The US onAir Network

Learn. Discuss. Engage. 3

Summary

Central US onAir Hub:  us.onair.cc
Model state Hub: va.onair.cc
Launch date: Fall 2022

To reinvigorate our imperiled democracy, US onAir is developing 50 curated, media rich online state governance and election Hubs and a central US Hub. US onAir supports US citizens to become  more informed about and engaged in federal and state governance and elections while facilitating more civil and positive discussions with their representatives, candidates, and fellow Americans.

Our two minute vision video for the US onAir network is below:

OnAir Post: The US onAir Network

About

Students of all ages now have a platform to better communicate with their elected officials – their goals, ideas, and projects for how to improve the lives for All of U.S.

LEARN. 
The US onAir curators aggregate and organize the best publicly available information on federal and state governance and elections. You can learn about YOUR federal and state representatives as well as other federal and state candidates and representatives. You can also learn about the legislative committees and issues you are interested in and the nonprofit organizations promoting democracy and citizen engagement.

DISCUSS.
As an onAir member, you can participate in forum discussions in posts on Hubs that have student onAir Curators moderating the discussions to keep them civil and positive. You can also discuss your concerns and ideas as part of a live zoom meeting with representatives and candidates.

HAVE IMPACT.
Work with your public university to engage with US onAir and and the democratic process through curating posts, moderating forums, producing online interviews and discussions as well as donating to and sponsoring the US onAir network of state Hubs.

Participate in aircast discussions that seek common ground with your fellow citizens and representatives on issues important to you.

Volunteer to a party of your choice.

Vote!!!

Content

US onAir supports US citizens to become more informed about and engaged in federal and state governance and elections while facilitating more civil and positive discussions with their representatives, candidates, and fellow Americans.

The US onAir curators aggregate and organize the best publicly available information on federal and state governance and elections. You can learn about YOUR federal and state representatives as well as other federal and state candidates and representatives. You can also learn about the legislative committees and issues you are interested in and the nonprofit organizations promoting democracy and citizen engagement.

Any web user, on a laptop, desktop computer or smartphone connected to the internet, can freely and easily access content on any Hub in the US onAir network of 50 state governance and election Hubs and this US onAir central Hub.

All US onAir Hubs US have posts on each state’s Governor, US Senators, and US House members as well as posts on how to register and vote in the upcoming elections. Curated stated Hubs like Virginia onAir also have posts on US House races, other state executives, state senators, and state House members and posts on issues. As a state enlists more curators, posts on city and county representatives and elections will also be started.

Coming next year, you will also be able to watch aircasts on the above topics in forums, debates, town halls, and interviews. Aircasts are Zoom meetings with featured guests and audience participation that are livestreamed to the public. Aircasts are recorded and archived in onAir Hubs and YouTube channels and shareable on social media and websites.

Any resident of a state can participate in a US onAir Hub. We are particularly interested in educating and engaging college and high school students as well as disenfranchised and non-participating citizens.

Open to all Residents

Each state Hub’s governance and elections content will be curated by university students, members of democracy supporting organizations, and concerned citizens affiliated with an onAir Chapter.  The US onAir coalition with the support of Democracy onAir will be establishing onAir chapters at public colleges and universities in each state. Any state resident can participate in a university onAir chapter. Students can be majoring in any academic discipline although government, political science, communication, and multi-media/broadcasting are the most relevant areas of study. Students can participate via internships, experiential courses, research projects, student clubs, and their student governments. US onAir is committed to ensuring that all interested students and residents have the opportunity to engage in politics regardless of their time constraints or location.

Some special features of the US onAir network are outlined in the video below.

Elections
Learn about races at the federal and state level. You can find recent federal and governor races under the Elections billboard on each Hub.

Representatives
Learn about your federal and state representatives.

You can find your representative by going to va.onair.cc and select the “VA Representatives” billboard and the “Who Represents Me” choice. Type in your street address, city and state.

Committees
Learn about the bills passed by state and federal committees.

You can find state senate and house committees you are interested in. Select the “Governance” billboard then “US House” or “US Senate” Committees and go to the committee you are interested in.

Issues
Learn about issues under the Governance billboard.

