Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Can African-Americans Find Their Voice in Cyberspace?: A Conversation With Dayna Cunningham (Part One of Four)

One of the most powerful sessions of my class on New Media Literacies and Civic Engagement last fall came as a result of a visit from Dayna Cunningham from MIT's Community Innovators Lab shortly after the 2008 election. Cunningham challenged me and my students to think about whether new media tools and platforms might help address the erosion of the black public sphere. She argued that the structures that had sustained the black community during the Civil Rights era were collapsing without the emergence of new structures that would provide the basis for strong critiques of the operations of power and that might be used to hold Obama accountable to his own community. And she asked those of us who were trying to build tools or curriculum to support democratic citizenship to factor these concerns into our design and planning process.

House Exploded? Try Software for Community Collective Action.

I've written before about the extrACT suite of software tools we have been developing at MIT: information and communication technologies that promote community collective action. We have started to introduce the first of these tools, Landman Report Card, to communities in Texas and Ohio that are being confronted by the impacts of natural gas extraction. The experiences that citizens are recording with it are as remarkable as they are heartbreaking.

House Exploded? Try Software for Community Collective Action.

I've written before about the extrACT suite of software tools we have been developing at MIT: information and communication technologies that promote community collective action. We have started to introduce the first of these tools, Landman Report Card, to communities in Texas and Ohio that are being confronted by the impacts of natural gas extraction. The experiences that citizens are recording with it are as remarkable as they are heartbreaking.

Harnessing the Power of Mobile Tech 4 Social Change

I attended the Mobile Tech 4 Social Change barcamp in New York with MIT colleagues Audubon Dougherty, Nadav Aharony, and Danielle Martin last weekend.

Unfortunately, I missed Ethan Zuckerman’s keynote (hoping it will be posted online) but according to Patrick Meier’s informative post about the day, one of Ethan’s biggest takeaway points focused on the importance of using of multiple technologies together:

(The) convergence of ICTs is far more powerful than the increasingly ubiquitous mobile phone. When mobile phones and SMS are paired with radio talk show programs, the combination replicates much of the functionalities that characterize the Internet. Once information is broadcast over radio, it becomes public knowledge.

I find this to be a valuable take away not only because of my own interest in radio and mobile but also because it suggests the larger need to focus on strategies over technologies. Mobile phone by themselves probably won’t solve entrenched issues, particularly those that extend beyond geographic and disciplinary boundaries, but they can be a valuable part of larger tactics.

Open Park: Intro

Collaborative online news production: Introducing Open Park

Now that the spring semester is in full swing, I thought I would write a little Intro about my project for the Center for Future Civic Media [C4FCM] where I work as a Research Assistant, and the ideas and ideals behind it.

For those who are unfamiliar with the project - Phase I, defining the new professional journalistic practice of collaborating with colleagues and competitors on news stories, was conducted in the fall semester. Its results were the subject of my final paper for the C4FCM, as well as for the CMS class 'Media in Cultural Context, which is accessible in the Projects section of this site.
The Projects section also details Phase II, which focuses on refining the functions of an effective model for collective news-reporting by testing in the community what works and what doesn't with concrete real life-based collaborative news-writing experiments.

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