Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

How "Dumbledore's Army" Is Transforming Our World: An Interview with the HP Alliance's Andrew Slack (Part Two)

So you're using a language of play, of fantasy, of humor to talk about political change? Much of the time, political leaders deploy a much more serious minded, policy-wonky language. What do you think are the implications of changing the myths and metaphors we use to talk about political change?

On Research

Today marks the end of the research portion of my trip, and the beginning of a small vacation with Ruth. As such, I thought it suitable to write some thoughts on my progress so far. Over the last three weeks I conducted ten interviews, meeting with representatives from B’Tselem, Souktel, Ma’an News Agency, The Center [...]

How "Dumbledore's Army" Is Transforming Our World: An Interview with the HP Alliance's Andrew Slack (Part One)

Last weekend, Cynthia and I drove up to San Francisco where I spoke about "Learning From and About Fandom" at Azkatraz, a Harry Potter fan convention. The key note speaker at this year's event was Andrew Slack of the HP Alliance. Slack is a thoughtful young activist whose work is exploring the intersection between politics and popular culture. He's really helped to inspired some of the research I am going to be doing in the coming year about "fan activism" and how we can build a bridge between participatory culture and democratic participation. I interviewed Slack for Journal of Media Literacy earlier this year and I thought this would be a good opportunity to share that interview with my blog readers.

How "Dumbledore's Army" Is Transforming Our World: An Interview with the HP Alliance's Andrew Slack (Part One)

Last weekend, Cynthia and I drove up to San Francisco where I spoke about "Learning From and About Fandom" at Azkatraz, a Harry Potter fan convention. The key note speaker at this year's event was Andrew Slack of the HP Alliance. Slack is a thoughtful young activist whose work is exploring the intersection between politics and popular culture. He's really helped to inspired some of the research I am going to be doing in the coming year about "fan activism" and how we can build a bridge between participatory culture and democratic participation. I interviewed Slack for Journal of Media Literacy earlier this year and I thought this would be a good opportunity to share that interview with my blog readers.

The Community Whiteboard Test: Does your new community project prioritize participation, or passivity?

Anyone who's worked in the software industry is familiar with "the legacy problem" -- the fact that it's often easier to build something new from scratch than it is to overhaul and extend an existing system.

I certainly believed that the Legacy Conundrum applied to news sites -- that it would be easier, in many ways, to create a community site from scratch than it would be to effectively integrate community features into the website of your average metro daily newspaper in North America.

As the broad shakeout in news industry continues, I see more and more "from scratch" projects. What have I found?

It's not necessarily easier to build a community site from scratch -- at least not with a major mental overhaul first.

This year I've read dozens of project descriptions from news organizations or individuals with experience in those organizations for new community sites -- but fewer than a handful have more than the bare minimum of participatory features; most are simply another website that gives a visitor a message that their job here is to passively consume information.

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