Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Pair Research: Low-Fi Tools for Collaboration In Teams

Together with Brian Keegan, I facilitate the Berkman Center's Cooperation Working Group, a group of researchers and practitioners in the Boston area who support each other's research and share new ideas. This week, we were joined by Rob Miller, a professor and HCI researcher at CSAIL. Rob's group's work profoundly inspired my own research while at Microsoft, and I was delighted to welcome him.

The next Cooperation Group Meeting will be in two weeks, Tues Feb 25 at 5pm, where I will present work done in partnership with Sarah Szalavitz on gender bias in social media among journalists and bloggers. I'll share results of an experiment where we exposed people to the gender ratio of their behavior.

What is Pair Research?

Mapping the Trayvon Martin Media Controversy

This is a summary of the article “The Battle for ‘Trayvon Martin’: Mapping a Media Controversy Online and Offline,” co-authored by Erhardt Graeff, Matt Stempeck, and Ethan Zuckerman and appearing as the lead article in the February 2014 issue of First Mondayhttp://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4947.

News coverage about the killing of Trayvon Martin started as a short-lived, local Florida news piece, but through strategic activation of traditional broadcast media and participatory online activism, eventually became the most-widely covered story about race in the last five years. The story drew immense coverage from professional journalists and active public engagement online and offline, offering a potent case study for examining the role and influence of participatory media on media agendas.

To make this research possible, we’ve been building Media Cloud with colleagues at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. It’s a toolset for rigorous, quantitative studies of media agendas and frames. Media Cloud collects stories from a corpus of more than 27,000 mainstream media and blog sources, and uses a link-following methodology to expand the corpus to other relevant sources.

The first major analysis to use Media Cloud’s tools for the purposes of “controversy mapping” considered the emergence in nontraditional, online media of opposition to proposed SOPA-PIPA legislation. In contrast to SOPA-PIPA, the Trayvon Martin story occurred and unfolded substantially offline: the shooting of a black teenager eventually sparked a national debate across multiple media channels, in rallies and marches, and in the speeches and actions of major political figures. Initially, the story passed with little notice, but the efforts of a small pro bono team of lawyers and publicists attracted the national limelight. From there, the Trayvon Martin story spread to broader audiences through a widely signed online petition, 24x7 cable news coverage, multiple activist campaigns including competing political agendas pushed by participatory media, a deeply emotional response from President Obama, and a widely televised criminal trial.

The Civic Art Initiative presents Kambui Olujimi

On Thursday, February 6th, the Civic Art Initiative recently partnered with the List Gallery at MIT to host a lunch and participatory art event with artist Kambui Olujimi. Here's a brief excerpt about his project which is installed in the Bakalar Gallery until Feb 23rd:

Initial Reflections on Promise Tracker

Testing the Promise Tracker app in Belo Horizonte

Last week a group of us from Civic returned from a two-week trip in Brazil, where we were busy testing the initial prototype of a project called Promise Tracker. Our work involved creating a mobile phone application that enables citizens to collect data on infrastructure developments related to promises made by their elected officials.

High-Level Conferences on ICT and the Internet: What Do They Mean for the Internet As We Know It


ICANN 47 Gala Dinner

I'm here at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society for a talk by Veni Markovski, ICANN vice-president for Russia, who's talking to us today about issues in Internet governance. (This post was written with Ethan Zuckerman and Tim Davies)

Ethan introduces Veni, who was very involved in building the Internet in Bulgaria, and who is now a leading expert on Internet governance and policy worldwide, with particular experience in Russia and former soviet countries. From early on, he has taken a great deal of involvement and responsibility for the complicated Internet governance issues that we all recognize are important, but can sometimes feel intimidating. He's a former ICANN board member, a former board member of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility.

ICANN and Internet Governance

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