Harness News Media to Promote Effective Civic Engagement. Although the current news media can be polarizing, individuals can use the media to promote effective civic engagement. For example, encourage government officials to write articles about the importance of government participation, and municipal organizations to publicize lists of opportunities for people to become involved with their communities. Use the media to promote what you have learned and help make increasing civic engagement part of an ongoing dialogue. Consider creating a series of public service announcements with civic engagement themes for television or radio.
Harness Social Media to Promote Effective Civic Engagement. Social media is how many people get their news today. Arizona Town Hall is using current and emerging social media to promote Civic Engagement and the recommendations of each Town Hall. We invite you to support Arizona Town Hall on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to spread our message and continue the dialogue from the Town Hall gatherings. As an employee, owner or executive director of a business or nonprofit, consider using your social media accounts to educate people about volunteer opportunities and other ways to become involved in the community.
Encourage Transparency and Accountability for Public Comment. We recognize the right of anyone to speak anonymously. We encourage people to accept responsibility for their public comments because we believe that vitriolic public comments may discourage others from exercising free speech and engaging civically.
Use New Technology to Encourage More People to Become Civically Engaged. People are more likely to become civically engaged if there are easy-to-use platforms from which to become involved.
Consider inviting the Secretary of State to continue ongoing research on an online voting system.
Champion the ability for people to be able to provide testimony and address issues at the state legislature and other bodies without having to physically register in Phoenix at the State Capitol.
Support TV and social media use to make public meetings interactive.
Encourage cities and nonprofits to use their community calendars to promote their events and post on their websites when they need volunteers for particular projects.
Discourage Sensationalized and Biased Reporting. Currently, many news outlets report only one side of the story or otherwise sensationalize the story. News media must be encouraged to report a more balanced perspective. If you are concerned with how the media is covering various issues, let them know. You can hold the media accountable:
Withdraw sponsorships of biased media, and cancel your subscription or change the channel.
Write letters/emails to print, television or radio if you feel they blur the line between news and editorial.
Write a letter to the editor to share your opinion on an article, good or bad, or if you feel a correction should be made.
If you participate in online news sites and weigh in on stories, make your posts civilly and with facts.
Use social media to repost and share stories from “traditional” media that are getting it right.
Share important things going on in your community with your social media networks in a timely and responsible fashion.
Tools for becoming more involved in this topic or fact checking the media include: