What is The Media Giraffe Project Achieving?


The Media Giraffe Project seeks to serve as an aggregator and convenor of research and analysis on citizen/media participation. Within five years, and based upon an evolving action plan, the project will contribute to realizing three visions:

  1. Mainstream media is prosperously making the transition from primarily print/central and broadcast to primarily web/distributed and interactive, having learned to (a)  embrace broader participation by users, and (b) support continued watchdog reporting through advertising, subscriptions, sponsorships or other means.
  2. U.S. citizens are monitoring and influencing government and civil society through an array of new information-technology services, which both leverage collective wisdom and support multiple voices.
  3. Principles of journalistic ethics and practice -- including fact gathering and reporting of diverse cultures and views -- are core curriculum in U.S. secondary schools and colleges. As a result, the public understands how to both consume and create media which foster participatory democracy and community.


Together, these efforts are intended to uncover and illustrate market forces promoting media responsiveness to the information needs of a sustainable democracy, including support for literacy, civic participation and reflection of justice, equality, fairness, free-speech and open-government values. In addition, they hold the promise of producing ideas for structural rule changes and increasing the competitive and marketing advantages of independent media.

We look for innovation on both the supply and demand sides (in technologies, systems or techniques), which will rekindle the public's interest in civic affairs.

  • On the supply side, technology is creating many new, independent "voices" and also shrinking the number of major companies who run the largest voices -- print and electronic. Some observers are concerned that the news and entertainment industries no longer serve democracy as envisioned by our nation's Founding Fathers. They seek to reform the industry through changes in regulation, or new competition. 
  • On the demand side, some studies document a lack of public interest in civic affairs. Potential causes include:  (a) more adults working longer hours with less time for civic engagement and volunteerism (b) a proliferation of media offering diversionary entertainment (c) diminished quality of news-media offerings.  Observers look for new techniques, technologies or systems to rekindle the public's attention to civic affairs.