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

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Grassroots Mapping's Jeffrey Warren on WGBH's Emily Rooney Show

At the 43:30 mark, the Center's Jeffrey Yoo Warren speaks with WGBH's Emily Rooney about how he’s using cheap cameras affixed to kites and balloons to track the gulf oil spill. (Read more about the project at

When Dora the Explorer Met INS: Playing with Popular Icons

As part of my lecture at the Fiske Matters conference, I shared many images of contemporary activist groups which drew upon images and icons from popular culture as "resources" which help them to capture the imagination and motivate the engagement of broader publics. As Fiske wrote,

Knight Foundation unveils 2010 Knight News Challenge grant recipients

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation--sponsor of the MIT Center for Future Civic Media--today announced their 2010 Knight News Challenge winners. Together, these winners form another ground-breaking, visionary class of civic media developers, inventors, and entrepreneurs.

Video of the announcement by Knight Foundation president Alberto Ibargüen, as well as full descriptions of the funded projects, are available now via MIT. Please join us in congratulating the winners:

CityTracking, by Eric Rodenbeck, Stamen Design
To make municipal data easy to understand, CityTracking will allow users to create embeddable data visualizations that are appealing enough to spread virally and that are as easy to share as photos and videos.

The Cartoonist, by Ian Bogost and Michael Mateas, Georgia Tech
To engage readers in the news, this project will create a free tool that produces cartoon-like current event games -- the game equivalent of editorial cartoons.

John Fiske: Now and The Future

Last week, I was honored to be one of the keynote speakers at the Fiske Matters conference which was held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. John Fiske has been and continues to be one of the most important intellectual influences on my work. His strong defense of popular culture as offering a series of resources through which active audiences struggled over meaning was a foundation for my ongoing investigation of participatory culture and new media literacy. His work was controversial at the time he introduced it - in part because he challenged the tendency of left academics towards cultural pessimism which had motivated so much of American cultural theory in the late 20th century. Fiske struggled to get us to look closer at the lives of ordinary people and the ways that they struggled to assert aspects of their own needs and desires through their relationship with mass produced culture. For Fiske, mass culture was culture produced by commercial industries, while popular culture was culture at the moment it became a resource for ordinary people through the process of consumption.


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