Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Remixing Mainstream Media

As we all know the most important part of any successful project is completely changing your idea at the last minute. In that spirit I am about to present a progress update on a project that has nothing to do with the revamped IRC interface I outlined last time (note that the IRC project isn’t dead, but I’ll be working on it over IAP instead).

Here’s my new plan: I am going to make it possible for anyone to control the content of front page of the New York Times. Want your kid’s little league game in the local news? That’s cool, but you know what’s cooler? Having your kid’s fame story smack dab front and center next to the article about Osama Bin Laden’s assassination. Suddenly little Billy is the talk of more than just the town, he’s the talk of the entire world!

Interested? Well hang onto your hats because I’m about to teleport to a completely different topic.

The Week in Civic Media: Mapping Media Ecosystems

Events This Week

  • "Mapping Media Ecosytems". Civic Media Session, Wednesday 5pm w/ Hal Roberts, Erhardt Graeff, Gilad Lotan cot.ag/uad5Sz
  • Mitch Resnick joins us Thursday for free lunch (RSVP). "Launching Projects into the World": cot.ag/uwCU4G
  • Join Nathan Matias, Matt Stempek, and Daniel Schultz at the Civic Media London Social Thu 3 Nov @ 6:00pm bit.ly/uUzVK6

Civic Videos and Podcasts

  • Video: Civic Media Session: "Civic Maps" cot.ag/vwolZi
  • Video: Ethan Zuckerman on "Networks Understanding Networks" cot.ag/tCdCFc
  • Video: Benjamen Walker talks "Too Much Information" at our Civic Media Lunch: bit.ly/vKJvyv (Great example of "civic fiction" as a genre…)
  • Podcast: "Surveillance and Citizenship" cot.ag/saThfE
  • Molly Sauter interviewed by BBC4 about Anonymous and hacktivism cot.ag/vwfnHR (~13:50)

Social Media & Mass Media : Looking at BBC's guidelines for using pictures from Social Media

BBC is one of the few mass media outlets that has a worldwide footprint, and as someone who used to live in a region which is heavily covered by the BBC, it was very interesting to see the "outside perspective" that it brought in for issues which had a strongly localized context. With the BBC going into the practice of inviting participation (via social networks) to their reporting process, I think it would be very interesting to see the resultant blending of the local and the outside perspective.

The BBC has published their social media policy online, and as I was going through it, their editorial guidelines for using pictures from social media seemed very interesting to me. The guidelines cover three important areas - context, consent and amplification.

Examining Participatory Journalism in the NYTimes

For Intro to Civic Media this week we were asked to pick a media news outlet and examine how they incorporated participatory media into their practices and work. Being a regular New York Times reader, I decided to look back at my own personal observations of the NYTimes' online interaction with readers.

When thinking of examples within the NYTimes website, I kept going back to their blogs, which are managed and written by their staff members and sometimes visitors. The blog comments can be areas for readers to have conversations about the article. I remember that the comments feature started off fairly simple as a stream of messages. Soon they became curated by an editor with a tag indicating that it was recommended by an editor. More recently, instead of being curated by an editor, the newspaper allowed readers to curate by enabling them to "recommend" comments. This resulted in comments being marked not by editors but by the number of recommendations that comment received.

From Small To Big And In Between

This week’s readings were particularly relevant to my project research, so it was exciting to read these having just returned from the [extremely chilly pre-snow] OccupyBoston site. I only got two interviews in before I had to head out (I’ll be returning for more soon), but I think I gained some important insight into the relationship between the “I” and the “We” at Occupy. Mostly, though, the interviews I conducted at Dewey Square got me thinking about the role professionalism and locality play in the success of an anti-establishment movement, and also what a move from fringe to mainstream does to that movement.

When I asked Alex, a member of the OccupyBoston media team, why consensus was necessary, he noted that it was a public-relations problem: no one would listen to the movement if every member had something different to say. He made sure to point out that reaching consensus, however, was “a total cluster-fuck…a serious pain.” I bet it is.

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