Civic media

Blogging the Mormon Story, One Mormon at a Time

Mormon Church at 65 Binney St in Cambridge, Mass.

Boston-area Mormons have developed a local blogging scene that builds community between both parishioners and their non-Mormon friends. For a faith that’s accustomed to defending against stereotypes, a blog post is a chance to tell one’s own truth.

Amy Beth Harrison of Cambridge, Mass. published a post titled “Media Attention Misses the Heart of Mormonism” in February of 2012:

You don’t have to agree with us about what we believe. You don’t have to think we are Christian. You can find our practices odd or strange or have issues about our history. Please, though, understand how precious the LDS Church is to the heart of a believer.

5 Ways You Can Give Attention As Aid

When we really care about a community in crisis, there's a lot more we can do than give money to a formal aid organization. In fact, the range of activities we CAN do to help, even remotely, is much greater and richer than it has ever been before.

For my Media Lab Master's thesis, I'm looking at all of the new ways people can help each other in times of crisis (mutual aid), and how information & communication technology (the internet) has amplified this peer aid.

Ethan Zuckerman's DML Keynote: Beyond “The Crisis in Civics”

Liveblogging Ethan Zuckerman’s Keynote at the Digital Media Learning conference in Chicago

Ethan Zuckerman is Director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT Media Lab. He has been a member of MacArthur’s Youth and Participatory Politics network. Before that, he was a Fellow at the Berkman Center, and has a long history of thinking about technology’s role in civic and political engagement.

Food Rescue - how can tech help?

This is the first in a series of posts about how technology can help food rescue and food security.  I am collaborating with community groups in Somerville, MA; trying to extend and enhance existing food rescue programs.  Read the second post, about our design workshop, here.

Food waste is a huge problem in the US – with millions of tons wasted per year and scores left hungry around the nation. Members of the Somerville Coalition for Food Security approached me to help work on this problem here in my town; wondering how technology could help them expand their exiting food recovery programs. As a first step, I did a bunch of research into who is using technology to help with food rescue, and how. This post summarizes that research.

Bringing a Nation's Archives Online

(a Civic lunch liveblogged with Nathan Matias and Rahul Bhargava)

Today, we're hearing from the National Archives and Records Adminisration about the archives they maintain, how they're making those archives available online at, and approaches to sharing the archives to broader audiences.

Pamela Wright is the Chief Innovation Officer at the National Archives and Records Administration. Bill Mayer is the Executive for Research Services at NARA. Michael Moore is the Access Coordinator for Research Services East (right here in Waltham, MA).

Codesign, inclusion, and the hackathon: Codesign Studio 2013 is underway

Course poster, made by Denise.
[poster designed by Denise Cheng]

The Spring 2013 Codesign Studio is underway. Inspired by the profusion of hackathons, the frame of this semester’s course is to collaboratively design an inclusive pop-up event with our community partners. We meet weekly and both enrolled students and our partners participate in each class meeting. See our syllabus and growing resource list here:

Our goals are:

Hacking the flu emergency at CrisisCamp Boston


Last month at the Center for Civic Media we held CrisisCamp Boston - an event that is part of the global Crisis Commons organization and sprung out of the Hurricane Hackers group that began life in the Center for Civic Media. There were three motivations for organizing the event: to build on the success of the Sandy group and move forward with those projects, to tackle an immediate and local issue (Boston's flu emergency) and to experiment with a new hackathon / workshop format.

Sourcemap is Hiring!

Civic Media Fans,

Sourcemap was one of the first spin-offs from the Center for Civic Media, and we've just landed exciting new projects in West Africa and in Latin America. We're looking for special people to fill the spots. See our job call below.


Are you fascinated with how things are made? Then you'll love working at Sourcemap. We're building software that revolutionizes the way we share information about supply chains: where things come from, what they're made of, and their social/environmental impact. And we're delivering it to clients including multinationals, governments, activists and NGO's. Sourcemap is hiring full-time employees to join our team based in Central Square, Cambridge (MA). We are looking for enthusiastic people with experience in:

Object-Oriented Programming (PHP, Python, JS)
Sales and Support
Design and Media Production

Email resumes, code samples and portfolios to:

"The Economist" on internet activism

From the defeat of Hollywood-sponsored Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) to the flop of International Telecommunication Union’s crafty treaty, 2012 frustrated many government and company attempts to meddle with the internet. In its first 2013 edition, The Economist presents an interesting balance of what it calls “a big year for online activists”. The British magazine poses a thought-provoking question: are we witnessing the rise of a new organic political power like environmentalism in the 1960s and 1970s?

The analogy is compelling. In its dawn, the environmental movement was an umbrella term for heterogeneous groups: people concerned about nuclear plants, citizens interested in cleaning a particular river, anti-pesticide activists, and so on. Gradually, such different strands came together and eventually formed a complete political platform with a comprehensive discourse­ that went on to wield legislative and executive power – the green parties in Europe and elsewhere.