Part II: Commission Findings and Recommended Strategies
Commission Findings and Recommended Strategies A. Maximizing the Availability of Relevant and Credible Information To lead full lives in America’s democratic republic, citizens need two kinds of information: civic information and life-enhancing information. These may come from the same sources or through the same media. The same information sometimes serves both purposes, but they remain distinct categories. Successful problem solving for both individuals and communities requires access to both. Yet, millions of Americans lack ready access to relevant, credible information in either or both categories. Salvador “Chava” Bustamante is a former labor organizer currently working with the California organization Strengthening Our Lives. SOL promotes the involvement of Latinos in politics. As a speaker at the Commission’s September 8, 2008, public forum, Mr. Bustamante highlighted the dual nature of the information people need to live as successful citizens in a democratic community. He said: Fifteen years ago, I became a citizen, and I have been voting in every election. The reason I do it is because I want to participate in all the decisions that affect my life and the life of my community.... But being part of a democracy to me means more than one man or woman equals one vote. Democracy to me means making available all the opportunities in our society to as many people as possible all so we all can prosper.... Democracy is giving everybody an opportunity to better their lives.
The Report of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy