Books -- the People's Right to Know: Media, Democracy, and the Information Highway Edited by Frederick Williams and John V. Pavlik

Article excerpt

*Williams, Frederick, and John V. Pavlik, Eds. (1994). The People's Right to Know: Media, Democracy, and the Information Highway. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. 258 pp. Paperback.

The cover of The People's Right to Know: Media, Democracy, and the Information Highway depicts Uncle Sam, driving a steam roller, and people running to jump aboard the already-crowded vehicle that is leveling a new road. This picture best explains the message of this book: It's time to get on board, because things on the information highway are happening fast--catch on now, or be left in the dust.

This book offers some compelling discussions, information, and resources for the trip. It discusses the hows and whys of electronic information services. What will these changes do to existing services in the community? Who will benefit most? What role will government have in this development? What technologies, hardware, and software are necessary to make the change? These are just a few of the topics addressed.

The People's Right to Know began with a policy paper written by Williams during his 1991 residential fellowship at the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center; many of the articles originated at a research roundtable in February 1992 and a national conference that October. The three sections discuss "The Shape and Feel of a National Information Service," "Citizen Information Services and the Public Interest," and "Policymaking Regarding Citizen Information Services. …

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