Part II: Commission Findings and Recommended Strategies
Recommendation 5: Develop systematic quality measures of community information ecologies, and study how they affect social outcomes.
Communities lack good tools to assess the quality of local information ecologies. There are no widely accepted indices for comparing different communitiesâ€™ ecologies or determining whether information flow within a particular community is improving or degrading. Communities need measures of both kinds. If activists, policy makers, and the general public had more concrete ways of describing, measuring, and comparing the systems of community news and information flow, it would be much easier to mobilize public interest around community information needs. Communities can begin to lay the groundwork for such indices by conducting systematic self-assessments of their information environment. As a possible starting point for such an assessment, the Commission has composed a Healthy Information Community checklist (Appendix I) that local leaders can use. The regular compilation of data can begin with charging a diverse and inclusive community task force to take stock of the local information environment and offer a public report.
The Report of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy