Civic Activism Programme - Information Tools
We’re coming to the end of our Civic Activism Programme but that doesn’t mean you can’t check out our great Civic Activism website.
It has a huge amount of information and resources that will help you find new ways to engage with the public. We hope it will help the Northern Ireland Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector expand what we all mean by ‘’democracy’’.
To help you break it down, we have organised the tools into 6 different sections, and have outlined the tools in each of them in a series of blogs. Next up: Information Tools
Information is always key to having a substantive and useful public debate. But today, it seems, we are drowning in data, with more and more information flowing through our inboxes and our social media than ever before.
In spite of this preponderance of information, keeping sight of solid facts and analysis is harder than ever.
The civic activism toolkit offers three different resources for those who want to ensure access to reliable information.
Citizen Reporting involves individual reporting on current affairs in real time, mostly though social media platforms. Social reporting events tend to be conferences and workshops, while citizen reporting tends to revolve around news breaking from a specific place. Anyone can participate.
Citizen Science is research conducted by non-professionals in order to increase public participation in scientific research and raise awareness. Members of the public can contribute in a variety of ways, for example by providing small bits of data about their environments.
One prominent example is the Great Sunflower Project, which started in 2008 in the US in response to studies showing that bee populations were in trouble. People across the US began collecting and sending in data on pollinators around them, and now the project possesses the largest single body of information about bee pollinators in North America.
Locally, Lecale Conservation and Ulster Wildlife have been conducting a citizen science campaign to monitor water quality in Strangford Lough.
The rise in open data and advances in digital technology have enabled members of the public to access facts more than ever before.
Simultaneously, there has been increased access to fact checking tools – websites that tend to focus on enabling members of the public to check facts for themselves. Groups behind these sites tend to be independent non-profit organisations, for example www.factcheck.org, an American site run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center.