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Fashion an Information Sharing Network

What is it? An information sharing network is just that – a way to find and pass long information of interest and value.  Many localities use a number of communication tools, but there are still information gaps in many communities. By systematically analyzing the information needs and the tools available to meet those needs, a network can be created to address communication and information deficits.  Networks can be focused on a topic or content area, or on a broader range of data relevant for people in a particular region or community.

How has it been used? The Community Foundation of New Jersey identified a critical gap in the reporting of state policy issues.  The newspapers were drastically shrinking their coverage and local public radio and television stations were being forced to cut back or being sold to out of state entities.  Because of the changes, the ability of these traditional news sources to report on and research state policy concerns was limited.  In response, the foundation funded an online resource called NJ Spotlight, specifically focused on state policy.  The site was directed at policy makers, community leaders, government officials and concerned citizens.  In addition to an internet presence, the Foundation has also hosted in-person events and partnered with local media groups to spread information.  NJ Spotlight has become a valuable resource, receiving over 40,000 monthly visits and filling a crucial void in the information structure of the state. (Source: The Knight Foundation)

Further Reading

Knight Community Information Challenge

The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy

Building a Community Information Network – Penn State