#Civic Information

Exploring civic information ecosystems online to identify "the new op-ed"

We recently wrapped a project with advocates, activists, and organizers in the Upper Midwest to map the current landscape of civic information consumption. The fragmentation of media systems has left many wondering: how do people in the U.S. get information in what many perceive to be local media deserts? Using the Narrative Observatory, we explored how audiences engage and consume this info in the Upper Midwest — and where untapped engagement opportunities may exist to reach them. We are excited to showcase the findings in this new public report.

The biggest takeaways?

  • There are two types of people who consume media online — people who read and people who watch.
  • Media consumption is not segmented by topics or social issues, but instead by people who consume news vs. people who don’t consume news.
  • Coverage of local issues comes from a national POV. When local content emerges, it still comes from major news sites.
  • The op-ed of the 21st century is in a diverse set of places. To reach people with civic info, look not to news, but to non-news ecosystems.
  • People search for civic information relevant to their day-to-day lives (emissions testing, post office, school closures) — not for broad, macro-level civic topics.

If you are interested in watching a live presentation of these findings, or in contributing to our ongoing efforts to explore the data around civic information, please get in touch.

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