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Democracy Communications Network

The “Democracy Communications Network” was a 2007-2009 project centered around an informal group of leaders (listed below) who agreed to periodically write letters to the editor, blog posts, and other media pieces as part of larger, collaborative campaigns that raise awareness of the importance of quality public engagement.  Use the “Democracy Communications Network” tag to see all the great articles that were written in association with this project. Also see the General Tips for Writing Op-Ed Articles.

AmericaSpeaks, the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, Everyday Democracy, the Kettering Foundation, the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD), Public Agenda, and others launched the Democracy Communications Network, with AmericaSpeaks’ Joe Goldman taking a particularly strong leadership role, and NCDD hosting the topics and articles on our website.

About the Democracy Communications Network

There are dramatic changes happening in our democracy, but for the most part, these developments are flying under the national radar. A new kind of politics is emerging, one where citizens play a more central role in decision-making and problem-solving. These stories are compelling and complicated, and they deserve our attention and analysis – but the major news sources don’t seem to have noticed.

The Democracy Communications Network is a new collaborative effort to raise awareness about the central role people can and are playing in decision-making and problem-solving. A group of leaders in public engagement (including AmericaSpeaks, the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, Everyday Democracy, the Kettering Foundation, NCDD, Public Agenda, and others) launched the Democracy Communications Network in an attempt to:

  • coordinate PR efforts (op-eds, blogging, articles, etc.) in response to current events
  • develop simple, compelling language to describe public engagement work
  • make widely available helpful tools for writing compelling op-eds, working with newspapers, writing for blogs, etc.
  • keep track of the blog posts and op-eds that are written, so that others can be inspired by those examples
  • raise the visibility of the work we all are doing

In October and November of 2007, many of these same groups worked together on a field-wide op-ed campaign initiated by AmericaSpeaks’ Joe Goldman in response to John Edwards’ proposal for Citizen Congresses. Visit http://ncdd.org/rc/item/tag/democracy-communications-network to see the blog posts, op-eds, and media resources that were produced for this project.

The Democracy Communications Network hopes to coordinate this kind of campaign regularly, and dozens of people (listed below) have signed on to participate. Periodically, the Steering Committee will suggest a topic about which Network Members may consider writing. For example, we might ask people to write articles about a prominent topic being discussed by Presidential candidates, like the public’s role in heath care reform, or about how a stronger democracy would reduce political polarization that may be exemplified by a specific issue in the news.

This national network includes academics, elected officials, prominent practitioners, and local organizers. The steering committee for the Network consists of:

  • Martin Carcasson (Colorado State University)
  • John Dedrick (Kettering Foundation)
  • Julie Fanselow (Everyday Democracy)
  • Cynthia Gibson
  • Joe Goldman (AmericaSpeaks)
  • Sandy Heierbacher (NCDD)
  • Alison Kadlec (Public Agenda)
  • Matt Leighninger (DDC)
  • Susanna Haas Lyons (AmericaSpeaks)
  • Amy Malick (Everyday Democracy)
  • David Ryfe (University of Nevada-Reno)
  • Eric Rigaud (Harwood Institute)

DCN was open to all who were willing to write letters to the editor periodically as part of larger, collaborative campaigns that raise awareness of the importance of quality public engagement.

DCN topics, in order of occurrence, included:

  1. John Edwards’ proposal for “Citizen Congresses”
  2. Racism in our Nation
  3. Two momentous civic opportunities – the Brits and the internet
  4. Strengthening the Relationship Between Citizens and Government
  5. The Open Government Initiative

The following people have signed on as members of the Democracy Communications Network, and agreeing to write two or three op-eds, letters to the editor or blog posts per year as part of their involvement in DCN. These leaders represent dozens of colleges and nonprofit organizations across the country, and a variety of fields and disciplines.

If you’d like to get involved, send an email to NCDD Director Sandy Heierbacher at sandy@thataway.org. The DCN is open to all who are willing to write letters to the editor periodically as part of larger, collaborative campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of quality public engagement.

