connective democracy

Our society is witnessing an entrenchment of divisiveness – the media versus the public, Democrats versus Republicans, urban versus rural. Whether political or social, the divisions in our society seem to be growing swiftly and aggressively. And with these divides come new challenges in facilitating the exchange of information. The Center for Media Engagement proposes a new approach to tackling the issue: connective democracy.

Connective democracy unites newsrooms, scholars, platforms, and public policy entities in a methodical approach toward bridging gaps in our society. We believe that, by working together, these groups can identify and put into action practical solutions to help bring people together across divides.

More than a theory, connective democracy depends on collaborative work throughout the research process, spanning idea generation, study design, data collection, the interpretation of findings, the sharing of results, and the leveraging of findings to affect practice.

Whether political or social, the divisions in our society seem to be growing swiftly and aggressively. And with these divides come new challenges in facilitating the exchange of information. The Center for Media Engagement proposes a new approach to tackling the issue: connective democracy.

Newsroom Resources

5 Ways to Connect with Local Communities

September 15, 2021

Five strategies for connecting with local communities that come directly from speaking with people who feel the media can do better to reach them. Read More
5 Ways to Connect with Local Communities

How Newsrooms Can Help Bridge Divides: Lessons fro...

July 8, 2021

Learn from a panel of experts on how newsrooms can better understand their communities and humanize those with diverse views by using the principles of connective democracy. Read More
How Newsrooms Can Help Bridge Divides: Lessons from SXSW 2021

Helping Audiences Find Common Ground

October 9, 2020

Political divides are pushing coworkers, friends, and families apart. Newsrooms can help people find common ground by sharing these strategies for approaching difficult discussions. Read More
Helping Audiences Find Common Ground

How Newsrooms Can Help Unite a Divided America

February 7, 2019

Bringing opposing groups together is a challenge, but it’s an important task the media needs to take on. Read More
How Newsrooms Can Help Unite a Divided America

SXSW Panel

Our country is faced with a multitude of divides – political, social, geographic, and economical. Bridging these divides is a long and difficult undertaking, but newsrooms can play a critical role in the process. In a panel presented at SXSW 2021, the Center for Media Engagement convened a group of experts to help newsrooms better understand their communities and humanize those with diverse views by using the principles of connective democracy. The discussion focused on answering three questions:

  1. How can newsrooms approach a coverage plan that focuses on what people share in common and presents diverse viewpoints?
  2. How can newsrooms frame stories in ways that offer people the news they need?
  3. How can newsrooms use social media to connect people to their newsroom and their community?

Panelists:

Gina M. Masullo, Associate Director, Center for Media Engagement
Erica Anderson, Engagement Journalist and Moderator, Spaceship Media
Alicia Bell, Organizing Manager, Free Press

Research

How Local Newsrooms Can Better Connect with Conser...

August 16, 2021

The Center for Media Engagement partnered with Trusting News and 27 local newsrooms to investigate how news organizations can help bridge the divide between the media and American conservative and…
How Local Newsrooms Can Better Connect with Conservative and Right-Leaning Audiences

Communicating Science Across Political Divides

August 4, 2021

The Center for Media Engagement asked U.S. citizens about their expectations related to how scientists communicate with them. Read More
Communicating Science Across Political Divides

How to Connect with Disinvested Local News Audienc...

July 7, 2021

The Center for Media Engagement partnered with the Dallas Free Press to explore how Dallas residents perceive local media and how they think that media can better serve their communities.…
How to Connect with Disinvested Local News Audiences
contentious issues

What Americans Know and Don’t Know about Con...

May 20, 2021

We asked adults about a range of hot-button issues to find out how much the American public knows about contentious political issues. Read More
What Americans Know and Don’t Know about Contentious Issues

What Americans Know and Don’t Know about Fac...

March 3, 2021

The Center for Media Engagement asked American adults to answer questions about how platforms like Facebook and Google operate. The answers we received revealed important gaps in what the American…
What Americans Know and Don’t Know about Facebook and Google

News Distrust Among Black Americans is a Fixable P...

November 18, 2020

The Center for Media Engagement asked Black Americans how news organizations can better cover their communities to help bridge the divide between them and the media. Read More
News Distrust Among Black Americans is a Fixable Problem
MORE RESEARCH