Understanding Information Exchange in Montana During the Digital Era
“Like it or not, each of us is a news consumer -- which in today’s social turbulence means each of us is going to feel the mockery of disagreeable events all too often. But if the consumer lets the distaste and distress which come along with more agreeable information turn him from the news, he forfeits any chance to influence what’s happening in the world. It’s a costly forfeit."
Ivan and Carol Doig
News: A Consumer’s Guide (1972)
“With today's...overabundance...of information, you can fine tune it to whatever you really feel the world is like. And so what I think is happening, more and more people are choosing to be...self actualized with their news sources versus actually being educated. I think that the plethora of information that we have now...is sometimes almost a disservice...to the real truth that's going on. And it's really hard to know what exactly is going on.”
Timothy Lee “Buck” Buchanan
In 1972, Ivan and Carol Doig co-authored, News: A Consumer’s Guide, a book to better familiarize average citizens with topics such as accuracy, viewpoint, and bias. The Doigs’ text provided an approachable guide to best reading and listening to the news. Although published nearly 50 years ago in a pre-Internet era, this text is surprisingly relevant to and useful for understanding our contemporary information environment.
Inspired by the Doigs’ book and built upon years of research about digital technology, information, and mindfulness, this project is uniquely Montanan, while also entirely relevant to contemporary America. Based upon findings from two statewide surveys and a series of interviews with “everyday Montanans”, this project illustrates how technology, infrastructure, and culture influence information accessibility, reliability, and shareability in Montana and beyond.
Click on an icon to learn more about the project’s background, survey results, interviews, and how this research led to a framework that can aid individuals, communities, and institutions in making more mindful decisions regarding the consumption and (re)creation of information.