Reading the Civic Information Handbook

Audio of this conversation is available via your favorite podcast service. This spring, Karen Kornbluh and Adrienne Goldstein from the German Marshall Fund’s Digital Innovation and Democracy Initiative published a document they call the Civic Information Handbook, which they produced in collaboration with University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP). Civic information—“important information needed to participate in democracy—is too often drowned out by viral falsehoods, including conspiracy theories.” The Handbook is intended as a resource to help knowledge-producing organizations in the “amplification of fact-based information.” To learn more about the handbook and the ideas on which it is based, Justin Hendrix spoke to GMF’s Goldstein and Kathryn Peters, the executive director of CITAP. The Civic Information Handbook. Karen Kornbluh and Adrienne Goldstein, May 2023. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of the discussion. Justin Hendrix: What was the motivation behind producing this document? Adrienne Goldstein: So, we are a policy organization and so had developed different tech policy recommendations for how to confront the amplification of conspiracy theories and extremism online. And so as part of this work, we had also done empirical case studies of how these narratives spread, and we’re realizing that as much as we need these policy proposals, we also need civic information providers, so election officials or public health officials or climate scientists or advocates to be playing the game as well. And so as much as we wish that it was enough to stand at…Reading the Civic Information Handbook