A 2009 report from the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy lists 15 points needed to meet people’s personal and civic information needs.

The report, “Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age,” states “America needs ‘informed communities’ ” to carry out America’s democratic values of openness, inclusion, participation, empowerment and the common pursuit of truth and the public interest.

Part of that list also can be important to schools carrying out a two-fold task: building informed communities for the digital age and training students to be active and effective citizens in digital media use.

Four especially noteworthy points are:
• People need convenient access to both civic and life-enhancing information, without regard to income or social status.
• Digital and media literacy should become widely taught in schools, public libraries and other community centers.
Local media (and that would include student journalism) — including print, broadcast and new media — reflect the full reality of the communities they represent.
People have a deep understanding of the role of free speech
 and free press rights in maintaining a democratic community.

In the spirit of these four points, we share this updated Principal’s Guide in the hope it helps move us all toward the goal of informed communities.

See also:
Journalism Educator Standards
The value of empowering student decision-making
Six principles behind news literacy
Media literate consumers
Career Technical Education (CTE)
Civic engagement and journalism
Partnership in 21st Century Skills
Common Core Standards
Ties to educational initiatives