In March, the Beacon Journal announced the yearlong America Today project, a community effort looking at the ways people are affected by the difficult times and how this affects the ability to have respectful conversations about differences of opinion.
Although more than 100 people already volunteered to participate, the Beacon Journal and Bliss Institute for Applied Politics at the University of Akron are seeking additional people to participate in interviews and focus groups.
Here’s how you can participate:
In-depth, confidential discussions will be conducted in Akron in late April and early May on the following topics:
• College loans: Must be in your 20s and with a student loan. Can be in or out of college, graduate school or a private for-profit technical school, with or without a degree.
• Military: Must be the spouse, parent, daughter, son, brother or sister of someone in the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force or Ohio National Guard who served in a combat zone on the ground in Afghanistan or Iraq in the last year.
• Guns: Men and women with conceal-carry permits.
• Respectful conversation: People who want to talk about the difficulty today in having polite and respectful conversation about difficult or contentious issues.
• Public employment: Government workers and retirees who want to discuss their role in the work force.
• Media: Persons who represent diversity in the way they obtain news and information.
• Religion: Persons who represent a variety regarding religion, including non-churched. May or may not be in leadership roles.
Persons interested in these discussions should visit the Decision Point Marketing and Research website beginning Friday for screening at http://AmericaToday.questionpro.com. Personal information will be kept confidential and used to determine proper diversity in the focus groups.
Reporters are seeking volunteers who are willing to share personal financial, health, political and religious information and feelings for stories on retirement, government regulation, health care, climate change and taxation.
If you are interested in any of these, send a letter or email reporter Kim Hone-McMahan at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44309.
Provide your name, community, occupation, phone number and include some words or sentences that express your thoughts about America Today. Initial contact information will be confidential.