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

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Shared Principles of Civic Media

Today was the second meeting of Intro to Civic Media, and it's already clear that the semester is going to be an exciting one. After a spirited discussion of the issues raised by the students' first round of blog entries, we experimented with May First / People Link's Collaborative Democracy Workshop. This is a web based tool designed to help facilitate small group deliberation around a shared "Bill of Rights," or in our case, Principles of Civic Media. The following images from our workshop show the process:

Oh Hai! (and trying to define ‘Civic Media’)

My name is Sayamindu, and I’m a graduate student in the MAS (Media Arts and Sciences) program here at MIT. In the past I have been involved in a number of Free and Open Source projects, and currently I’m involved in a Media Lab project called Scratch where kids can create and remix interactive media (games, animations, stories, etc) through programming, and share them online. In some ways, I have been an “in the trenches” member of a participatory, shared interest driven culture, and now I try to study and understand a somewhat similar (though much smaller) community¹. Something that interests me in the world of Scratch are projects and conversations that deal with bigger issues outside of the community. These issues range from US politics (example project) to cruelty to animals (example project). My immediate interest (that immediately popped up when I saw this course in the catalog) is exploring this particular aspect of the Scratch community, but in general I'm also interested in the wider space of Civic Media.

Growing Up with Civic Media

Five years ago I was a sophomore at Carnegie Mellon University trying to decide between 11 different fields of study. Meanwhile, the Journalism industry was beginning a transformation of its own as Internet-based panic and disruption was reaching a critical mass among Newspapers and professional informers. That was the year that Knight began their News Challenge, the program that funded the creation of this center.

In what must have been a fluke I became one of the first round winners. This meant that I would very quickly put my own identity crisis into perspective (compared to the unknowns that journalists faced, my directions felt downright narrow). It also meant that I would get to start growing up alongside an entire industry.

Being asked now to define “Civic Media?” I have to smile because I know that the mental magma around this area has only just begun to cool. I’ll play along!

What is Civic Media?

In the style of Monty Python: It’s…

Exploring Civic Media

Hello, the name's Hyunji Lee. But since few can pronounce that, I am known as Hailey. When I ran across the description of this course online, I was ecstatic to have found a class that directly deals with the transformation of the journalism industry. As an aspiring journalist, I was aware that one of the key skills to be competitive was to have digital know-how and to be innovative in one's storytelling through multi-platform applications. This class seemed to explore all of these--and where is a better place to study technology innovations than MIT?

What is Civic Media?

In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit I have never blogged before in my life. This is a truly new experience for me, so please bear with me as I learn the ropes. My online presence is very sparse, consisting of merely a Facebook and a very new Twitter account. My interest in media and communications is relatively recent. And I had no idea what civic media even was until I found this course and did some research.

I’m an International Relations major with a concentration in Political Science at Wellesley College and president of our chapter of Amnesty International. My interests have always included international relations, foreign policy, diplomacy, and human rights issues. I’m particularly intrigued by the cross-section of human rights, international law and international security. But recently I found myself drawn to the possibilities of media applied both to global problems and local concerns.


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