Campus: San Diego State University -- December 8, 2003

SDSU To Launch New Forum For Civic Engagement: 'Envision San Diego: The Creative Community' To Bring Media, Neighborhoods Together

San Diego State University announced today the formation of a pioneering forum for civic engagement and journalism called "Envision San Diego: The Creative Community."

The initiative is a groundbreaking partnership between KPBS, SignOnSanDiego.com (The San Diego Union-Tribune's leading local online news and information source), and SDSU's International Center for Communications that is designed to enhance citizen awareness of and commitment to solving major public policy issues affecting the development of the region. It will do this through a combination of in-studio programs, neighborhood-based online discussions and town hall meetings that will begin in early 2004.

An official launch for Envision San Diego also is planned for March 31 as part of SDSU Month, a monthlong celebration of the contributions of the university's students, faculty and alumni to the community.

Backing the partnership are a large number of corporations and civic organizations from throughout the region that have formed a new collaborative - the City of the Future Steering Committee - and will assist and advise the media partnership. (A list of members is attached at the end of this release.)

"Envision San Diego: The Creative Community provides a missing link and a model for the debate and discussion in communities across the country that are trying to reinvent themselves for the new global knowledge-based economy and society," said SDSU President Stephen L. Weber. "What has been missing in our own discussions is the recognition of the enormous role the media play in fostering civic awareness. You cannot have an informed and effective citizenry if it does not know the issues, and the media plays a vital role in that informative effort."

SDSU's International Center for Communications, under the guidance of Executive Director John M. Eger, initiated this new partnership and has worked on the City of the Future initiative since 1993. The center recently released a seminal report called "The Creative Community" in which it defined a creative community as one "that fully recognizes the basic shift in the structure of the global economy from one based on the production of goods and services to one based on the production, storage, transfer and use of knowledge or information; and, as such, promotes: 1) connectivity to ensure we have the new information infrastructures for the 21st century; 2) collaboration and civic engagement to provide the kind of leadership the digital age requires; and 3) creativity in all its forms - in the schools, in the workplace, and throughout the community."

Doug Myrland, general manager of KPBS, emphasized that the March 31 launch of "Envision San Diego: The Creative Community" will represent the start of a comprehensive five-year program in civic engagement for his station and other participants. "In partnership with SignOnSanDiego.com and other media outlets in the region, we hope to take the discussions in our studios and online to every neighborhood in the region, and in turn to give every neighborhood and the individuals in those neighborhoods an opportunity to become directly involved in helping shape our future," he said.

Ron James, Content Manager of SignOnSanDiego.com, said, "Envision San Diego: The Creative Community will be another major initiative on our part to help citizens not only know more about their community, but help them better understand what we can become and achieve together with their direct participation."

Over the next several weeks, readers, listeners and viewers will be encouraged by KPBS television and radio and SignOnSanDiego.com to begin expressing their views about San Diego's future. During SDSU Month on March 31, KPBS will host a town hall meeting at its studios and produce a special one-hour public affairs program featuring what the steering committee believes are some of the best ideas for ensuring San Diego's success well into the 21st century.

For more information on Envision San Diego: The Creative Community, contact SDSU's International Center for Communications at (619) 594-6933 or john.eger@sdsu.edu.

Media Contact: Jason Foster, (619) 594-2585, foster@mail.sdsu.edu


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