Civic media

Reinventing Public Media: Matter, a media accellerator

Matter is a new startup accelerator which aims to reinvent public media. At the Media Lab today, Corey Ford, Jake Shapiro, and Jigar Mehta (who spoke at the Media Lab earlier this semester), are holding a conversation on the mission and details of Matter, the application process, and the culture that Matter hopes to create.

Read about Matter in the New York Times, on the Knight Foundation blog, and the PRX blog.

Methods of connecting with voters in the 2012 presidential election campaigns

It’s the end of another semester at MIT, and the close of my time in CMS.360, Introduction to Civic Media. To close off the semester, I’ve posted a copy of the slides to my 5 minute Ignite talk from our last class about methods of connecting with voters in the 2012 presidential election campaigns.

The 2012 campaigns are interesting because both parties utilized new technology to achieve traditional campaign goals — to connect with voters, gain information about them, and use that information to target them better. My project focused on three ways presidential campaigns connected with voters — using targeted emails, phone banks, and social media — and aspects that made them succeed.

Stories, products, consumers, people

My final project for Intro to Civic Media is the website Marketplace stories of origin, for collecting, interpreting and re-writing stories of origin on product packages, and a paper that contextualizes this project and describes its motives and hopeful outcomes. The website is fully functional but requires some manual tinkering when submissions come in--thanks to various offers of assistance, it should become more efficient on the backend this spring. The paper, Stories, products, consumers, people, compares marketing texts and folklore traditions, describes the corporate sales strategies known as "heritage branding" and "vicarious nostalgia", offers a brief history of U.S. packaging and labeling regulations, and considers the motives for and effects of great collecting and categorizing efforts from the past, especially Antti Aarne and Stith Thompson's tale type index for classifying and locating folk tales according to plot devices, motifs, and geographic distribution.

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.

New steps (hopefully on the right direction). Mexico City and its contested spaces of violence

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been studying the role of citizen activism on regards to drug-related violence in Mexico City. In particular I have been focusing on the impact of eminent domain, and a new legal framework called ‘extinción de dominio’ that is being implemented on by the Mexico City government to tackle violence ridden neighborhoods through the transformation of property. In particular property that could be traced as the instrument of drug-related crime. This law basically strips away any rights to the local community and gives authorities the discretionary power to seize opportunity without having to prove guilt. Communities are then ‘presumed guilty’ until proven innocent, which may take months or years to clear. This causes a particular problem in terms of rights, and having those rights heard and respected. Crime (or presumed crime) becomes an immediate inhibitor of the citizen’s fight for the respect of their rights. Which leads us to see that even if the law is being used unfairly, there is no pushback from the communities.

Citizen Video and Networked Politics in Southeast Asia: Andrew Lowenthal at the Berkman Center

How are activists in Southeast Asia using a hybrid mix of old and new media for change?

Today's lunch at the Berkman Center is a talk by Andrew Lowenthal, co-founder and executive director of Engage Media, an Asia-Pacific human rights and environmental video organisation who work to develop strategic networks of new citizen video producers. Engage Media also conducts research to look at the use and effect of video for social change. The organisation is 12 people, mostly in Jakarta, but also in Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, and Manilla. Before founding EngageMedia, Andrew worked with the Tactical Technology Collective as participatory technology lead on projects like NGO in a box and Message in a Box. Andrew was also involved in IndyMedia.

What would W.E.B. Du Bois say about Exclusion and Inequality in Digital Societies?

Exclusion and Inequality in Digital Societies: Theories, Evidence, and Strategy

Co-authored by Denise Cheng and Rogelio Alejandro Lopez

Dr. Ernest J. Wilson III, Walter Annenberg Chair in Communication and Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.

This will be part 2 of the 3 part series on Exclusion and Inequality in Digital Societies: Theories, Evidence, and Strategy, that is hosted by the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University. The lecture series infers what Du Bois might say about the impact of the digital revolution on communities of color if he were alive today. Today's talk is titled Policy Responses to Digital Inequality: Beyond Economics, for Wednesday November 28, 2012.

Dr. Ernest J. Wilson on Digital Societies and Those at the Bottom


What the Transition to a Digital Society Means for Those at the Bottom

Earlier today the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University hosted Dr. Ernest J. Wilson III to give a lecture as part of the Exclusion and Inequality in Digital Societies: Theories, Evidence, and Strategy series.  The lecture was titled "What the Transition to a Digital Society Means for Those at the Bottom" and began at 4:00pm. 

Vojo community call - Office hours

Last Tuesday, Vojo hosted an "office hours" session where anyone who hadn't taken off for Thanksgiving was welcome to dial in with their questions. The Vojo team met Luís Cotto, a Cantabrigian originally from Hartford, CT.

Fun Fun FOIA

A FOIA, or Freedom of Information Act, request is supposed to be a way for the average citizen to reveal information and documents controlled by the federal government. Anyone can file a FOIA request for pretty much damn near everything, and in Intro to Civic Media we started that process a few weeks ago.