The news landscape is changing rapidly, both in terms of business models and in terms of who is producing and disseminating news. As news organizations seek their place in this new landscape, it's worth considering the idea that civics is changing as well. Affected by some of the same forces as the news industry, the shape of civic participation is changing, with new forms of engagement taking the stage as other forms of participation decrease in efficacy. One path forward for news organizations is to focus on preparing citizens to participate in these new forms of civics, focused on the idea that effective, engaged citizens are the most valuable customers for high quality news.
Ethan Zuckerman is director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, and a principal research scientist at MIT's Media Lab. He is the author of "Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection", published by W.W. Norton in June 2013. With Rebecca MacKinnon, Ethan co-founded international blogging community Global Voices. Global Voices showcases news and opinions from citizen media in over 150 nations and thirty languages. Ethan's research focuses on issues of internet freedom, civic engagement through digital tools and international connections through media. He blogs at http://ethanzuckerman.com/blog and lives in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts.