Project Manager – Jeff Prudhomme
You might think of a democratic society as one that is involved in a grand conversation, a public conversation, about where that society might be headed and how it might get there. Our public talk, our public discourse, covers the many different ways that we, as citizens can communicate with each other about public matters. We communicate as individuals and as groups. We talk to each other–and we talk with our government. And government talks to us. Thanks to new communication technologies, our public talk is flowing in more directions than ever–and opening up new access points to join the public conversation.
Sixteen of your fellow citizens came together over the course of roughly a year to think about the public policy concerns that might emerge when we think about public discourse in these broad terms. In doing so, they considered a variety of different ways to think of public discourse and what it means for us to be citizens in a democracy. They discussed their concerns about access to public discourse, about who or what might shape our public conversation, and about the values or goals that might shape our policy decisions about public discourse.
In the end, these panelists developed seven contrasting policy possibilities that might shape how America talks. These broad policy approaches emerged under 3 key themes:
1. Policies that focus on how we might get people to participate in public discourse:
- Teach the People Well: Educate for Collaborative Public Discourse
- Use Carrots and Sticks to Bring More People in the Door
2. Policies that focus on how people might gain access to public discourse:
- Here Comes Everybody: Open Up Public Discourse for All
- Money Talks: Let the Free Market Determine Access to Public Discourse
3. Policies that focus on improving the quality of public discourse
- Quality In, Quality Out: Quality Control for Public Discourse
- Make Words Matter: Connect Public Talk to Public Action
- Make a Game of It: Use Competition to Get Better Ideas into Public Discourse
You can download a copy of this report from our “Discussion Reports” page, which lists all of our published reports, or, to download a copy directly, you can click either on the blue pdf button in the sidebar or on either of the following links: Helping America Talk (36 pages/967 KB) or, en Español, Ayudando a Hablar (36 páginas/1 MB).