Also learn under the Governance billboard, learn about your state legislative, executive, and judicial branches. Also learn about the civic engagement and political science programs at a state university.

Viewing content

All Hub content is under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license which permits content sharing and adaptation by nonprofit organizations as long as proper attribution is given to its author(s) and is used for non-commercial purposes. Content and moderation guidelines reinforce our commitment to fact-based, comprehensive content and civil and honest discourse.  See Terms of Service for more information.

Simply visiting a Hub does not expose your identity publicly. When you submit your email address to become a Hub member, it is your option to have your address displayed.  All post curators are encouraged to use a free @onair.cc email address. The US onAir coalition will not sell your information. See our Privacy Policy for more information.

Any web user, on a laptop, desktop computer or smartphone connected to the internet, can freely and easily access content on any Hub in the US onAir network of 50 state governance and election Hubs and this US onAir central Hub.

State Hubs

All US onAir Hubs US have posts on each state’s Governor, US Senators, and US House members as well as posts on how to register and vote in the upcoming elections. Curated stated Hubs like Virginia onAir also have posts on US House races, other state executives, state senators, and state House members and posts on issues. As a state enlists more curators, posts on city and county representatives and elections will also be started.

The Virginia onAir Hub has been the pilot and model for how to curate a state Hub. The George Mason University onAir Chapter has lead this effort.

There are many ways to access a state Hub. The simplest is to type into the URL field of your browser the two letter initials for the state Hub you want to go then add “onair.cc” and hit enter. For example, the Texas state Hub can be found at tx.onair.cc and the Maryland state hub at md.onair.cc. You can also find a state Hub from this central US Democracy Hub by selecting the “US” icon at the top left of the Header then selecting the region of the state you are interested in.

Democracy onAir

Democracy onAir, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization provides the web technology and support to create, host, and sustain the state elections and governance hubs.  Democracy onAir also develops and monitors the curation and moderation guidelines for the Hubs and manages the finances for each state hub.

We aim to address the current climate of divisiveness, tribalism, fact-free dialogue, and ad hominem attacks. We also see an opportunity to bring attention to the underserved area of state political issues and governance.

Our mission to promote a more informed, civil, and engaged civil citizenry is implemented by providing citizens in democratic societies easier, faster, and more efficient access to

  • learn about their government, representatives, candidates, and local/regional issues,
  • discuss with their fellow citizens and representatives in civil and dynamic forums, and then
  • engage by voting, advocating for and shaping policy, participating in campaigns, and even running for office.

To learn more about Democracy onAir Directors, go here.

Learn

All US onAir Hubs US have posts on each state’s Governor, US Senators, and US House members as well as posts on how to register and vote in the upcoming elections. Curated stated Hubs like Virginia onAir also have posts on US House races, other state executives, state senators, and state House members and posts on issues. As a state enlists more curators, posts on city and county representatives and elections will also be started.

The US onAir Network 3

Open to all Residents

Any resident of a state can participate in a US onAir Hub. We are particularly interested n educating and engaging college and high school students as well as disenfranchised and non-participating citizens.

Each state Hub’s governance and elections content will be curated by university students, members of democracy supporting organizations, and concerned citizens affiliated with an onAir Chapter.  The US onAir coalition with the support of Democracy onAir will be establishing onAir chapters at public colleges and universities in each state. Any state resident can participate in a university onAir chapter. Students can be majoring in any academic discipline although government, political science, communication, and multi-media/broadcasting are the most relevant areas of study. Students can participate via internships, experiential courses, research projects, student clubs, and their student governments. US onAir is committed to ensuring that all interested students and residents have the opportunity to engage in politics regardless of their time constraints or location.

Benefits for Curators

Young people will represent one of the major group of curators that help the US onAir coalition develop and enhance each state Hub. Curators will have the opportunity to update information about the politicians who represent them as well as other politicians they are interested in learning about and networking with. One key benefit is having the opportunity to conduct online and in person video interviews with these politicians.

While moderating discussions, curators will be able to learn about issues and communicate with the leading advocates of issues they are interested in.  US onAir interns will receive a Hub post where they can include their resume, projects, video interviews, and other information about their interests, skills, and experience helpful to gaining employment and networking opportunities.

