civic media | MIT Center for Civic Media

When the church says recycle, you recycle

Lebanon has been suffering a garbage crisis for the past nine months, and people are living within piles of garbage - literally - and the ruling elite does not seem that enthusiastic to resolve the situation. The problem reflects the lack of infrastructure in the country and the crippling of local decision making where executive decisions need to pass by a parliament that is more interested in economic gain for its members than the public good. The bright side is that this crisis has created pockets of unprecedented civil society movements that are not dependent on hegemonic powers of political leaders. These initiatives have short life spans due to the lack of experience in undertaking such projects without an obvious leader, but they are interesting indications of a learning process that has to happen in order to reach a sovereign everyday life, a true meaning of citizenship. The following example stands out because it's an interesting utilization of existing ideologies, official municipal mediators, locality, a desire for change and a keen knowledge of the population.

Media, Stories, and Boston youth

"Those who do not have the power over the story that dominates their lives, the power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless, because they cannot think new thoughts." - Salman Rushdie

Story is powerful. Whether the his-stories ingested through schooling, the discourses given voice in the news or the identities composed in popular culture, we make the world and are made by the world, through narrative. Politicians get this, media scholars get this, the youth get this.

Emoji Karaoke at the Boston Internet Research Party

Two weeks ago, Kate Miltner, Amy Johnson and I organized the first Boston Internet Researchers Party, hosted by the Center for Civic Media, Microsoft Research, and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Why Does a Free Internet Matter? Alberto Ibarguen Explains

"How can we strengthen the Internet for free expression and innovation?" is the theme of the most recent Knight News Challenge, which received 704 submissions, supported 54 entries through a refinement process, and is announcing the winners today. Previous challenges have focused on health data, Open Government, Mobile News, Networks, and much more. Sands Fish and I were there to liveblog the announcement of grantees.

Buy the change you wish to see in the world

Media has shaped the culture of cancer in the United States, and even more broadly, it has changed the country’s general sense of social responsibility. For my final project for Intro to Civic Media, I want to explore this further.

I am the cure

After someone close to me was diagnosed with breast cancer, I found myself drowning in pink ribbon products—pink t-shirts, pink pens, pink socks, a pink hairdryer.

The sale of pink ribbon products is a form of cause marketing. Breast cancer cause marketing can take many forms, but it is commonly understood to be when a business sells their product and promises to give a portion of the profit to a breast cancer foundation. There are a number of challenges that arise from this practice, one of them being that more and more people are giving to social causes by being a consumer.

Improving the Visibility of Citizen Journalism in Cambridge

This is a post by Karina, Victor, and MC about our experiences in the Civic Media Codesign class. You can find a timeline showing what we did in the class here.

Our group worked with Cambridge Community Television (CCTV) in the Spring 2013 Civic Media Codesign Studio. CCTV is a community media non-profit in Cambridge with a web-based citizen journalism program called NeighborMedia.


The codesign process was incredibly iterative, and went through five stages.

CivicMaps Toolkit: wrapping up the semester at CMS-860

This semester was a blast studying at Civic. I took Sasha Costanza-Chock's Introduction to Civic Media where we studied a series of civic engagement aspects that include media (in a large sense). One of the objective of the course is to get students to work on a civic media project their are passionate about and present the results in the end of the semester. In my case, I decided to work with the CivicMaps Toolkit.

For me, maps are really important for civic engagement. For a while I've been focusing on how the application of technology and innovation can enhance humanitarian action. It is well-known for many how the field changed drastically during the Haiti earthquake response. It was then when the Crisis Mapping community became internationally recognized for using new tools that included social media, networked collaboration and online crowdsourcing to collect, analyze and share information on where to send responders. I am a member of the Crisis Mappers community since then.

Resilient Neighborhoods: The fight for a voice against eminent domain strategies in Mexico City

This is the final submission for the Intro to Civic Media Class.

I have posted some of my progress throughout the semester on this regard. Today I am posting my development and research but also the plans to move ahead. This class has been specially helpful on that regard, in taking my research forward and opening up new ways to further my investigation on this topic. I will provide here a short abstract and all the proper links to learn more and read the whole submission. I look forward to your comments.