Inter-organizational digital divide: Civic groups' media strategies in the Trinity River Corridor Project Page: 1
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First Monday, Volume 16, Number 11 - 7 November 2011
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PEER-REV EWED 1O U R NAL O N TH E I NTERNET
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 organizations.
3. Background: The Trinity River Corridor Project
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Ignatow, Gabriel & Schuett, Jessica Lynn. Inter-organizational digital divide: Civic groups' media strategies in the Trinity River Corridor Project, article, November 7, 2011; [Chicago, Illinois]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc78305/m1/1/: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Public Affairs and Community Service.