Andrew's blog | MIT Center for Civic Media

Using tech in protests: does it reinforce perceptions of privilege?

Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer writes this morning in the Washington Post:

To the villainy-of-the-rich theme emanating from Washington, a child is born: Occupy Wall Street. Starbucks-sipping,  Levi’s-clad, iPhone-clutching protesters denounce corporate America even as they weep for Steve Jobs, corporate titan, billionaire eight times over.

These indignant indolents saddled with their $50,000 student loans and English degrees have decided that their lack of gainful employment is rooted in the malice of the millionaires on whose homes they are now marching — to the applause of Democrats suffering acute Tea Party envy and now salivating at the energy these big-government anarchists will presumably give their cause.

This Week in Civic Media: Hero Reports in the News

Upcoming Events

(You can read a ton of insightful posts from Sasha Costanza-Chock's introduction to civic media students)

This Week in Civic Media: "Representing Islam," Thursday 5pm

Park 51Representing Islam, a Civic Media Session this Thursday

  • "Representing Islam", our 9/15 event with Boston College/Berkman Center's Intisar Rabb, Sudanese blogger Amir Ahmad Nasr, and civil rights outreach director of the American Islamic Congress, Nasser Weddady

Thursday lunch series kicks off (RSVP req.)

  • Thursday 12:30pm: "Citizen and Professional Media in Italy" with Luca De Biase:

Introduction to Civic Media

This Week in Civic Media: MyDotTour highlights youth leadership in Dorchester

From the Center

My Dot Tour

  • @ReganStP: My Dot Tour kicks off today in Fields Corner - add your voice! @deptofplay @civicMIT @DotNews @DorchesterNews
  • Dorchester walking tour strengthening youth leadership skills


Hero Reports

  • Cronicas de Heroes moving toward bi-national rollout, creating hero reports along the U.S.-Mexican border
  • "Heroes in Juarez: Citizens Challenge a City’s Reputation"
  • @ernestopriego: Sobre Juárez, Hero Reports y @civicMIT: #vocesmx #SinLugar

Digital Signage in Union Square, Somerville

This Week in Civic Media: Digital signage project "Sameboat" on display in Wisconsin

Sameboat LED sign

From the Center

  • "Wisconsin foundation develops innovative digital signage project with @civicMIT" (Thanks, @michelemclellan!)
  • @knightfdn: Using technology to connect, and keep us human
  • Our friend Mel King was inducted into the New England Civil Rights hall of fame

News Corp

This Week in Civic Media: Cronicas receives its 1,000th report

Cronicas de Heroes

From the Center: "Cronicas de Heroes"

More from the Center

Permanent reunion: How can the civic media community collaborate throughout the year?

This June's Civic Media Conference was described in glowing terms by so many of you who attended, but no term was as oft-repeated -- and to me, as heartwarming and frustrating -- as the word "reunion".

Why would a reunion be heartwarming and frustrating, assuming you're not meeting your high school sweetheart? Well, we love it that so many past attendees are able to get together again, collaborate again, have a few drinks again. But we hate it that we haven't found a way to keep attendees together, collaborating, and socializing throughout the rest of the year.

That is, in the word "reunion" is an implication that we've been apart.

So I wrote to our 200+ attendees and asked a simple question: how can we better collaborate in person throughout the year? In fact, what already works well in your organization, your community, and your neighborhood?

We got some great responses and want your thoughts in the comment field below:

I would suggest creating a think tank of sorts, a place that people can post their ideas, thoughts, etc, in a casual way so we can share our musings.

We're totally PDF'd: Open state-level datasets still fail to inspire

(Edited to add Max Ogden's recommendation of ScraperWiki to help deal with PDF datasets.)


Courtesy of a recommendation by John Wonderlich at the Sunlight Foundation, here's a faceted browser/catalog of state- and other-level datasets to explore:

And while the tool itself is indespensible, it highlights the bane of our data-loving existence: tons of state-level data have been posted to sites only as PDFs.

Want to know how the Alabama liquor control board has been spending its money? You'll have to read through forty-five 20+ page PDF'd spreadsheets:

This Week in Civic Media: New Name, Funds, Leader, and Site

New Name, New Funds, New Leader, New Site

  • A kick in the future. @c4fcm is now @civicMIT, reflecting our new moniker
  • @knightfdn announces new round of funding for us: $3.76m over three years
  • Ethan Zuckerman to lead MIT Center for Civic Media @ethanz #civicmedia
  • #Civicmedia rule number 1: It's all about the Zuckermans.
  • Quietly, sneaking into your life as you think about the #civicmedia conference and #NewsChallenge, is our new site

MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference