In late 2016, the JTM Developmental Evaluation team held a “writing workshop” to explore how our understanding of the principles identified at EE2015 had deepened, as well as what we’d learned about the roles, activities, values, assumptions, and challenges of the emerging local communications systems.


Attributes of Civic Communications

No one knows what forms civic communications will ultimately take. Local conditions – demographics, geography, assets, stakeholders, etc. – drive the development and success of locally grown solutions. Thus, "best practices" won’t be recipes each community can follow, but “promising principles” could help communities design communication tools, strategies, and practices that serve their unique conditions.


The table that follows summarizes the Framework. Some parts of it are more clearly in focus than others. The “Going Deeper with the Data” section below delves further into each of the Framework’s attributes.


Civic Communications Framework
Guiding Principles
Nothing About Us Without Us* Consciously and continuously reexamine who is engaged
  • Be clear and honest about whom the work serves
  • Confirm community members are engaged and contributing to the civic communication system
Speak Truth to Empower* Recognize the multiple ways that information empowers
  • Inquire into and understand the power dynamics and the opportunities to increase self-determination, autonomy, and social justice
Listening is our Superpower* Be relational, not transactional
  • Support authentic truth-telling
  • Support learning and discovery


Attributes and Values* Encourages authentic expression and empathy
  • Generates new ideas
  • Deepens understanding and shared meaning, while also contextualizing
  • Interdependent, reciprocal, and transparent
  • Inclusive and connecting across differences
  • Emphasizes inquiry, deliberation and dialogue
  • Inspires accountability
  • Shifts power
  • Nurtures action and voice
Activities* Meaningful conversation
  • Community arts and storytelling
  • Abundant, trustworthy journalism
  • Accessing information, participating in civic life and open government
  • Growing media, storytelling and communications talent
  • Orienteering to stay in harmony with agreed-upon principles
Roles * Community weaver
  • Guardian(s)/Steward(s)
  • Coach
  • Allies/Partners
  • Other skills: dialogic practices, appreciative practices, investigative and storytelling


Indicators of Success
  • Fosters trustworthy relationships
  • Encourages learning
  • Develops the capacity for holistic thinking
  • Inspires organizational responsibility and accountability