Benefits to Politicians

Twitter, Facebook, and other social media and online platforms provide an interface between candidates/representatives and voters/residents, though often those interactions are polarized and do little to promote quality communication. Voters and residents are not interest groups, are rarely concerned only about a single issue, and are not well represented by the brief and often detached interactions of social media. Politicians rarely have an opportunity to fully engage outside of in person events that tend to draw only the most engaged individuals.

USA onAir hubs will encourage and enable a wider range of participation and offer politicians an opportunity to listen to those constituents and talk about how their proposals and votes relate to their principles and needs of constituents. These interactions are mediated by curated forums and moderated live Q&A sessions.

This will clearly benefit politicians with limited resources and/or limited knowledge regarding social media, but it also benefits politicians and constituents who already have social media presence but are looking for a higher quality of discourse and engagement to understand their constituents and express their positions.

Benefits for Organizations

US onAir is a network for all US-based organizations who are nonpartisan nonprofits promoting democracy. These organizations will also have the opportunity to share their missions and activities with each other and the public as well as be sponsors of the posts they are most committed to advancing.

Qualifying organizations will be able to provide their members with the opportunity to be curators of posts at a federal, state, and/or local level.

Benefits for Advocates

Advocates can sign up through an existing organization or individually.  Advocate membership will be available by the end of this year.

Discuss

Feedback & Forums

Every post has a feedback section where registered Hub members can, depending on the type of post:

  • Ask a post’s Curator questions about the post
  • Recommend edits and new content
  • Ask questions and make suggestions to politicians communicated by the post’s curator
  • Give endorsements for their favorite politician
  • Participate in forum discussions

See Terms of  Service for more information about our discussion guidelines.

Participate in Aircasts

“OnAir” Hubs have a special emphasis on facilitating “aircasts”

Aircasts are Zoom meetings livestreamed and recorded as YouTube videos and embedded in Hub posts and social media. All aircasts are open to the participation of OnAir members as audience members or panelists with a aircast host’s invitation.

To learn more about aircasting, go to the “Streaming on Air” post.

Become a Member

All that is required to be a US onAir member is your first and last name, an email address, and your zip code.

Your real name and any other profile information will NOT be displayed unless you choose to do so. Your personal information is NOT shared with any other website or organization.

Hub membership will enable you to:

  • Ask questions, make suggestions, and give endorsements to your representatives and other politicians;
  • Interact directly with Post Authors and Curators giving them feedback, content suggestions, and asking questions,
  • Participate in aircast forums, research studies, and surveys,
  • Be able to ask questions during an aircast as Zoom audience participants

Any person with a “.edu” email address will have an automatic invitation to become an onAir member. All that is required is to register with your .edu address and your zipcode. This will give you the ability to participate in US onAir and your home state hub’s discussions.

For all other US residents and overseas voters seeking an onAir membership, email information@onair.cc.

Join here. It’s free!

Supporting onAir

There are many ways US citizens can support the US Democracy onAir network of 50 state governance and election Hubs.

  1. Join an onAir university chapter
  2. Become a volunteer curator, moderator, or aircaster;
  3. Donate to Democracy onAir;
  4. Sponsor a post, category, or entire Hub

OnAir university chapters

Each state will have a lead onAir chapter associated with students and faculty at a public university (usually near the state capital city). Most onAir posts will be student moderators and will be identified in the discussion section at the bottom of each curated and moderated post.

GMU was the first university onAir chapter established in the fall of 2018. The GMU onAir chapter is the lead chapter for the state of Virginia and a model of how students in onAir chapters at universities in other states can manage and curate their states Hub.

To oversee the interviewing of US Senate and House members as well as organizing debates, town halls, and debates, US onAir will be organizing a teams of students from universities in and near the District of Columbia.DC onAir university chapters.

What volunteers can do?

Curate post content

Add Top News articles, events, and videos to a post you are interested in being the lead author.

Update content in the post’s sections working with representatives and their staff.

Moderate discussions

Help insure that Virginia onAir comments on committee posts meet our moderation guidelines.

Moderators will become co-authors of a committee post and will have reserved seats to any aircast related to the post(s) they are moderating.

