The primary breakthrough from reviewing JTM’s work over this past year came in recognizing that our task is not to reimagine and reinvent journalism but rather to reimagine journalism in context of a system of communication that fosters trustworthy relationships, encourages learning, develops the capacity for holistic thinking, and inspires organizational responsibility and accountability. From our observations of the projects, we discovered these indicators are most successful when directly linked to community well-being. They are described more fully below.
We further believe communities achieve these outcomes only by including those who have been most invisible and disenfranchised by the current system. Those outside the dominant culture are central to the reinvention, not only of journalism but of the system of freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment.

Finally, we came to see the purpose of civic communications as supporting communities and democracy to thrive. Because civic communications is a system, composed of aspects like abundant, trustworthy journalism, meaningful conversation, community arts and storytelling, and information access and open government, it is most effectively addressed as a loose-knit whole. Just as the press has company in the First Amendment – freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition – journalism serves best when it is part of a system of civic communication.external image image?w=316&h=172&rev=68&ac=1
Interestingly, the system of freedoms the nation’s Founders defined as the foundation of a free society in the First Amendment parallels the elements we identified in a civic communications system:
  • To respect differences – including diversity beyond religious differences;
  • To express what we hold dear – including voices that have been silent or silenced;
  • To share stories – including journalism and community arts and storytelling;
  • To convene around what matters – including meaningful interactions among people with a diversity of perspectives informed through access to quality information; and
  • To act together – including but by no means limited to letting government know what we need and expect from it