The following people signed on to participate in the Democracy Communications Network:

Alan Tompkins,  Nebraska
Alison Kadlec, Public Agenda, New York
Amy Gutmann, Princeton University, New Jersey
Amy Malick, Everyday Democracy, Connecticut
Ande Diaz, Roger Williams University – Intercultural Center, Rhode Island
Anne Udall, Lee Institute, North Carolina
Annie Estlund, Florida
Archon Fung, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Massachusetts
Arlot Hall, Alaska Common Ground, Alaska
Barnett Pearce, Public Dialogue Consortium and Fielding Graduate School, California
Beth Offenbacker, PublicDecisions, Virginia
Betty Knighton, West Virginia Center for Civic Life, West Virginia
Bev Perry, Common Sense CA, California
Bill Corbett, Center for Voter Deliberation of Northern Virginia, Virginia
Bill Potapchuk, Community Building Institute, Virginia
Brad Rourke, Jarrell/Rourke, Maryland
Brandi Fisher, Missouri
Brian Jackson, Utah
Bruce Ackerman, Yale Law School, Connecticut
Bruce Mallory, University of New Hampshire, New Hamprhire
Carleen Brown, Georgia
Carmen Sirianni, Brandeis University, Massachusetts
Carolyn Lukensmeyer, AmericaSpeaks, DC
Chris Carlson, Policy Consensus Initiative, Oregon
Chris Gates, Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement, Colorado
Christian Rostboell, University of Arizona, Arizona
Curt Wenson, Missouri
Cynthia Farrar, Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University, Connecticut
Cynthia Gibson, Cynthesis Consulting and CitizenPost, New York
Cheryl Graeve, League of Women Voters, DC
Dan Farley, Arkansas School Boards Assocation, Arkansas
Dan Rosen, Florida
Daniel Yankelovich, Viewpoint Learning, California
Dave Davenport, Common Sense CA, California
David Booher, California State University’s Center for Collaborative Policy, California
David Cooper, Michigan
David Mathews, Kettering Foundation, Ohio
David McKinney, Wisconsin
David Procter, Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy, Kansas
David Ryfe, University of Nevada-Reno, Nevada
David Schoem, University of Michigan’s Community Scholars Program Michigan
David Scobey, Maine
David Smith, National Conference on Citizenship, DC
Diana Hess, Wisconsin
Diane Vibhakar, Arkansas School Boards Assocation, Arkansas
Didier Jacobs, Massachusetts
Don Meglio, Massachusetts
Don Saunders, Ohio
Don Slesnick, Florida
Donna Lauffer, Johnson County Library, Kansas
Doug Challenger, Franklin Pierce University’s New England Center for Civic Life, New Hampshire
Doug Crocker, California
Doug Sarno, The Perspectives Group, Virginia
Edward Olios, Oregon
Eric Fretz, University of Denver, Colorado
Eric Rigaud, The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, DC
Eric Stringfellow, Mississippi
Erik Bergrud, Park University’s International Center for Civic Engagement, Mississippi
Ethan Leib, California
Francesco Polletta, University of California, Irvine, California
Frank Bryan, University of Vermont,Vermont
Gary Paul, Florida A&M University, Florida
George Pillsbury, Massachusetts
Gloria Rubio Cortes, National Civic League, Colorado
Greg Phelps, Lindsey Wilson College Kentucky
Hal Colston, Vermont
Hanna McKinney, Michigan
Harris Sokoloff, University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania
Harry Boyte, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, Minnesota
Heather Gate-Detherow, Arkansas
Heidi Gantwork, Viewpoint Learning, California
Henrietta Davis, Massachusetts
Jamilah Karim, Georgia
Jane Mansbridge, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Massachusetts
Janice Lucas, Florida
Jim Fishkin, The Center for Deliberative Democracy, California
Jim Hunt, West Virginia
Jim Kunde, Texas
Jim Noucas, Portsmouth Listens, New Hamprhire
Jim Scheibel, Minnesota
Joan Kennedy, Virginia
John Bryson, University of Minnesota, Minnesota
John Dedrick, Kettering Foundation, Ohio
John Gastil, University of Washington, Washington
John McNutt, Delaware
John Nalbandian, Kansas
John Pratt, MN Council of NP, Minnesota
John Stephens, School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Jon Ambercrombie, Everyday Democracy, Georgia
Joni Doherty, Franklin Pierce University’s New England Center for Civic Life, New Hamprhire
Julie Fanselow, Everyday Democracy, Idaho
Kathryn Liss, American Friends Service Committee, Help Increase the Peace Program, Oregon
