Recent news from the Center for Civic Media | MIT Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

New Trends in Corporate Social Responsibility

The first panel today included Patrick Jinks, President and CEO of United Way Lancaster County, Sanjay Paul, economics professor at Elizabethtown College, Henry Yaeger, director of corporate strategy for the Hershey Company, who has played a foundational role in Hershey's corporate social responsibility.

Patrick Jinks, United Way Lancaster County

Patrick started by talking about common themes that United Way cares about when they think about the common good. They are a worldwide network of local autonomous organisations focused on supportingeducation, income that leads through retirement, and good health. Typically, United Way has raised funds to pass on to other nonprofits, a "community chest" for a region. That's changing as United Way is trying to be more strategic about their work.

The pain of posting podcasts

In my nearly four years here, I've seen the rise of some great solutions to communications challenges.

MailChimp and other email marketing platforms have made signing up and emailing friends and followers dead simple while avoiding the worst practices that lead to spamhood.

Twitter not only works as a broadcast medium but also makes rebroadcasting more respectable than it had been. (You think I'm kidding, but older professional communications folks still reflexively hesitate, wondering if featuring others' news weakens one's own brand or, worse, constitutes a copyright violation.)

Eventbrite helps manage ticketing and major event promotion without ever having to print out a spreadsheet, set up a cost object, or beg a former cop to help guard a cash box.

Muhammad Yunus on the story and values of microcredit

Today, I'm a panelist at the Elizabethtown College Carper Memorial Lecture, which is on the topic of Ethics, Business, and Society. The headline speaker is the Bangaladeshi Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, creator of microcredit.

When I was an undergraduate at Elizabethtown College studying literature and the arts, I never expected that I would be coming back to speak at a business event. It's a delight to reconnect with my alma mater today. I'll be sharing blog updates throughout the day (Live etherpad notes here), starting with the talk by Dr Yunus:

Five Tech Ideas for Explanatory Journalism

How can technology help journalists make sense of complex issues and explain them to the public in a clear, understandable manner?

Last year, Jay Rosen's journalism students spent an entire semester researching and making explanations in partnership with ProPublica, a non-profit newsroom which focuses on investigative journalism. The class did amazing work to highlight notable examples and develop their own explainers. One of my favourite examples is this project from 2011, where students redesigned the same ProPublica background article as a video, a podcast, and an FAQ.

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