Creating Technology for Social Change

This Week in Civic Media: 68% of US broadband connections aren’t actually broadband

The Big News this Week

Internship opportunity

  • New media/mapping internship opportunity with Grassroots Jerusalem
  • Grassroots Jerusalem co-director Micha Kurz sends word of his team’s internship opportunity in new media, with a goal of creating four interactive maps this summer–of streets and housing in Jerusalem, of schools and health statistics, of local stories (using multimedia), and of grassroots organizations and other local resources. Interested? Check out the full description


  • “Leaks are a supplement to transparency; not the foundation for it.”
  • “Some recent discussions of WikiLeaks have labeled information leaks as the silver bullet in creating a more transparent government. There certainly have been times when leaks have had profound effects on how the government operates, and this is among them (the Pentagon Papers, Mark Felt a.k.a. Deep Throat, and Thomas Lawson also come to mind). It is, however, shortsighted to conceive of leaks as a replacement to the systematic requirements for openness that are essential to our democracy. Leaks are a supplement to transparency; not the foundation for it.”

  • AP team proposes visualization tools for datadumps like Wikileaks’


  • How To Record Quality Video on Your Mobile, via @mobileactive
  • “When it comes to shooting video, the major difference between mobiles and mainstream camcorders is that mobile phones have simpler (and smaller) cameras. It is important to understand what makes for good quality video given these limitations. Some suggested tools and tips are listed here.”


  • Justice Department launches suit against nine Gulf oil companies, leaves door open to sue Halliburton
  • New York Times: Suit could reach into the tens of billions of dollars. Representative Edward J. Markey, a Democrat of Massachusetts, said: “It may have taken these companies months to cap their well, but they will spend years trying to cap their financial obligations to the people of the gulf.”

  • Federal appeals court rules emails are protected by 4th amendment, gov’t must get warrant to read them
  • In a case that would have made a great second act of a Law and Order episode, the 6th circuit court of appeals ruled that law enforcement must get a warrant to seize and search emails stored by an email service provider.


  • Census shows dramatic rise in immigrants settling in suburbs, no growth in cities
  • Los Angeles saw no change in immigration for the first time in decades, while the immigrant population in a greater Atlanta county quadrupled. Census indicates immigrants moved wherever the housing-boom jobs were. Features some great interactive maps from our friends at Every Block.

  • While newspapers argue for “open” newsrooms, CT’s Journal Register opens actual open newsroom, via @jayrosen_nyu
  • “The space includes the Company’s first newsroom café that is open to the public and serves coffee and pastries; provides free public wifi; public access to more than 120 years of newspaper archives; classroom/meeting space with video conferencing capabilities; and dedicated space and workstations for the public as part of The Register Citizen Community Media Lab.”