Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Scaling the unicorns: Diverse perspectives that serve the public good

In a room of urban planners, architects, engineers, data viz experts, designers, programmers, and media professionals, we asked, “how do we scale the unicorns?”

Unicorns are those perspectives we need, the ones we easily demand but are hard to find. Women coders, technologists in local government, architects in humanitarian aid, geographers in newsrooms.


Unicorns, by rahuldlucca on Flickr

Big Data and the Future of Journalism

Yesterday MassINC, along with a number of partners, hosted the event "Big Data and the Future of Journalism". Here's an excerpt from the event announcement:

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:

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