Democracy in action: A case study of InternetforEveryone.org

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Katie Gay (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site: http://library.uncw.edu/
Advisor
Donna King

Abstract: In this research, I investigated the process by which a media reform organization involves the public in informing media policy. Through a case study I examined the InternetforEveryone.org initiative of the media reform organization Free Press, and the democratic development of media policy, specifically the framework for a national broadband plan. I performed my research within the larger framework of the United States democracy. For that reason, I investigate the democratic values and practices of the initiative. To inform my research, I engaged in multiple forms of ethnographic methods, including participant observations, open-ended in-depth interviews, and examination of internal and external documents. I analyzed my findings according to the initiative’s goals, strategies, and tactics and framed them within resource mobilization theory (RMT). My findings reveal the initiative’s operations support the basic tenets of RMT. I also found that the initiative was operating in a democratic manner on three levels. Their primary goal and the manner in which they engaged the public and their coalition members were all democratically significant. In addition, I call attention to the role of public sociology in civil society. As an intern at Free Press, I had the opportunity to engage in public sociology with policy implications. I reflect on this experience and the tension between being a public sociologist and working in the field. Lastly, I recommend further research into the successful adoption rates of policy recommendations developed through deliberative town hall models such as InternetforEveryone.org’s. I also recommend further research into the effect the Internet in general, and the use of social networking sites specifically, is having on modern organizing.

Additional Information

Publication
Other
An Internship Project Submitted to the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Keywords
Community organization, Digital divide, Internet industry, Mass media policy
Subjects
Mass media policy
Internet industry
Digital divide
Community organization