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Civil Discourse in Idaho

What is civil discourse? It’s not just about being polite. Civil discourse means engaging in conversations on topics that are important to us, sharing our views and listening to others’ views in honest and productive ways. Our individual civic literacy reflects our ability to stay informed, understand government processes at various levels and know the rights and responsibilities we all have as citizens. 

Idaho Public Television is committed to showcasing state and national efforts to break down political and social polarization and promote civil dialogue and civic literacy in the Gem State.

Idaho Listens

What happens when people decide to stop arguing and start listening? Philanthropist Greg Carr and Boise State University wanted to find a way to encourage people to engage in respectful listening, to get to know each other beyond labels or superficial impressions.

Eleven ordinary Idahoans came to the BSU campus in fall 2022 to share stories about their lives in Idaho, and the audience had to agree to listen without interruption, without questions, without cheers or jeers. IdahoPTV documented the Idaho Listens project, and what the Idaho “listeners” took away from the project. The resulting documentary, Idaho Listens, can be streamed anytime on the free PBS app. 

Additional Information

  • More on Idaho Listens and the Institute for Advancing American Values HERE
  • See the full Sept. 24, 2022 Idaho Listens event HERE
  • Watch the Feb. 9, 2023 Boise State Listens event HERE

CIV•ED | A Guide to Idaho Politics and Civic Engagement 

The State Budget | CIV • ED

When you pay your state taxes, that money helps pay for government programs and services.

The Role of the Media | CIV • ED

The media helps inform you about government officials and decisions that affect your life.

How a Bill becomes a Law in Idaho | CIV • ED

Once a year, the Idaho Legislature comes together for its annual legislative session.

Public Participation in Idaho Government | CIV • ED

Of everyone involved in government, it’s the public that has the most important role.


PBS NewsHour examines "A Brief But Spectacular take on telling the whole story." David Bornstein is co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network, a group that works with news organizations to produce rigorous reporting on responses to social problems. The goal is to “rebalance the news” to provide people a sense of investment and communities with the information they need to participate in a healthy democracy.

Watch "Beyond Civility," an Idaho Public Television documentary on an Idaho civil discourse project in 2016-2018.

In Idaho's early days, disputes were settled by knives, guns and fists. It took a few zealous advocates to ensure that the rule of law prevailed over vigilantism in the 1800s. Idaho Experience's "Nothing But the Truth" explores the power of truth, justice and fact-finding. 

Watch the documentary "Divided We Fall," about a project on bridging partisan differences by the National Institute for Civil Discourse. 

Educational Materials


The Idaho Secretary of State's office provides official voter information to the citizens of Idaho at

CITY ISLAND is a new series of animated digital shorts for early elementary school-aged children on PBS KIDS. These new shorts will feature a civics curriculum, highlighting topics like cooperation, conflict resolution, and city planning, helping to foster young viewers’ understanding of how cities and communities work.


NOVA: Misinformation Nation  

Learn the science behind why misinformation is shared, why it's believed and what we can do to address its spread across digital media. Use this collection to help prepare students to be critical consumers of science content and to make informed judgements about the science media they encounter.

Idaho teachers are using the online All in Favor game-creating tooldeveloped by students at Gimm Works to reimagine civil engagement among youthto help kids in grades 4-12 explore why separating facts from opinions and searching for the truth have been important in our history and remain important today. 

What the Vote! (WTV!) is an entirely volunteer organization comprised of community partners who are passionate about reaching out to high school and college students to inspire them to engage in democracy.  Non-partisan messages are intended to make the voting process easier for students by demonstrating how to become an informed voter, registering them to vote and exciting them about the impact their vote can have on their daily lives. 

Media Literacy

Idaho Debates

As educators, we know that young people need new skills to navigate the modern media landscape. The PBS Media Literacy Certification by KQED recognizes PreK-12 educators who demonstrate their ability to teach students to think critically about media consumption and creation. This certification allows educators to demonstrate expertise in teaching students to produce media that matters and to think critically about their role as media consumers. The course helps teachers as they progress through the certification process, offering ideas, strategies and support. Teachers who complete the certification can earn 3 PD credits through Idaho State University. 

This online course is offered synchronously and asynchronously. Attendees meet virtually with instructors for one hour every month from September through May. We will also record the webinars for educators to watch when convenient if this is the method that they prefer. 

Idaho Teachers with PBS Media Literacy Certification

Jenna Club

Amanda Nemes

Michelle Devine

Jasmine Quezada

Beth Faddick

Matt Stutzman

Kelly Gissel

La Donna Tuinstra

Amy Griffin

Olivia Whitsel

Tara Haley

Rodney Wray

Sean Kane

Erika Damasco Zapata

The Idaho Debates is a collaborative effort among the Idaho Press Club, Boise State University’s School of Public Service, University of Idaho’s McClure Center, Idaho State University’s Department of Political Science, League of Women Voters’ Voter Education Fund, and Idaho Public Television. Our goal is to give the public an unbiased platform to hear the views of congressional candidates on the ballot. We do not support or oppose political parties or candidates.

Stay informed with in-depth reporting on the news and issues that affect you with Idaho Reports. Learn more at

Additional Information

Transparent Idaho

Transparent Idaho was created to increase citizens’ trust in their government by providing state government financial data in an online, searchable format. In 2019, the newest iteration of Transparent Idaho was released to provide an intuitive user interface, greater accessibility features, and increased search functionality. 

Townhall Idaho

In partnership with Governor Little, the Idaho State Controller’s Office released a state public meeting notice portal titled Townhall Idaho. The goal of Townhall Idaho is to make it easier for the public to understand and engage in their government by offering an online one-stop-shop for accessing public meeting information for state executive agencies.