A game-changing technological advance—the combination of horizontal drilling with slickwater hydraulic fracturing—has opened up a vast new energy resource for development right under our feet. The Marcellus+ play demands citizens, landowners, communities, businesses, environmental and civic leadership to make difficult choices in view of competing concerns: water use and disposal, air quality, infrastructure development and maintenance, land management, economic growth and myriad community impacts. Supporting the best possible, science-informed, decision making in this complex ecology requires collective knowledge-building, advanced dialogue and data sharing between a diverse set of stakeholders. To this end, we are developing a new, participatory civic media initiative and public engagement in science (PES) effort focused on Marcellus natural gas development.
Civic media is about creating a sense of community and shared destiny at the local level by having people understand their lives are connected with other people and how they will be impacted by policy decisions being made. It means developing media in response to local community needs, and generating publics around issues for effective engagement. Engaged media supports behaviors like choice, conversation, collaboration, curation, creation, and sharing to leverage the social and participatory aspects of online digital media platforms.
Our goal is to create a stronger, more vibrant, and responsive regional public media system that reaches audiences across platforms, builds media collaborations and partnerships with domain experts and communities.