Latest Notebook Entries

Two Decades of Shifting News Sources

Thursday, October 10, 2013

An interactive chart based on 28 Pew Research Center polls from 1993 to 2013 shows that television as a primary news source for the public has dropped from a high of 88% to a current level of 69%; and newspapers from a high of 63% to 28% currently. Meantime, the internet has risen steadily, passing radio in 2003, newspapers in 2008, and continuing to close the gap with television. Read more

Recapping the "Beyond the PDF" Roundtable

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On February 15, 2012, the Center for Digital Information convened representatives of more than forty-five leading policy research organizations, foundations, government agencies and the White House. The packed roundtable discussed how the field is adapting its information production and dissemination practices to keep pace with a rapidly evolving digital environment. The event was developed in partnership with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Read more

What Does "Beyond the PDF" Look Like?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A look at several interactive information projects produced by the Center for Digital Information in partnership with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation research grantees Read more

Track Data Trends, Digital Innovations with CDI's Dashboard

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The CDI Dashboard is an interactive look at the ongoing digital information revolution. Use the dashboard to track key data trends, follow central storylines, and explore innovative examples of the changing form of information in an evolving digital age. Read more

Philanthropy and the Digital Public Dialogue: Challenges and New Opportunities

Monday, April 23, 2012

This post previewed a session convened by the Center for Digital Information at the Council on Foundations annual conference in Los Angeles on April 30, 2012. Communication scholars and internet experts joined philanthropy executives to discuss disruptive changes in the technology and media landscape, and how foundations can remain effective participants in an increasingly digital public arena. Read more

The 'Digital Public Sphere' and the 'Indifference of 25 Year Olds'

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Building on posts by AP's Jonathan Stray and NYU's Clay Shirky, we look at just how digital the "digital public sphere" really is, using data from the Pew Research Center on Americans' use of various media for news about national and international issues. Read more

How can social sector information avoid the filter bubble?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A dispatch from the Communications Network annual conference in Boston, following a plenary by "Filter Bubble" author Eli Pariser Read more

Getting Down to Business: CDI Announces Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A 12-month $387,621 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication will establish and pilot CDI's programs to integrate digital innovation with the policy research field. Read more

'Diffusion of Knowledge and Understanding' in a Digital Age

Monday, June 13, 2011

Some quick thoughts on The Economist's article comparing the societal impact of IBM and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Read more

Data Are Not Information

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Data and information are not synonyms. Data only have the potential to inform. They are half the equation. It is communication that transforms data into information, and in a digital age the communication landscape has been fundamentally altered. This requires using new mechanisms born natively in interactive media to effectively turn data into meaningful information. (This is an update of a post from August 2010) Read more

A Digital-First Dissemination Model

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Data Gatherers themselves should use digital-native techniques in the first telling of the stories in their data. In addition to injecting subject matter expertise into the online discussion of complex issues, it will create the welcome byproduct of better, cleaner data to support subsequent interactive development. Read more

Dear Digital Journalists, Take Me To Your Leaders. Love, Non-Journalists

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A February 26 New York Times interactive package on natural gas wells provides a fresh example of the emerging information forms that are unique to digital media. This post offers an overview of the package and argues that more non-journalism organizations should emulate this innovative approach in their dissemination strategies. Read more

Comment on Webinar about Foundation Annual Reports

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A comment following a webinar hosted by the Communications Network on the state of foundation annual reports. My interest is in the move to make digital versions of these documents and what shape those efforts are taking. Read more

Slide Video: The Changing Digital Information Landscape

Friday, November 5, 2010

This presentation was given to a set of foundation communication professionals, academics and policy research executives on October 22, 2010. It lays out the case for a Center for Digital Information to assist policy organizations in using new media to better communicate their original information and data on issues of public importance. It followed a presentation by Lee Rainie of the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project. Read more

A Roadmap to Modern Digital Communication

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This draft roadmap contrasts a digital distribution model of communication that dominates many public policy organizations' activities with a modern digital information playbook -- interactive, mobile and unmediated. Read more

Digital Innovation Needed Wherever Information is Produced, Not Just Newsrooms

Monday, September 13, 2010

New skill development, capacity building, innovation and creativity in digital rendering are needed wherever information is created, not just in newsrooms, and particularly within organizations that are increasingly direct information providers on issues of vital public importance. Read more

Data Are Not Information

Monday, August 2, 2010

Data and information are not synonyms. Data only have the potential to inform. They are half the equation. It is communication that transforms data into information, and in a digital age the communication landscape has been fundamentally altered. This requires using new mechanisms born natively in interactive media to effectively turn data into meaningful information. Read more

Communications Network Interview: The Next Evolution? Information Made Only for the Web

Monday, July 26, 2010

CDI spoke with the Communications Network about how over the past 15 years, we have spent a great deal of time thinking about how to disseminate content, but now it is time to fundamentally rethink the nature of that content -- considering forms that weren't possible before the advent of the Internet. Read more

A Response to David Brooks Column on Books-vs.-Internet

Friday, July 9, 2010

Jeff Stanger responds to New York Times columnist David Brooks's column on books-vs.-Internet. In order for important information to remain prestigious, it must adopt a new interactive language, not simply clone itself as PDF versions of static documents. Read more

Comment on Lavrusik "Newspapers Are Still Dying" Mashable Piece

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

CDI wrote this response to a June 22, 2010 article on by Vadim Lavrusik, "Newspapers Are Still Dying, But the News Is Not Going Anywhere" Read more

Communications Network Interview with IssueLab: If a Research Report Falls in the Forest

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

In the I-Couldn't-Agree-More category, Gabriela Fitz, Co-Director of IssueLab, makes a strong case that research products need to be viewed as "communications," rather than as "reports." Read more

Pew Internet Survey of Experts: "Rendering of Knowledge" is Changing

Monday, June 21, 2010

A survey of Internet experts by the Pew Internet Project found that a large majority expect fundamental changes over the next decade in the "rendering of knowledge" as a result of new technology. However, in the first fifteen years of widespread use of the Internet, policy research organizations haven't changed the static modes they use to communicate their findings. CDI was created to help rethink how these organizations render their knowledge in interactive media. Read more

The Path to a Center for Digital Information

Monday, June 21, 2010

Director Jeff Stanger discusses the path to starting the Center for Digital Information, how policy research organizations' online habits have changed little in the first fifteen years of widespread use of the Web, and the importance for organizations to rethink their mechanisms for communicating research findings in a digital society. Read more

CDI Pilot Study Shows Digital Information Lagging

Friday, June 18, 2010

CDI reports the findings of a pilot study measuring the extent to which research organizations engage in "digital information" — using the unique interactive capabilities of digital media to communicate findings. The content analysis results were striking: 98% of policy research online is static text and PDFs, and only 2% uses interactive methods unique to the Internet. Read more

Digital Distribution vs. Digital Information

Friday, June 18, 2010

An important distinction between "digital distribution" and "digital information" underpins CDI's approach. Digital distribution is characterized by transmitting reports, articles, and white papers as static text and PDFs. By contrast, digital information means to communicate natively in new media, using the unique interactive capabilities of the technology. Unfortunately, the policy research field still engages almost entirely in digital distribution. Read more

The Problem: A Digital Information Gap

Monday, June 14, 2010

Interactivity and behavior distinguish digital media from earlier dissemination vehicles, creating enormous opportunities for information providers. Yet there remains a wide "digital information gap" between the large amount of policy research and data created and the small proportion that seizes these opportunities. Policy researchers use digital media almost exclusively to distribute, not to engage and inform through interactivity. Read more

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