"Fake News," No News, and the Needs of Local Communities
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The Quaker authors had in mind an ancient truth - that "love endures and overcomes" - and they were convinced that this truth is accessible to all. This article addresses truth at a more immediate and mundane level. It is concerned with the accurate information that local communities need in order to thrive. The article proceeds in three steps. Part I reviews one way community needs were addressed when the first large-scale electronic communication technology entered individual homes in the form of radio and television. In those days, broadcasters had an affirmative duty to ascertain the problems of the communities they served and to provide programming that would address those problems. Part II reviews the current, growing gap in community information caused by uneven access to the Internet and by the misinformation and distrust that have arisen online in the current polarized political climate. Part III proposes exploring two avenues to help ground communities in factual information: harness the data-gathering done by Internet service providers, creating a new way to ascertain local community needs, and enlist community colleges in initiatives to report local news.
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