Washington, D.C. – Fifteen leaders from diverse backgrounds have accepted invitations to serve on the newly formed Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy. The Commission’s membership was announced today by Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Knight Commission, the first national panel in 40 years to look at how information flows in communities, is a joint project of Knight Foundation and the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program.
This blue ribbon commission, whose membership is listed below, brings together leaders from new and traditional communications businesses, local communities, nonprofits, and government.
"Information is a core community need," said Walter Isaacson, president and CEO, The Aspen Institute. "We are fortunate to have such a diverse, open-minded and innovative group of individuals assembled to address this topic which is so important to our democracy going forward. We believe we can put the power of technology to use in strengthening community information, and through that information, communities themselves."
"The charge of the Commission is straightforward," says Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of Knight Foundation. "Articulate the information needs of communities in this democracy; determine where we are today; and propose public policy that will encourage market solutions."
The Commission will be led by co-chairs Ted Olson, former Solicitor General of the United States, and Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Search Product and User Experience at Google. Peter Shane, a distinguished law professor at Ohio State University Law School, is the executive director.
The Commission will hold its first meeting on June 24, 2008 in the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. In this first meeting, the Commission will address the integration of technology and the future of community information, economic sustainability, and the changing media landscape. The meeting will be web cast live on the Commission’s web site: www.knightcomm.org.
The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy is a 15-member commission assembled to recommend both public and private measures that would help American communities better meet their information needs. The Commission’s research-based approach will examine the following three questions: What are the information needs of communities in our American democracy? What are the current trends affecting how community information needs are met? And what changes will ensure that community information needs will be better met in the future?
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on ideas and projects that create transformational change. Nearly 20 years ago, the Knight Foundation created the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. That first Knight Commission has helped restore intercollegiate athletics to the control of university presidents.
The Aspen Institute, founded in 1950, is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering enlightened leadership and open-minded dialogue. Its seminars, policy programs, conferences and leadership development initiatives seek to promote nonpartisan inquiry and timeless values. The Institute is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with campuses in Aspen, Colo., and on the Wye River near the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Its international network includes partner Aspen Institutes in Berlin, Rome, Lyon, Tokyo, New Delhi, and Bucharest, and leadership initiatives in Africa, Central America, and India. The Communications and Society Program is one of 21 policy programs at the Aspen Institute. It addresses the societal and democratic impact of the communications and information sectors.