I talked about what we are trying to accomplish here in my post, Welcome to Civil Beat. In this post I’d like to explain a bit more about why we chose Civil Beat for our name.
Our mission is to build a new civic square. This is a vision of citizens engaged in conversation around the most important issues in our community, served by a professional staff of reporter-hosts and editors who follow civic issues and topics day in and day out, helping to make sense of and provide context for complex issues.
We see people coming together to learn about and understand the issues, and then engaging in a civil dialogue and debate about values, priorities, goals and aspirations. We know that any important issue is bound to inspire passion and emotion. But we also know that discovering the solutions to most civic challenges requires mutual understanding and compromise. Disagreeing is normal and expected in civil society. Being disagreeable is not.
When we engage with our friends and neighbors in debate about local issues, we’re playing an important role as citizens committed to making our home a better place to live. All issues may not have a simple “right” answer, but we learn from one another as we debate and even as we disagree. And welcoming diverse points of view helps us discover a way forward that makes our community stronger.
We want to provide a place to have those informed and civil debates. Over time, we also hope to reflect the heartbeat of our community, to be its pulse. That’s part of why we chose the word “beat.” Another is that a heartbeat keeps going, day in and day out. That’s one of the contributions our reporter-hosts will make: they will report on the issues every day, without letting go of important issues just because something new comes up in the news. They will be “on the beat,” always looking to serve to our community. They are committed citizens like each of us, and they embrace the opportunity to use their skills to serve and support the rest of us as we learn about the issues and develop a greater understanding of ideas and strategies to move our community forward.
You might have guessed that this is all a bit of an experiment. We’ve never done this before, and we don’t think anyone else has, either. Aside from the name Civil Beat, the whole idea of calling your reporters “reporter-hosts” is just one indication of how this is different. They’re not just reporting the news — they’re engaged in understanding and explaining the issues more deeply, and debating them with the community.
So, welcome to our “experiment” in building a new civic square. Remember, be civil. Be civil to one another: disagree without being disagreeable. Help create a more civil society: ask questions, engage in debate, and learn from people you may disagree with. This civic square can’t happen without you. Join us.