Complete video coverage of FOCAS available at www.aspeninstitute.tv
The Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program, with senior sponsorship from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, presented the 2010 Forum on Communications and Society (FOCAS) on the theme News Cities: The Next Generation of Healthy Informed Communities. FOCAS 2010 aimed to develop a set of actionable steps to improve the information health of communities in order to advance the recommendations of the Knight Commission.
The Knight Commission released its report, Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age, in October 2009. The Commission made 15 recommendations based on its three major objectives: maximizing the availability of relevant and credible information, enhancing the information capacity of individuals, and promoting public engagement. The Commission’s recommendations cover a continuum of information needs, from good journalism to digital and media literacy, from universal broadband and open networks to transparent government and public engagement. At the same time, the Commission envisioned eight elements of a “Healthy Informed Community.”
Citing the Knight Commission report, the Federal Communications Commission in January 2010 launched a major inquiry into the Future of Media & Information Needs of Communities in a Digital Age. The Knight Foundation and the Aspen Institute have commissioned white papers to suggest ways to move the recommendations forward. FOCAS explored these strategies. Government officials, media and business executives, civic leaders, consumer and user representatives, and other thought leaders met in roundtables and working groups to arrive at specific action steps that communities can take to improve their information health.
FOCAS participants included:
Marcus Brauchli, The Washington Post
John Carroll, (formerly of) Los Angeles Times
Mark Contreras, The E.W. Scripps Company
Michael Copps, Federal Communications Commission
Julius Genachowski, Federal Communications Commission
Patricia Harrison, Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Reed Hundt, Coalition for Green Capital
Alberto Ibargüen, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Paula Kerger, Public Broadcasting Service
Bill Kling, American Public Media
Craig Newmark, craigslist.org
Donna Nicely, Nashville Public Library
Paul Sagan, Akamai
Vivian Schiller, National Public Radio
Paul Steiger, ProPublica
Ernie Wilson, Annenberg School for Communication
Complete list of participants and more information is available at the FOCAS 2010 page.