s2tephen's blog

Dispatches from #NICAR14: Proper workflows for data projects

I'm currently in Baltimore for the 2014 conference for NICAR (National Institute of Computer Assisted Reporting). In this series, I'll be liveblogging the various talks and workshops I attend — keep in mind, this is by no means exhaustive coverage of all the cool stuff going on at the conference. For more, check out Chrys Wu's index of slides, tutorials, links, and tools or follow #nicar14 on Twitter. Read on for my summary of a panel discussion of the legal issues around scraping for journalism. Thanks to Nathaniel Lash and Taylor Goldenstein for their help liveblogging.

Dispatches from #NICAR14: Holding algorithms accountable

I'm currently in Baltimore for the 2014 conference for NICAR (National Institute of Computer Assisted Reporting). In this series, I'll be liveblogging the various talks and workshops I attend — keep in mind, this is by no means exhaustive coverage of all the cool stuff going on at the conference. For more, check out Chrys Wu's index of slides, tutorials, links, and tools or follow #nicar14 on Twitter. Read on for my summary of a panel discussion on holding algorithms accountable. Thanks to Nathaniel Lash for his help liveblogging.

Dispatches from #NICAR14: Mohammed Haddad and Robert Benincasa on harnessing the power of the crowd

I'm currently in Baltimore for the 2014 conference for NICAR (National Institute of Computer Assisted Reporting). In this series, I'll be liveblogging the various talks and workshops I attend — keep in mind, this is by no means exhaustive coverage of all the cool stuff going on at the conference. For more, check out Chrys Wu's index of slides, tutorials, links, and tools or follow #nicar14 on Twitter. Read on for my summary of Mohammed Haddad and Robert Benincasa's presentation on the crowdsourced story.

Dispatches from #NICAR14: Hacks or Hackers?

I'm currently in Baltimore for the 2014 conference for NICAR (National Institute of Computer Assisted Reporting). In this series, I'll be liveblogging the various talks and workshops I attend — keep in mind, this is by no means exhaustive coverage of all the cool stuff going on at the conference. For more, check out Chrys Wu's index of slides, tutorials, links, and tools or follow #nicar14 on Twitter. Read on for my summary of a panel discussion of the legal issues around scraping for journalism. Thanks to Nathaniel Lash for his help liveblogging.

Dispatches from #NICAR14: Jennifer LaFleur and David Donald on the data-driven story

I'm currently in Baltimore for the 2014 conference for NICAR (National Institute of Computer Assisted Reporting). In this series, I'll be liveblogging the various talks and workshops I attend — keep in mind, this is by no means exhaustive coverage of all the cool stuff going on at the conference. For more, check out Chrys Wu's index of slides, tutorials, links, and tools or follow #nicar14 on Twitter. Read on for my summary of Jennifer LaFleur and David Donald's presentation on conceiving and launching a data-driven story.

Open Space & Place at the MIT Knight Civic Media Conference

We're here at the 2013 MIT-Knight Civic Media conference here at the MIT Media Lab, where the theme is Insiders/Outsiders. Across the next two days, we're going to be looking at this theme of institutions and innovators across the areas of government, media, and disaster response. Across the event, speakers will be asking if it's better to look for change inside institutions or try to transform things from the outside.

This session, Open Space & Place, will be split into two sections.

The Tech Data Journalism Bootcamp

The Tech Data Journalism Bootcamp was developed in collaboration with the Center for Civic Media. We invited speakers from Civic and The Boston Globe to create active seminars teaching journalists from The Tech the basics of how to find, analyze, and present a data piece. A hands-on workshop followed the seminars so students could work with real data—data from the pressure survey. Thanks to Joanna and Chris for organizing the event, to all the speakers for their time, and to David, Joanna, and Kiran for helping liveblog and take photos!

Intro to Civic Media: Civil Disobedience and Hacktivism

Thanks to Luis for helping scribe, and to Molly and Charlie for filling in for our instructors!

We kick off today's class by watching We Are Legion, a film about the hacktivist collective Anonymous. Sasha and Becky are at a conference, so today's class is being led by our classmate Molly, and Charlie DeTar. Molly adds a disclaimer: the film is a fan letter, not a documentary. There are different tactics for civil disobedience: Denial of Service (Dos/DDoS) attacks, information dispersal, more participatory actions (e.g. Habbo Hotel). We start by delving into the readings and discussing our thoughts about the forms that civil disobedience may take online.

Loki notes that, despite the way in which Anonymous has been antagonized, they have done little real harm. Compare this with Gandhi, whose Salt March led to the death of over 200 people.

There are certainly parallels between Project Chanology's leak of Tom Cruise's Scientology video to the leak of the Pentagon Papers.

Binders Full of Memes: CMS.360 Project Update



The Sudden Realization Romney image macro that emerged during the aftermath of the election.

Recap of Intro to Civic Media, Week 6: Free Cultural Labor

This post was co-written with the help of Loki. Thanks to the rest of the class for helping us keep good notes!

We start off this week's class with a quick recap of our blog posts from the previous class, discussing our various models of social change. Joanna describes her Magic School Bus-inspired story, tying it back into her project proposal of analyzing different commenting systems. She and Sasha discussed different domain areas of online commenting as civic media, such as systematic commenting and linkspamming. The model of change described in the story involves a chain of linked tweets and a YouTube comment cascading into a greater petition. The wider debate underlying the story, of course, involves clicktivism—do things like mass emails and online petitions really make a difference? Sasha says that there are hierarchies of value and weighting systems that determine when an elected official will actually pay attention to a particular issue.

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