Community Information Toolkit Version 1.0 Preview

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Building Stronger Communities through Information Exchange
Publication Date
Communities, Journalism, Media Innovation

The Community Information Toolkit is an easy-to-use set of tools to help local leaders assess and improve their community’s information system and advance their particular goals for a better community. Since it’s a work in progress, we’ve named the Toolkit Version 1.0. We’re looking for feedback to create Version 1.1 and hope to inspire individuals to test the tools in their community.

The availability and use of credible news and information is one of the most powerful elements of community change. It underpins our ability to build strong communities. Yet how do we take stock of our community news and information flows? The toolkit is designed help people assess the strengths and weaknesses of their communities news and media ecology, understand why that matters to their work and how they might take action.

Who is it for?

The toolkit is community leaders who want to harness the power of information to advance their goals for a better community. The toolkit can be used as:

· A strategic investment diagnostic tool to help guide organizations and funders involved in supporting media, news and information efforts

· A tool to help organizations gather insights about how individuals they work with and/or serve use and exchange information, in order to strengthen the design and implementation of their programs.

· A tool to support organizations involved in advocating improvements in their community's media environment.

Report Partners: The toolkit was created by the Knight Foundation in partnership with the Monitor Institute, with advisory support from Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.


The toolkit is designed to be a community-driven process, not a detailed research exercise. We wanted it to be affordable, easily replicable and modular – so that people could follow the process in its entirety or use individual components and combine them with other planning efforts. It contains four sections:

· Getting Started – which helps people explore the role information can play in addressing local opportunities and challenges

· Designing Your Community Information Assessment – which provides guidance and two new research tools (a Checklist and a Scavenger Hunt) to gather insights about a community’s information and news ecology

· Creating Your Information Scorecard – which suggests a simple visual reporting tool for analyzing the results gathered

· Planning for Action – which outlines a few next steps to move from insight to action

There is also a guide on facilitating a community workshop on local news and information.

About our Communities focus area

We invest in civic innovators who help cities attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of engagement.

About our Field research methodology

Field research is primary and secondary research done for Knight Foundation.