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COMMUNET Home

COMMUNET Home

COMMUNET  March 2000, Week 2

COMMUNET March 2000, Week 2

Subject:

Fwd: [MTA] UPDATE: Event 4 Now Online

From:

Scott Aikens <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Community and Civic Network discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 8 Mar 2000 10:35:26 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (120 lines)

Folks might find this interesting.

Scott

-------------------

Dear All:

Brainstorming Event 4, "a dialogue on the 'Connecticut Civic Net'", is now
online.  Read the summary (included below), download the transcript, view
the full event and / or view video snippets at:

http://www.mappingtheassets.org/events.html

Also, we want to know what programs you're working on.  Tell us online
what you're doing at:

www.mappingtheassets.org/getin.html

Best

Scott Aikens

Dr. G. Scott Aikens
Project Director, Mapping the Assets
Connecticut Public Broadcasting, Inc.


Event Summary:
Dialogue on the "Connecticut Civic Net"

The February 8th event in the studio at CPTV & Radio continued our Mapping
the Assets conversation with the support of host Steve Futernick.

After some introductory remarks by Project Director Scott Aikens
describing a 'CT Civic Net', Steve Futernick asked the two public servants
in attendance for their thoughts on 'civics'. Susan Bysiewicz, Secretary
of the State of Connecticut, first described her concern about low voter
turnout and her focus on citizen engagement, and second described her
desire for meaningful campaign finance reform. William Dyson, State
Representative and Chair of the Appropriations Committee, recalled
listening to the pledge drive at Connecticut Public Radio during his
morning commute, and worrying about the survival of this important civic
service as we enter the expensive digital age. He also cited the 'digital
divide' and wondered if pricey new technologies drive a wedge between
'have's' and 'have-not's' that increases cynicism and decreases
engagement.

The dialogue moved to explore infrastructure and content that exists and
can be created for public affairs programming. Tensions repeatedly emerged
between the massive opportunities presented by technologies such as the
'Digital Studio Command and Control' network architecture developed by IBM
Research and by folks in real civic institutions and public affairs media
trying to achieve goals and create services day to day.

One exchange seemed to capture the possibilities.  Paul Giguere, President
& CEO of the CT Public Affairs Network, described The Connecticut Network
(CT*N), which uses digital robotic cameras in the Connecticut legislature
and other places to broadcast state government. Jim Janniello, Manager,
Digital Television Laboratory, IBM Research, suggested CT*N could
conceivably become a model parliamentary tool, with a searchable,
web-based archive of video and audio proceedings. Data could then be moved
through a broadband network to state departments, schools, municipal
governments and libraries, and augmented by online communities and
analysis.

This led to a series of vital exchanges and comments. For example, Bob
Rader, Executive Director of the CT Association of Boards of Education,
and Lou Golden, Deputy Publisher of the Hartford Courant, discussed who
will have the authority to analyze the massive data that will result. Paul
Giguere asked who will do and pay for the work. John Dankosky, News
Director, Connecticut Public Radio, expressed his belief that journalists
will be needed to provide context, and that greater transparency of
information will result in greater accountability and improved coverage.
Leah Clapman, Managing Editor, Online Newshour, suggested local
initiatives could intersect with national initiatives in important, new
ways.

Another thread of dialogue explored civics education.  AOL and other
interactive services, Scott Aikens suggested, are capturing the
imagination of the young, and as they explore services like AOL's 'My
Government', one result could be an increase in participatory mass
democracy. If so, Aikens continued, we have a responsibility to educate
the next generation from an earlier age about the rights and
responsibilities of citizenship in a democratic society, so as to balance
the new politics of engagement with stable government. Perhaps this early
education in civic-mindedness using new debating and community-building
tools can also help our young root themselves better in their communities,
and this can help stem the tide of alienation highlighted by gun violence.
 Janice Gruendel, Executive Director of Connecticut Voices for Children,
offered four ideas central to civic engagement that might help give people
power and purpose and a critical sense of belonging. Susan Bysiewicz
described efforts by her office to reach young citizens, and expressed her
hope that the new technologies can aid this process. Programs that could
be part of an effort were also mentioned, including the Youth Vote project
in Enfield and the Connecticut Journalism Education Association, under the
guidance of Paul Steinle, Quinnipiac College.

A couple final comments were offered to help shape our next steps. Larry
Grossman, former President, PBS and NBC News, pointed to the synergy among
the civic education initiatives and suggested crafting a pilot project
from these. Adopting a broader approach, Jurij Paraszczak, Manager,
Telecommunications Solutions, IBM Research, supported the data-gathering
process under development in Connecticut and hoped for similar 'joined-up'
activities in other locations.

The entire dialogue is available at the web site:
www.mappingtheassets.org/event_04.html


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