civic media

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

Henry Jenkins: Thanks for this really rich provocation, Dayna. These are questions which we need to be discussing as a society and they should be central to our understanding of "civic media," "social media," whatever we want to call it.

As a media scholar, my first response to any request to develop new "tools" is to ask what we are really looking for. As I review your language in the closing paragraph, you variously call for "media technology," "new spaces," "tools and platforms," "venues and mechanisms." This range of terms suggests the degree to which it is not easy to separate out technological resources from the cultural practices which grow up around them.

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.

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.

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.

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

Dayna Cunningham: Thank you for reminding me that we are talking about institutions and cultures and politics and that media are nothing more than tools within these contexts. We need social organizations, not just technology. Drat. I was hoping for a quick fix.

I saw a Washington Post poll, reported on Inauguration Day, of black and white Americans asking their views on the persistence of racism in the US. Only 44% of African Americans polled said that racism is still a major problem. A majority of blacks said it was not (whites, true to past patterns, in large majorities said that racism is no longer a major problem). However, a follow up question asked whether the respondents still witnessed or experienced racism in their daily lives and a significant majority of African Americans said that little had changed for them in their local communities and in their daily experience of racism. Most blacks reported continuing denials of service and jobs, less access to housing, and racialized police harassment.

Obama Administration: more media-friendly?

Let us hope that this will apply to all aspects of media coverage...
Hopefully this review is a good sign.

Gates orders review of policy barring military-coffin photos

By The Associated Press
02.11.09

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered a review yesterday of a Pentagon policy banning media from taking pictures of flag-draped coffins of U.S. military dead, signaling he was open to overturning the policy to better honor fallen soldiers.

At least two Democratic senators have called on President Barack Obama to let news photographers attend ceremonies at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware and other military facilities when military remains are returned to the United States. Obama told reporters at his Feb. 9 news conference that he was reviewing the ban.

"If the needs of the families can be met, and the privacy concerns can be addressed, the more honor we can accord these fallen heroes, the better," Gates told reporters at a Pentagon news conference yesterday. "So I'm pretty open to whatever the results of this review may be."

Global elite creates new global media for 'global citizens'

I personally have my doubts on the merits and sustainability of obsessive focus on the local, and worse, on the latest born of 'cool' beats, the 'hyperlocal'...

But the World Economic Forum's proposal for "a new global, independent news and information service whose role is to inform, educate and improve the state of the world," to quote its report, leaves me with plenty of questions. To start with, about its independence, as a quick look at who is on its Council on the Future of Media may prompt one to raise such questions...

Here is the link to the WEF's 4-page proposal, entitled "Future of Media," which starts on page 180:
http://www.weforum.org/pdf/globalagenda.pdf

followed here below by a review of the WEF's recommendation based on a report by Cliff Kincaid of of Accuracy in Media, much of which I agree with.
What do you think?

Emerging global elite to use new global media to educate 'global citizens'

Reporting in Russia: Another Day, Another Death...

Novaya Gazeta, one of Russia's few remaining independent newspapers, is burying this month its fifth murdered journalist in the past eight years. [see AP and Moscow Times stories here below].

I wish I could say these are rare and unusually horrifying events, but I used to read about such news on a weekly, if not daily basis throughout my eight years in Moscow as a foreign correspondent. [Arguably it's a big country - 9 time zones, but still...].

Convergence and Disturbance: New Media, Networked Publics, and Pakistan

The above video is one of a large number posted via Youtube by students in Pakistan to share what was happening in their country during the 2007-2008 political emergency. During a time when the government was tightening its control over traditional media, citizen journalists took on vital functions in fostering public debate, insuring the spread of important information, monitoring elections, and helping the outside world understand what was happening.

Convergence and Disturbance: New Media, Networked Publics, and Pakistan

The above video is one of a large number posted via Youtube by students in Pakistan to share what was happening in their country during the 2007-2008 political emergency. During a time when the government was tightening its control over traditional media, citizen journalists took on vital functions in fostering public debate, insuring the spread of important information, monitoring elections, and helping the outside world understand what was happening.

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