Poynter Institute commentator Butch Ward lookS at an experiment that will inviteÂ opinion leaders in Philadelphia to join a public discussion about how toÂ make theirsÂ “The Next Great City.”Â TheÂ discussionÂ is being run byÂ Chris Satullo, a columnist for the Philadelphia Enquirer, working with the University of Pennsylvania’s Project on Civic Engagement.
In his posting Ward writes:
“(The public discourse)Â will culminate in January 2008 when participants in the project present the new mayor and city council with an agenda for the city’s future and seek their responses and commitments . . .
” . . . The Inquirer-Penn projects are built around public forums, moderated conversations held throughout the campaign at locations around Philadelphia. Satullo says experience showed that the conversations are most productive when moderated; otherwise, they risk being unfocused and unproductive. “
How fitting that this experiment inÂ participatory democracyÂ willÂ occur in the city of Benjamin FranklinÂ who wasÂ a social organizer in addition to his other talents.
I’ll start looking for other examples of media focusing on civic engagement or, as I prefer to think of it, as fostering a sense of political efficacy. Any help appreciated in findingÂ items of a similar sought.
Meanwhile, good luck Philly. Suggestion number one for self-improvement: get rid of the cheese steak. It’s so . . . Â transfatty.