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

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Democratizar los medios

Para que una democracia funcione, la participación es clave. Si votar es el alcance de nuestra participación, podemos de una vez concluir que vivimos en una farsa democrática. Por eso, aún no existe la democracia, sólo el anhelo a ella. Para lograr en verdad llegar a la democracia, debemos ir más allá de ser espectadores del poder y crear nuestros propios espacios dentro del poder. Y al mismo tiempo, debemos ir más allá de nosotros mismos e interactuar (escuchar, debatir y actuar en conjunto) con los espacios de poder de los demás.

Lo mismo podemos concluir de los medios de comunicación, y de la información en general. Sino participamos en la creación de nuestra información, y nos resignamos nada más a ser lectores pasivos (espectadores) de lo que ocurre alrededor del mundo, somos vehículos que se pueden manipular fácilmente por aquellos que sí crean su propia información y la propagan de forma masiva. Nosotros sí pensamos, pero pensamos lo que otros piensan, hasta que nosotros mismos podamos llegar a producir e imaginar nuestro propio mundo.

My intro to Civic Media

My name is Mary and I am a junior at Wellesley College. I am a History major and Middle Eastern Studies minor. When I saw this course listing I became very excited. This area of media is not one that I know a lot about, but have wanted to learn more about for some time. I’d also heard great things about the MIT Media Lab and the Center for Civic Journalism from professors at Wellesley. Before I get to my personal definition of Civic Media, I’ll let you know a bit about my media interests and why I took this class.

CMS.360/860: Introduction to Civic Media

Today was the first session of the new Introduction to Civic Media course that I'm teaching at MIT's Comparative Media Studies program (CMS.360/860). It's been interesting to develop the syllabus in public, which I've been doing using etherpad. I started putting up ideas for the course several weeks ago at, and last week began tweeting, sharing via FB and G+, and sending the link around to mailing lists. All of these produced a fair amount of interest, but I got the best response by posting the link in IRC channels (oddly enough.) Many people stopped by to add ideas, readings, links to texts, and generally help me develop what I think is going to be an amazing first stab at an Introduction to Civic Media course.

Realtime Community Signage Source Code

One of the underlying themes of a few projects here at the Center for Civic Media is the idea that we can increase awareness and engagement in local communities by bringing already-centralized public information to people when and where they need it. As part of this goal we've created a relatively cheap digital electronic signage platform, primarily to showcase realtime transit and community calendar information. I want to share some of the technical details behind our current solution - scrolling LED signs controlled by a re-purposed router running simple software on top of TomatoUSB.

Our goal was to test our some ideas quickly, so the code is definitely under construction. If you’re interested, read and/or fork our code on GitHub:

Citizen Media: Early Intelligence

When Ashoka’s Changemakers launched Citizen Media: A Global Innovation Competition with Google a few weeks back, we were intentionally broad in our instructions – and were correspondingly unsure about how entrant would respond. “What do we mean by [citizen media]?” we wrote. “Well, we’re waiting for you to tell us.”

Now, they’ve begun to tell us. As of today, we’ve received 116 entries from 38 countries. And we’ve just announced the two winners of our early entry prize -- $500 apiece, plus mentoring from Google staffers. Those early winners may be a barometer for what we’ll end up with when the competition closes Sept. 14 – and indeed, they may signal something about the future of citizen media.

The Changemakers/Google competition is a quest for new solutions that dramatically improve media access and participative citizenship around the world. We’re hoping to identify many, many new innovators whose work will advance the way people get, share, and use information. Among other things, we’re looking for innovations that:


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