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Digital Government by Darrell M. West

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CHAPTER 6

Public Outreach and Responsiveness

TECHNOLOGY ADVOCATES often have touted the potential of new inventions to transform civic life and bring citizens closer to government.1 At the time they were introduced, for example, the telegraph and telephone were considered major opportunities for improving mass communications. With each device, citizens could transmit information much more rapidly. This improvement in “real time” cross-continental transmission made it easier for people to find out what was happening all around the country.

Both inventions proved to have tremendous value to news organizations in their efforts to cover far-flung events. Starting with the Mexican-American War in 1846, the telegraph allowed newspapers to transmit ...

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