Kathy Cramer Walsh, University of Wisconsin, Madison,Wisconsin
Katy Harriger, Wake Forest University, North Carolina
Keith Twitchell, Committee for a Better New Orleans, Louisiana
Kim Downing, University of Cincinniti, Institute for Policy Research, Ohio
Kim Pearce, Public Dialogue Consortium, California
Kiran Cunningham, Michigan
Kirk Emerson, US Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, Arizona
Kris Smock, Oregon
Lars Torres, Peace Tiles Project, Vermont
Laura Chasin, Public Conversation Project, Massachusetts
Leslie Anderson, North Carolina
Lew Friedland, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin
Linda Mather, Forums Institute for Public Policy, New Jersey
Linda Pall, Idaho
Les Ihara, Hawaii State Senator and National Issues Forums Institute, Hawaii
Lisa Bingham, University of Indiana, Indiana
Louis Geiss, Rochester City Council, New York
Margaret Holt, Georgia
Mark Linder, California
Martha McCoy, Everyday Democracy, Connecticut
Martin Carcasson, Colorado State University, Colorado
Matt Leighninger, Deliberative Democracy Consortium, Canada
Maya Enista, Mobilize.org, California
Mica Stark, The Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire, New Hampshire
Michael Briand, The Institute for Democratic Dialogue and Deliberation; Regis University, Colorado
Michael Smith, Case Foundation, DC
Michael Wood, United Way, DC
Mike D’Innocenzo, National Council for the Social Studies, New York
Mike Pagano, Illinois
Mike Weiksner, E-thePeople, California
Miles Rappaport, Demos, New York
Nan Skelton, Humphry Center, Minnesota
Nancy Carter, North Carolina
Nancy Gansneder, University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, Virginia
Nancy Thomas, The Democracy Imperative, New Hampshire
Ned Crosby, Citizen Juries, Minnesota
Nelda Brown, Washington
Nick Longo, University of Miami, Ohio
Nicole Sanchez, California
Noelle McAfee, George Mason University’s Department of Philosophy, DC
Otis White, Georgia
Paul Leistner, Oregon
Paul Schmitz, Wisconsin
Paul Thomas, Tulsa School Board, Oklahoma
Pete Peterson, Common Sense California, California
Peter Levine, CIRCLE, Massachusetts
Peter Muhlberger, Texas Tech University, Texas
Phil Neisser, SUNY Potsdam, Department of Politics, New York
Phil Weiser, Colorado
Priscilla Salant, Idaho
Ratnesh Nagda, University of Washington School of Social Work, Washington
Ray Daniels, Missouri
Rebecca Townsend, Ph.D., Manchester Community College, Manchester, CT
Rich Harwood, The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, DC
Rob Hillister, Tufts, Massachusetts
Robert Cavalier, Carnegie Mellon Philosophy Department’s Center for the Advancement of Applied Ethics, Pennsylvania
Robin Beltramini, Michigan
Roger Bernier, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Georgia
Roger Stancil, North Carolina
Rosemary O’Leary, The Maxwell School of Syracuse University, New York
Rosemary Talmadge, LaGuardia Community College, New York
Ruth Ann Bramson, Massachusetts
Ruth Sokolowski, YWCA, Delaware
Ruth Wooden, Public Agenda, New York
Ruth Yellow Hawk, National Issues Forums, South Dakota
Sandra Hodge, University of Missouri, Missouri
Sandy Heirbacher, National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation, Pennsylvania
Shabazz Marshall, United Way, Massachusetts
Shereen Bingham, University of Nebraska at Omaha’s School of Communication, Nebraska
Stephen Littlejohn, Public Dialogue Consortium, New Mexico
Steve Burkholder, City of Lakewood, Colorado
Steve Pyser, University of Phoenix, Greater Philadelphia Campus, Pennsylvania
Steve Weiner, Common Sense CA, California
Steven Clift, E-Democracy, Minnesota
Susan Clark, Woodbury College, Vermont
Susie Graseck, Choices for the 21st Century Education Project, Brown University, Rhode Island
Sylvia Lovely, Kentucky
Taylor Willingham, Texas Forums, Texas
Ted Becker, Auburn University, Alabama
Terry Amsler, Institute for Local Government, California
Terry Cooper, The Maria B. Crutcher Professor in Citizenship and Democratic Values, California
Thad Ferber, YPAC, DC
Thomas Erlich, California
Tim Erickson, E-Democracy.org and Politalk, Minnesota
Tina Nabatchi, Syracuse University, New York
Todd Kelshaw, Montclair State University, New Jersy
Tom Argust, New York
Will Friedman, Public Agenda, New York
Windy Lawrence, University of Houson-Downtown, Texas

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