Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

The Week in Civic Media: Truth Goggles

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My Failed Civic Media Project

The week of 11/28, we discussed Failed Civic Media projects with Benjamin Mako Hill. We discussed why some projects fail, what could have prevented them from failing, why some projects succeed, and what we can learn from both failure and success. At the time of this lecture I didn’t think I had participated in any civic media projects that had failed. Then I took a look back to the dreaded years: high school.

When I was in high school, I was very involved in student broadcast journalism. Our show, The Newsdesk, was broadcast on a channel maintained by the school board and local city government, TPS-14. I decided to pursue an individual project aside from anchoring and writing for The Newsdesk in my senior year of high school. I wanted to make a documentary. I think my documentary is a great example of a small-scale civic media project that failed, although at the time I had no idea what “civic media” was.

Trust Me: Credibility is the Future of Journalism

This post has been cross-posted from

My colleague Matt Stempeck said it best: "Dan, I know that your life has been a tornado wrapped in a hurricane wrapped up in a whole box of tsunamis this week, but you really need to start wearing pants to work."

It turns out only part of that quote is accurate, but you'll never know which one for sure! This is why, before I can graduate from MIT, I have to create an automated bullshit detector. The basic premise is that we, as readers, are inherently lazy. It isn't just that we'll believe almost anything -- remember that time in 1938 when we believed aliens were invading the planet just because someone on the radio said so? Yeah. That happened. The real problem is that we'll often believe what we want to believe (or disbelieve what we don't want to believe).

Guest Post: Mass Challenge at the Center for Civic Media

This great guest post has been written by my Media Lab colleague, the entrepreneur and engineer Travis Rich (twitter) (linkedIn). Mass Challenge visited the Center for Civic Media for lunch today; both Travis and I took notes. My companion post, which includes further detail is here: "Mass Challenge: A Startup Renaissance?".

Mass Challenge, a Startup Renaissance?

Today, Mass Challenge joined the Center for Civic Media for lunch. My notes here form an extended record of our conversation. A great summary: "Mass Challenge at the Center for Civic Media," has been written by my Media Lab colleague, the entrepreneur and engineer Travis Rich.

Can the big challenges facing our world be solved by entrepreneurs? If so, then what kind of community might be needed to coordinate the resources, ideas, and connections required for large-scale, big impact initiatives?

Today, we had a visit from Karl Buttner, Jeremy Bersin, and Warren Anderson of MassChallenge, a $1M global startup competition and accelerator program that aims to catalyse the launch and success of high-growth, high-impact new businesses.


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