Why Communicators Should Advocate for Digital Inclusion
Louisville, KY (October 5, 2020) – I am convinced that Digital Inclusion is something anyone in the communications industry should understand and work toward.
It is, at its very core, part of why good communication practices matter — whether you’re in journalism, public relations, marketing, telecommunications, or other parts of the industry.
The NDIA defines Digital Inclusion as activities “to ensure that all individuals and communities, including the most disadvantaged, have access to and use of Information and Communication Technologies.”
I know all of us in “comms” are busy, but take 30 seconds and really think about that definition: ensuring all individuals “have access to and use of Information and Communication Technology.” That means everyone should have access to affordable, high-speed internet, also referred to as broadband.
Your message, whether it’s marketing outreach for your company or a general news story, loses much of its impact if a large part of the population can’t even see it. Even before the pandemic, data showed the following lacked access to broadband:
- 18.3 million Americans
- 45% of low income families
- 22% of rural residents
- 12 million school-aged children
That is a LOT of people being left out.A lot of people who do not have the technology they need to fully participate in our society, democracy, and economy. It’s kids who can’t get the information they need for school; adults who can’t work from home; senior citizens who are being left isolated, even more so in this difficult time; and small business owners and America’s farmers who can’t access what they need to thrive.
All that information that you and I send out never makes it to those millions of Americans.
Sure, maybe our messaging isn’t always spot on or our writing isn’t great that day, but they can’t even complain about it because they’ll never see it. But there are things we each can do to change that.
It’s our job to get the message out about why Digital Inclusion matters. We must remind our coworkers, neighbors, bosses, community leaders, and others that everyone needs access to get the information and resources they need to take part in our society and improve their quality of life.
The very fact that YOU went into the communications industry says you care that others see your story, message, or information. Whether you’re working for a for-profit or nonprofit company, advocating for Digital Inclusion and Digital Equity should be priority.
About the author: Jessica Denson is the Director of Communications for Connected Nation. In that role, Jessica is responsible for overall brand strategy, which includes building program recognition through digital communications, media relations, and marketing opportunities. She is also an Emmy- and Murrow Award winning-journalist with more than 20 years of experience in the news industry.