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Latino Youth as Information Leaders: Implications for Family Interaction and Civic Engagement in Immigrant Communities
Unformatted Document Text:  Information Leaders enriched by habitual use of information technology—functions as a medium from which civic dispositions crystallize (project, 2006a). We asked youth respondents to estimate how often they disagree openly, listen to opponents, and initiate conversations about politics. In mapping the information ecology of families, we also hope to trace antecedents and consequences of deliberative dispositions. With regard to precursors, we deployed measures of school climate and family climate for communication—i.e., the extent to which these settings encourage opinion expression on topical issues (project, 2009). Open climates foster interpersonal skills that, in turn, coin confidence applicable to civic engagement (Vercellotti & Matto, 2010). Media represent another source of cognitive fuel for energizing information flow. We assessed active reflection on news, which captures effort to comprehend the relevance of political events. Compared to mere exposure to media, active reflection more reliably predicts political cognition (Eveland, 2001). As for outcomes of discussion, students estimated their interest in politics and desire to participate in politics. Finally, we measured two orientations conducive to civic engagement: efficacy (“I believe I can make a difference in my community”) and interpersonal trust (Kenski & Stroud, 2006). Data Collection and Methods We set out to document the information ecologies of families in Lafayette, a suburb northwest of Denver. We chose this community for survey and focus-group recruitment, in part, because of its substantial population of immigrant parents with adolescent children. As researchers at the Boulder campus of the University of Colorado, we benefitted from collaboration between Centaurus High School and Public Achievement, a service-learning program in which CU undergraduates act as “coaches” in mentoring Latino students at Centaurus. During spring 2010, coaches worked with small groups of youth from the “I Have A 8

Authors: McDevitt, Mike. and Butler, Mary.
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Information Leaders
enriched by habitual use of information technology—functions as a medium from which civic 
dispositions crystallize (project, 2006a). We asked youth respondents to estimate how often they 
disagree openly, listen to opponents, and initiate conversations about politics. In mapping the 
information ecology of families, we also hope to trace antecedents and consequences of 
deliberative dispositions. With regard to precursors, we deployed measures of school climate and 
family climate for communication—i.e., the extent to which these settings encourage opinion 
expression on topical issues (project, 2009). Open climates foster interpersonal skills that, in 
turn, coin confidence applicable to civic engagement (Vercellotti & Matto, 2010). Media 
represent another source of cognitive fuel for energizing information flow. We assessed active 
reflection on news, which captures effort to comprehend the relevance of political events. 
Compared to mere exposure to media, active reflection more reliably predicts political cognition 
(Eveland, 2001). As for outcomes of discussion, students estimated their interest in politics and 
desire to participate in politics. Finally, we measured two orientations conducive to civic 
engagement: efficacy (“I believe I can make a difference in my community”) and interpersonal 
trust (Kenski & Stroud, 2006). 
Data Collection and Methods
We set out to document the information ecologies of families in Lafayette, a suburb 
northwest of Denver. We chose this community for survey and focus-group recruitment, in part, 
because of its substantial population of immigrant parents with adolescent children. As 
researchers at the Boulder campus of the University of Colorado, we benefitted from 
collaboration between Centaurus High School and Public Achievement, a service-learning 
program in which CU undergraduates act as “coaches” in mentoring Latino students at 
Centaurus. During spring 2010, coaches worked with small groups of youth from the “I Have A 

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