Date: November 7, 2011
Creator: Ignatow, Gabriel & Schuett, Jessica Lynn
Description: This article discusses a study on civic groups' media strategies in the Trinity River Corridor project. Abstract: This study investigates how leaders of civic groups make decisions about using new and social media versus older forms of media. Drawing from theory and empirical research on the social effects of new media, we focus on whether new media is used in a way that lowers barriers to ordinary citizens' participation in local politics, or else contributes to a "digital divide" between elite and non-elite civic groups. To explore these issues, we conducted interviews with leaders of eight civic groups involved in the Trinity River Corridor development project in Dallas, Texas. We also interviewed local journalists, and analyzed the eight civic groups' Web sites, social media sites, and blogs, as well as blogs that linked to the groups' sites. We find that new and social media were used mainly by organizations that were not directly involved in major political actions, and that for the two groups most directly involved in political actions, the wealthier and more powerful group was better connected to other organizations that did use new and social media. The findings reveal a sharp digital divide between networks of civic ...
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