Media in the context of civic media work refers to all modes of mass communication: print - newspapers and magazines, broadcast - radio and TV, and internet sites - personal and from organizations. <em>Civic Media</em> are those forms of communication that strengthen the social bonds within a community or create a strong sense of civic engagement among its residents.

Talking Fast II: More CrisisMapper Ignite Sessions

Luis Capelo (@luiscape) of Digital Humanitarian Network loves volunteers. DH exists to stimulate more interaction between humanitarian volunteers and large humanitarian institutions.

There's information overload in humanitarian responses. How do we collect and make sense of all this information? Luis credits humanitarian orgs with doing the hard work of adapting, but it's a rough sea to navigate. Volunteer & Technical Communities thrive in this environment. They're nimble, lightweight, and advanced, technically. Luis thinks its time to stop questioning whether VT&Cs can help, and begin to dive into how these groups can collaborate.

DH aims to create a consortium of groups that faciliates between the two worlds, and reduces the cost of collaboration
They have a simplified activation process: activate volunteers, triage the volume, and forward them to VT&Cs. They've produced a guide to manage the activation of VT&Cs.

The political economy of mass media class

Every week one of us is assigned to write a blog about the last Introduction to Civic Media class. So this week is my turn.

We started the class reviewing a few of the projects that were presented in this blog the week before. The projects are receiving faculty advice, either personally, through e-mails or blog comments on the posts.

Then we went through the theory which, for most of us in class, was very dense this week. The texts assigned for reading were all anchored on Marxist based communication theory. For starters, Sasha drove us through a review of some basic Marxist concepts, like capital, time and labor, modes of production, classes, means of production, base and superstructure.

Project proposal: an analysis of current commenting systems

With the growth of social media and various forms of participatory media, the line between the traditional content generators and the content consumers is fading. As a result, conversations and comments from consumers as well as their posts on social media are starting to become considered content itself.

As media moves towards utilizing conversations and comments to provide more content and context, it’s important to think about the definition of having a “good” conversation, the motives and incentives to get people to contribute to a good conversation, and also how to get a diverse set of commenters to avoid bias.

Mexico's Networked Social Movements: #YoSoy132

How are networks and technologies being used to organise social movements in Mexico? Andrés Monroy Hernandez organised a panel to look at this question in the case of the Mexican #YoSoy132 movement. Andrés is a social computing researcher at Microsoft Research and an affiliate at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. (I have previously blogged his research on designing for remix and creative learning). The panel was hosted by Microsoft Research New England, in collaboration with the Center for Civic Media.


The power of the crowdsourced documentary

Jigar Mehta is a documentary filmmaker and a journalist who came to address the MIT Open Doc Lab and the Center for Civic Media about the collaborative documentary project, #18 Days in Egypt. The project, which tells the story of the ongoing Egyptian revolution, is a collaborative web-native documentary project about the ongoing Egyptian revolution. For more information, see @18daysinegypt and @jigarmehta.

This is a liveblog of the event by rodrigodavies and schock - please let us know if you have corrections or additions.

Tell us your story

"Join us, tell us your story" is the prompt given by the Kitchen Sisters for their most recent project, "The Hidden World of Girls." This is one of 3 storytelling projects I've been enjoying lately that center women as storytellers about their lives and histories.

The Hidden World of Girls

The Hidden World of Girls, is a recent project by NPR radio production duo, The Kitchen Sisters. It's a series of radio documentaries featuring women and stories about women that people called in responding to the full prompt, "Who are the women that inspire you? What are the rituals for girls in your community? Whose stories have yet to be told? Help us on our quest for tales of the extraordinary and everyday, from the past to the present" by calling into the Hidden World of Girls message line (202-408-9576) or leaving stories in writing, images, audio and video on the web form.

Critical and Iterative aspects of Civic Media

Hi Sasha, Becky, Class, and World,

My name's Arlene Ducao. I'm a second year Media Lab student in the Info Eco ( group. I'm looking forward to participating in the class in some way, particularly in the civic maps session; maps are at the central part of my thesis OpenIR ( and my Brooklyn design studio ( I will conduct OpenIR user studies in Indonesia in January, and I'm hoping this class will give me a broad understanding of Civic Media in preparation for the study.

The News as a Social Process for Improving Society

Francis SteenFrancis Steen, Associate Professor of Communication Studies at UCLA and Director of the UCLA Library Communication Studies Archive, spoke at the Media Lab for an event organised by the ICE (Imagination, Computation, and Expression) Lab today. Denise and I liveblogged it, so let us know where the errors are and we'll fix them. 

Francis Steen begins by posing the question: why do we have news?

It's not a question of accuracy, he argues; we should look at the news as a way of thinking. Think of the news as a state space that includes what is possible and what is valuable. That is, the news take events that occur in the world and place them in terms of what is valuable and what is possible.

Filming at "Puerto Rico en Reflejos: Rafael Angel Carrasco-Vazquez"

Anabel Vasquez Rodriguez and Rafael Angel introduce the exhibit.

On Fri 27, together with Jenny Larios Berlin, and Sasha Costanza-Chock, I attended the opening event at Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion (IBA) for Rafael Angel’s exhibit, "Puerto Rico en Reflejos." IBA is the community organization of the Villa Victoria community in Boston’s South End. One program of IBA’s varied community development work is community building through arts education and events. The IBA galleries host artists from around the world, and this was the first instance of a show by a Villa Victoria resident.

Responses to discriminatory immigration and biased policing

The recent Supreme Court ruling on SB1070 and ongoing campaigns to raise awareness around biased policing codified at national, state, and local levels have led to some similar communication tech projects. I’ve been talking to people involved in various campaigns about their work and the tech projects they’ve developed. In this post, I’m summarizing some of these conversations.

SCOTUS upholds SB1070’s “Papers please” provision
In late June, the Supreme Court announced its decision on 4 provisions of Arizona’s state bill 1070 establishing new state policies around immigration enforcement. SCOTUS was deciding on whether these provisions overstepped the rights of a state as the federal government is meant to be the institution with the right to create and enforce immigration laws nationwide.