Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media


The morning started with a set of “peer assists”, where the assembled technical expertise was applied to specific problems. Two people from the National Democratic Institute in Lebanon presented their ideas for a project to engage youth in the upcoming Lebanese municipal elections. Because voting patterns tend to closely follow sectarian lines, the group is [...]


Day 2 was spent without our Iraqi counterparts, so we had more technical discussions. Nadav pitched a delay tolerant network that was immediately called “data mule.” Jeff had a good crowd for his balloon and kite demonstrations, and for Cartagen as a vector mapping platform. I was in a conversation about how to incentivize participants [...]

Open Park Spring Internship

Open Park, a new project in collaborative digital media production of the Center for Future Civic Media, is now accepting applications for its Spring Semester Internship.

Are you a full-time student with a creative mind and cool concepts for re-creating collaboration? Do you have in mind an ideal model for digital news and media production? And would you like to work with your own team of collaborators on these ideas, all the while gaining great experience in an interestingly challenging and innovative environment, and a great portfolio to show off at the end? And for credit of course!..

If so, check our application requirements at:

Contact: Florence Gallez

Mobile Data Collection for Social Action

At the Innovations in Mobile Data Collection for Social Action in Iraq and the Middle East conference. We started off by asking questions about when and where mobile or distributed data can make a difference in a rapidly rotating roundtable. Projects I’ve learned about at and through the center were helpful here, but the experience [...]

Ron Steinman's strong stand against citizen journalism

Ron Steinman, NBC's Saigon bureau chief during the Vietnam War, the author of two books on the war, and now executive editor of The Digital Journalist, takes an unusually strong--some might say aggressively dismissive--stand against the rise of citizen journalism, particularly as use of volunteer reporters displaces professionals. "It is important that we defeat what appears to be a land grab by citizen journalists and blind accountants," Steinman writes, "or what they really are: untutored amateurs, the almost journalists of our modern age."

The gathering and presentation of news cannot live on desire alone. It cannot go forward without money and lots of it. It takes time and dedication to keep people informed. Journalists need training to succeed. Without training, and the high standards that training brings, something that the supporters of citizen journalism decry as hoary, there would be no journalism at all. In the end, someone has to pay the professionals for the work they do.


For all the hype, using citizen journalists is an excuse by the bean counters at publications to lower costs. By putting costs over content, the accountants lower standards. This saves an enormous amount of money it would have to spend on those who normally collect news. In reality, accountants really do not know better.

Read and comment on the full post at The Digital Journalist.


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