 1990s Peoria found itself in the midst of high crime and low civic participation–without Boy Scout leaders, neighborhood watch captains, or even prospective candidates for Congressional seats. The Peoria Journal-Star launched The Leadership Challenge to engage the community in identifying communal problems, and solutions.