Our Vision

A citizenry connected through more civil and empathic public conversation in communities and the media.

What We Do

A non-profit in cooperation with the MIT Media Lab, Cortico builds systems that bring under-heard community voices, perspectives and stories to the center of a healthier public dialogue.


How We Do It

Cortico’s Local Voices Network (LVN) combines in-person and digital listening to host, analyze and connect community conversations at scale. This includes:

  • Facilitating in-person community dialogue that enables participants to listen, learn, speak and be heard

  • Building a digital network that connects facilitators and conversations across political and cultural boundaries

  • Opening a new local listening channel for journalists, leaders and the community at large

Why It's Important

Our media environment prioritizes national perspectives and our politics reinforce divisive tribalism. Local citizenries, however, share a lived community experience. Too many of these local voices — be they from red counties or blue cities — go unheard today, drowned out by hyperpartisan noise and toxic public dialogue. Social media, designed to connect us, has also divided us into insular “tribes” hostile toward outside views and ripe for the spread of false news, hateful discourse, and extremism. We need to create a new civic space for local voices to be heard in civil, empathic public conversation that heals divisions from the inside of communities out.


Our Solutions

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Our search engine provides ear-to-the-ground listening to better understand our communities — and by extension the nation — through localized search of public conversation across many sources including Twitter and talk radio.

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We are growing a local public communication network that surfaces under-heard voices and narratives, reconnects us to our communities, and creates a foundation to re-establish common ground across isolated groups. Our "conversation centers" can be found in public libraries and community centers, where anyone can participate in facilitated and recorded conversations.