Alberto Ibarguen, Eric Klinenberg, and Henry Jenkins
The current crisis in American journalism threatens the very survival of local newspapers, even as we've already seen a sharp decline in local radio and television content. More and more of us find community through social networks which are largely indifferent to geographic considerations. But the American political system is intensely local, and policy debates about issues that affect our daily lives (schools, jobs, sprawl, and the environment, to name a few) remain fiercely connected to our cities and hometowns. So, what will be the place of the local in American journalism or for that matter, in American culture in the years ahead? What steps can or should be taken to ensure that we have the information we need about local concerns? Will we know enough to be able to vote in local elections or to weigh in on policy concerns that hit us where we live? What roles might citizen journalism and civic media play in cementing the social connections that hold local communities together?
These and related questions will be explored by panelists Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; Eric Klinenberg, professor of sociology at New York University and author of Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media; and Henry Jenkins, co-principal investigator for the Center for Future Civic Media and author of Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide.
One of the little gems that the Knight Foundation introduced at the Future of News and Civic Media conference last week was to award five grand to the best collaborative projects created at the conference. We thought it might be a tall order, what with everything else the attendees were doing, but boy did they ever respond.
Attendees pitched 19 brand-new projects, and three of them--TweetBill, Hacks and Hackers, and the WordPress Distributed Translation Plugin--won cold hard cash to develop the ideas further. And the creators can thank their fellow attendees, because everyone used Mako Hill's preferential voting tool Selectricity to vote on the spot.
"The pictures told the story of all of them, from different planets, representing different ethics, united by a common bond - the galactic Co-operation."
"Once you find your place in the galactic Co-operation - and I assure you that it is an important place - your fighting will stop. Why should you fight, which is an unnatural occupation, when you can push?"
We've had to remain largely mum on the Future of News and Civic Media Conference, just held this week here at MIT--such is the reality of a popular-but-invitation-only conference and one whose big news, the announcement of the 2009 Knight News Challenge winners, was embargoed until the last minute.
But I'd like to use this here website that I manage to thank the 200+ attendees, especially those from the Knight Foundation, for an amazing three days of barcamps, camaraderie, invention, and, of course, prize-giving.
Here, assembled, is but a slice of news about the conference.