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

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

The Political Lives of Black Youth: An Interview with Cathy Cohen (Part Two)

You write near the end of the book, "While the Obama Administration and other black officials are attempting to avoid discussions of race, members of the Republican Party and the Far Right have escalated their racial and racist talks and attacks. These contrasting trends have meant that racial discouse is increasingly being shaped by, or at least framed by, the right wing." Clearly, you have in mind something like the Tea Party movement. How would you explain the expanding support that the Tea Party has received? What impact do you think such a movement has on the political lives of the black youth you've studied?

The Political Lives of Black Youth: An Interview with Cathy Cohen

I have mentioned here several times before my participation in a new research network on youth and participatory politics, which has been funded and organized by the MacArthur Foundation as an extension of their work on Digital Media and Learning. Part of the pleasures of participating in this network has been the chance to engage in "mixed methods" research and in the process, to learn more about research methods that previously seemed very alien to my own. In graduate school, the qualitative and quantitative students walked past each other like ghosts: we shared the same offices, in some cases, but there was not much fraternizing across enemy lines. :-) Here, I've had a chance to learn about and contribute to the design of a large scale national survey as well as having the ethnographic work my team is doing informed by thoughtful questions from the social scientists and political philosophers on the team.

Dan Gillmor nudges media chicks from their shells with his new book, "Mediactive"

Dan Gillmor is such a smooth writer and so media savvy that we readers hardly realize he is hurling a challenge at all of us, from average citizens to professionals, in his new book, Mediactive, which can be purchased at store and online outlets or can be downloaded at

Gillmor identified the phenomenon of "consumer as creator" in his first book, We The People, published in 2004. His latest book is a practical, common-sense 2.0 version, assuming we no longer are receptacles of information but active participants in the process, who are called on to break out of our "comfort zone" like a chick cracking open its shell.

Lost in Boston Finds a New Partner in Hope House

Lost in Boston Real Time turns bookstores and burrito joints into bus stops by delivering the MBTA’s live bus and T data to these value add locations via LED signs. The first few deployments of the project validated the hypothesis: indeed knowing that the CT2 is still ten minutes away is much more valuable while sitting at Anna’s Taqueria with friends than standing alone at the bus stop.

LIB Real Time may be of limited value to all of us with smartphones and bus apps. But imagine you’re not sitting at Anna’s with the bean juice running down your arm as you check your smart phone app; instead you’re a client living at a residential treatment program for drug and alcohol addiction.

Say today is the first day of a new job and you need to find your way there on the bus. You don’t have a bus schedule, never mind a smart phone. You leave for the bus stop hoping that today the cards aren’t stacked against you and the bus is running on time.

Civic Media Session Explores Data in Cities

(Cross-posted at MediaShift Idea Lab)

With a redoubled focus on the community in the civic media community, the Center for Future Civic Media has launched a new speaker series. These relaxed, informal conversations about civic media featured ground-level practitioners, activists, hackers, and local leaders.

The first session, "Bustling with Information: Cities, Code, and Civics," brought good friends Nick Grossman, Nigel Jacob, and Max Ogden to our Cambridge campus. As you can see from the video clips below, these sessions are unique opportunities to talk about the amazing work that goes on in this sphere, intriguingly out of earshot of the debates on the future of journalism.


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