Henry's blog | MIT Center for Civic Media

"What Is Civic Media" Revisited: A Conversation with Harvard's John Palfrey

Cross-posted with henryjenkins.org.

Henry Jenkins: On September 20 2007, we officially launched the MIT Center for the Future of Civic Media, a joint venture of the Media Lab and the Comparative Media Studies Program.

"Critical Pessimism" Revisted: An Open Letter to Adam Fish

A few weeks ago, Adam Fish called me out through his blog, Savage Minds, for what he saw as a harsh and unfair representation of the Media Reform movement in the final paragraphs of my book, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. He did so for the most part by simply reprinting my own words to frame a story he wrote about the recent Media Reform conference.

I was a bit surprised to find myself singled out as an enemy of the Media Reform movement. If I am the biggest obstacle to your success, you are much closer to victory than I had previously imagined. :-)

The experience was uncomfortable for me, but in a very constructive way, in that it has forced me to revisit my own words and reflect on how much my thinking has changed since I wrote them. It also hit at the end of the term so I am only now able to share some of these reflections with you.

What can Journalists Learn from The Daily Show: An Interview with Amber Day (Part Two)


What do these news comedy programs add to our understanding of contemporary life which may be missing from mainstream news?

What these programs excel at is deconstructing the scripted quality of the contemporary political conversation. Though we may be aware that politicians and corporate spokespeople are all carefully groomed and staged, and that their PR people are experts at getting the talking points on television, the news media rarely actually point this out, nor do they do the work of moving the conversation beyond the talking points. Satire, then, offers a way of satisfyingly breaking through the existing script. Stewart and Colbert (as well as their counterparts in other countries) have built a reputation on their repeated attempts to demonstrate the ways in which the public political conversation is being manipulated, and to gesture to some of the very real issues that are being obscured.


Is there anything journalists could learn from and emulate from these forms of political humor which would not compromise their self-construction as neutral and objective voices?

What can Journalists Learn from The Daily Show: An Interview with Amber Day (Part One)

In case anyone was wondering, I'm not dead...yet. I seem to have spent the past few weeks AWOL on this blog, having gotten my rhythm thrown off over a particular intense period of activity on my part. Every day, I've been deluding myself into thinking I'd jump back into the swing of things, and I've been busy planning some really cool stuff for the summer which I will be announcing soon, but I've been silent. Sorry, guys.

Akoha-- A Direct Action Game?

For those of you interested in the work I've been discussing over the past week or so on civics and participatory culture, let me strongly recommend checking out the blog which is being run by the graduate students associated with our CivicPaths research group. Recent discussions there have included considerations of zombies as potential political metaphors, reflections on the nature of "engaged scholarship," thoughts on what we can learn from the Tea Party movement, and information about playful forms of civic education around economic literacy.

The Political Lives of Black Youth: An Interview with Cathy Cohen (Part Two)


You write near the end of the book, "While the Obama Administration and other black officials are attempting to avoid discussions of race, members of the Republican Party and the Far Right have escalated their racial and racist talks and attacks. These contrasting trends have meant that racial discouse is increasingly being shaped by, or at least framed by, the right wing." Clearly, you have in mind something like the Tea Party movement. How would you explain the expanding support that the Tea Party has received? What impact do you think such a movement has on the political lives of the black youth you've studied?

The Political Lives of Black Youth: An Interview with Cathy Cohen

I have mentioned here several times before my participation in a new research network on youth and participatory politics, which has been funded and organized by the MacArthur Foundation as an extension of their work on Digital Media and Learning. Part of the pleasures of participating in this network has been the chance to engage in "mixed methods" research and in the process, to learn more about research methods that previously seemed very alien to my own. In graduate school, the qualitative and quantitative students walked past each other like ghosts: we shared the same offices, in some cases, but there was not much fraternizing across enemy lines. :-) Here, I've had a chance to learn about and contribute to the design of a large scale national survey as well as having the ethnographic work my team is doing informed by thoughtful questions from the social scientists and political philosophers on the team.

Media-Making Madness: #Arab Revolutions from the Perspective of Egyptian-American VJ Um Amel (Part One)

Like many of the rest of you, I've followed with intense interest the developments over the past few weeks in North Africa and the Arab world, grabbing at anything which might help me better understand the perspectives of those involved in the various revolutions, protests, and uprisings, and in particular, to make sense of the back and forth debates about the role which new media may have played in what has been occurring. Talking to friends who know the region well, it is clear that more turmoil and transformation is on the horizon, and we will be sorting out what happened and why for many years to come.

DIY Video 2010: Political Remix (Part Three)

This is the second in an ongoing series of curated selections of DIY Video prepared in relation to the screening of DIY Video 2010 at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and organized by Mimi Ito, Steve Anderson, and the good folks at the Institute for Multimedia Literacy. The following is my interview with Jonathan McIntosh, who describes himself as "a pop culture hacker, video remix artist and fair use advocate." McIntosh was the curator for the Political Remix track of this series.

Your selections here suggest a strong over-lap between fan vidding and political remix. Can you tell us something of the relationship which has emerged between the two DIY video communities?

The overlap in my curated examples is definitely intentional on my part, though I'm not sure how much of a self-conscious relationship there is between the two genres. I can say little about the impact of political remix on vidding but I can detail the impact of vidding on political remix work.

DIY Video 2010: Political Remix (Part Two)

This is the second in an ongoing series of curated selections of DIY Video prepared in relation to the screening of DIY Video 2010 at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and organized by Mimi Ito, Steve Anderson, and the good folks at the Institute for Multimedia Literacy. The following selections were curated and commented upon by Jonathan McIntosh, who describes himself as "a pop culture hacker, video remix artist and fair use advocate."

Music Videos

Music Videos - Vidding, AMVs and many political remix videos use music and lyrics to complicate or even subvert conventional understanding of a particular series of images. Music and lyrics can significantly change the tone or emotional register of otherwise familiar images, and lyrics in particular can provide a complicated counter-narrative to common-place visuals.

Star Trek: Too Many Dicks

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