Andrew's blog

Job opportunity with us: Community Organizer/Codesign Facilitator

The Center for Civic Media has opened its search for a community organizer/codesign facilitator. We hope you'll spread the word to qualified candidates on the hunt for a great opportunity...

The description is below, with application procedures on the MIT employment site.

Regan St. Pierre, our community outreach manager who recently accepted a new position, is so irreplaceable that we tweaked the job. The focus is now explicitly on codesign. It's an acknowledgment -- long implied by our mission but now far more prominent given the ethos of Prof. Costanza-Chock -- that our research and tools cannot be developed purely 'in the lab' at MIT, followed by a search for a community 'testbed.' Rather, we hope to develop new tools and platforms through collaborative design, iterative testing, and measures of success that are shared with community partners, from start to finish.

How does that sound to you?

Job Opening: Research Scientist

The Center for Civic Media is currently seeking a research scientist to build and lead a research portfolio focused on the future of the newsroom. We need someone who can lead research, manage partnerships, work with graduate students and help us articulate the vision of a sustainable and impactful newsroom.

Our new research scientist will work with groups at the Media Lab and at MIT more broadly to identify new technologies that will change how we discover, report and disseminate the news. The Media Lab works with, and is supported by, a wide range of member companies. Our new research scientist will manage relationships with member companies who are interested in the future of news, the transformation of newsrooms and financial models that support quality journalism. Our new hire will organize an annual conference dedicated to the future of news. And finally, he or she will also mentor and advise masters candidates whose research focuses on news technologies. This may include teaching a class on future newsrooms.

Fellowship Opportunity: Media Cloud Project Fellow

Crossposted with the Berkman Center.

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and the MIT Center for Civic Media seek a fellow to join Media Cloud, a project led by Yochai Benkler and Ethan Zuckerman and driven by an interdisciplinary team of staff and researchers. The fellow will lead the production of scholarly papers and outputs, advance specific research threads, and contribute to the development of research methods and tools.

Media Cloud is an open source, open data platform that allows researchers to answer complex quantitative and qualitative questions about the content of online media and helps to support a novel, data-driven perspective on the dynamics of online conversations.

Following Aaron Swartz suicide, MIT President's statement

I posted the following to the Comparative Media Studies site; the reaction around the Center to Swartz's suicide is, we all would agree, still too raw for the Monday-after. A collection of articles, essays, testimonials, and other media is available too.

Aaron_Swartz.jpgThe CMS community -- in particular several of its colleagues at the Center for Civic Media who knew Aaron Swartz well -- is grappling with the reality that he is no longer with us.

Video: Andrew Lowenthal, "EngageMedia: Video4Change"

EngageMedia is a citizen video sharing platform, as well as a training, network development, software and research project based in Southeast Asia and Australia.

We welcomed Andrew Lowenthal, co-founder and Executive Director, who outlined EngageMedia's work, focusing on the nature of scaling, in particular developing strategic networks and open source software, and their implications and limitations in creating civic media today.

Becky was able to liveblog our Q&A bit of Lowenthal's talk. He also visited the Introduction to Civic Media class (notes, thanks to Rogelio) and the Berkman Center (notes, thanks to Nathan and Sasha).

Video: "Nuke Matters: Effects of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station on Cape Cod Bay"

Cape Cod Bay Watch is dedicated to protecting the species, habitat and health of Cape Cod Bay. The most immediate goal is to educate the public about impacts of Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station—especially its "once-through cooling" system. This system uses over a half-billion gallons of water from the bay every day, killing marine life in the process and dumping the water, heated 32⁰F degrees warmer and polluted with toxic chemicals and radioactive materials, back into the bay. In our opinion, Pilgrim Station does not have a valid permit to operate in this manner and is violating numerous state and federal water quality standards. Despite this, the facility was recently re-licenced to operate for another 20 years.

The power of a spicy chicken sandwich, or, beyond good and evil there's a bug

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If you've spent any time in the American south -- or at the food court in Burlington Mall, ten miles outside Boston -- you've likely gone weak at the knees at the mention of Chick-fil-A. The waffle fries. The sweet tea. And tops, the spicy chicken sandwich.

And you too may be conflicted about 1) Chick-fil-A's homophobia vs. 2) how good that spicy chicken sandwich is. (If this sounds like the Kenny Rogers Roaster episode of Seinfeld, it's not far off.)

So it came as a perversely pleasant surprise that the language associated with one of history's great homophobes, well, this happens:

My Introduction to Making, a Family Story

My mother's father was a machinist.

He had a stocked workshop, and I can't picture him without a blue jumpsuit on, speckled with the light-brown — a sugary scent — of machine oil.

Even as cigars browned his fingers and arthritis froze them, he worked with his hands. His father, an Iowa corn farmer, did too.

Dispatch from the Online News Association conference

A quick note pecked on my phone from the ONA conference in San Francisco...

At the end of this morning's "Business of Collaboration" session, I had the chance to ask a panel of editors, "Why have you only talked about how you collaborate with other news outlets? Are there particular ethical concerns about generating stories and data with non-profits, local governments, advocacy groups?"

I thought it would be a tricky question to answer, but it wasn't: "Yes, there are ethical concerns and they're not ones we can compromise on" (I'm paraphrasing ProPublica's editor).

I followed up: "So if a mayor in upstate New York asked Abrahm Lustgarten to analyze the fracking data the town couldn't, ProPublica wouldn't collaborate with the mayor?" His answer was accommodating but clear, that a journalistic outfit still has to remain removed to ensure impartiality, but they could cite the data and would still need to compare it to what the company doing the fracking would provide.

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