Moderators can also assist with curation of a post’s content collaborating with other their co-authors and interested viewers.

Curate aircasts

As an onAir Curator, you coordinate and introduce aircasts on representatives you want to support.

You will curate aircasts that feature   Virginia representatives. Slide presentations and short videos can be part of an aircast to introduce the representatives. The representatives will decide on who can participate in the aircast’s Zoom audience.

You may consider using slides or a short video to share information with attendees.

Aircasts are also conducted with the support of aircast producers who manage all the technical aspects of the aircast. Contact Shuaib.Ahmed@onair.cc to become an aircast producer.

Become a Donor

If you are interested in creating a more trusted source of political information and more civil political discussions, donate to Democracy onAir.

Donations can made by any individual or foundation that wishes to support the mission of Democracy onAir. Donors can choose to support the entire organization or state Hub, as well as specific operations, such as a District and all the posts within it, an individual politician Post, or a specific Issue Post. Donations, at the donor’s request, can be displayed on the appropriate Hub with links to social networks and/or websites.. Anonymous donations are accepted as long as they are verified as US residents or US-based foundations with no foreign affiliations.

Democracy onAir was chartered in Virginia in 2018 and has obtained 510(c)(3) status. Checks or wire transfers are made out to Democracy onAir. All donations are tax deductible.

Become a Sponsor

Any organization or business can become a sponsor of this Hub. Sponsors can choose to support the entire organization or state Hub, as well as specific operations, such as a District and all the posts within it, an individual politician Post, or a specific Issue Post. We are particularly interested in sponsoring organizations that seek to support student civic engagement, democratic and civil discourse, and the intersection of technology and government. Foreign owned or affiliated organizations are not permitted to be sponsors of any US onAir Hub.

Hub sponsors will be displayed throughout an onAir Hub and its posts. Hub sponsors will have the option to create their own US onAir post or sponsors can have links to their websites or video.

For further information about sponsoring, contact james.lillard@onair.cc.

Become an Intern

Democracy onAir welcomes any US citizen to apply for an internship. We require a minimum commitment of 6 hours per week.

We have a special interest in working with undergraduate and graduate students majoring in government, communications, media, or a related field with a passion to improve democracy in the US.  Students (and other US citizens) who want to intern with Democracy onAir this fall can submit their resume with an introductory email articulating why you are interested in being a Democracy onAir intern and include a link, if appropriate, to your relevant academic program (internship, capstone project, research project etc.) to: internships@onair.cc. 

Why become an Intern?

The primary internship benefits beyond helping to reinvigorate democracy are intended to be career-enhancing:

  • Visibility in your field; potential contact with thought leaders, organizations, and potential employers
  • Skill development in political communication, media, and other position-specific opportunities such as grant-writing, video editing, and team management
  • Interaction and networking with politicians and other nonprofit organizations
  • Career opportunities with Democracy onAir and US Democracy onAir coalition organizations
  • Potential for individualized projects and skill development
  • Cash awards for the most impactful interns for specific contributions to US Democracy projects.

Internships are mostly self-directed with weekly online meetings. Since most of the internship work is done remotely, students are on an honor system as to the hours they report to us. Part-time interns do not receive any monetary compensation.

The internship is intended to be a learning experience as much as it is a work experience. Interns will deepen their knowledge of democratic processes in individual states as well as the United States as a whole. Interns will also gain a better understanding of contemporary politics and issues, whether they are local, regional, or nation.

Opportunities

Help manage your State Hub

  • Serve as team leader for your state’s hub e.g. VA Democracy onAir;
  • Outreach to other universities, organizations, and other groups in your state such as these universities;
  • Start an OnAir chapter at your local university;
  • Communicate with and work in tandem with other State Hubs in the US onAir Network;
  • Coordinate State Hub curators and moderators.

Be a Post Curator

  • Gathering and posting information on committees and representatives in state legislatures;
  • Provide up to date and relevant new articles, press releases, commentary, and more;
  • Moderate forum discussion in posts that you are interested in

Be an Aircast Producer

Aircasts are Zoom meetings with a host, featured guests, and an online audience livestreamed to the public and archived as YouTube videos in this Hub and YouTube channel.

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