journalism | MIT Center for Civic Media

Journalism is a term that is undergoing both scrutiny and rapid change. It describes the professional standards of information gathering, fact checking, and clear communication. The term has expanded to include citizen journalists who report on their communities and bloggers who indulge in everything from gossip to genuine news to personal reflection. New developments in citizen journalism and youth journalism and new formats such as comics are also part of the civic media landscape.

Attention and Atrocities

Every year, Canada's Médecins Sans Frontières (AKA Doctors Without Borders / MSF) meets for their Annual General Assembly. I know about this because two years ago their topic was "Is MSF missing the technology boat?" to which I was invited to speak about Geeks Without Bounds and community technology projects with the talk "Technology as a Means to Equality" (video broken because of issues with GWOB YouTube account, and with my apologies). I went back this year because my organizational crush on them maintains, and because Aspiration (my employer for teh past 2 years, a technology capacity building organization for nonprofits) has been working on an ecosystem map of the digital response space. The real-world and values-driven experience of MSF provided valuable insights and data points for that map, and so I went seeking their input.

Alfredo Corchado in conversation with Ethan Zuckerman Live Blog

This is a liveblog of the talk between Alfredo Corchado and Ethan Zuckerman. Blogged by Luis Natera, with illustrations by @willowbl00.

Alfredo Corchado is a Mexican-American Journalist. He is the Mexico Bureau Chief of the Dallas Morning News and author of the book, “Midnight in Mexico.” Ethan Zuckerman introduces Alfredo as one of the leading journalists today trying to explain what’s going on in Mexico.

Alfredo, borned in Mexico and raised in the US, went back to Mexico in 2003 as part of the Dallas Morning News with the idea of continuing to cover the relations between Mexico and the US, but he quickly ran into the violence and was forced to deal with and report the issue.

FOLD: Part-Time Job Opportunity for JavaScript Developer

Our team at the Center for Civic Media is developing innovative new tools to re-think how people publish and consume news. FOLD is a reading, authoring, and publishing platform allowing storytellers to structure and contextualize complex stories. You can read a little bit more about us on Fast Company, Nieman Lab, and Boston Magazine.

We are looking for a Boston-area contract developer who wants to play an active role in realizing the vision for the tool and getting it ready to deploy by early March. The tool is already underway, but this will be a short development cycle and we need someone passionate, energetic, and disciplined.

Talking the Talk: Communication Styles for Diversity at AlterConf


Photo by jordesign

The first AlterConf Boston hosted a mix of techies, gamers, and journalists to discuss diversity in these communities. As a self-identified communication-nerd, I was excited for Shauna Gordon-McKeon's "Talking the Talk" presentation on the role of different communication styles in encouraging diversity inclusion. These notes are from her talk.

Gordon-McKeon wants to dispel the myth that arguing is the road to truth, that truth = people + talking - emotions + data. She suggests memorizing stock phrases so they're like second nature when you need them. For a deeper analysis of communication, she suggests the work of Dr. Deborah Tannen.

Gratitude and its Dangers in Social Technologies

How do our designs change when we start emphasizing people and community and not just the things they do for us? Over the next year of my research, I'm exploring acknowledgment and gratitude, basic parts of online relationships that designers often set aside to focus on the tasks people do online.

In May of last year, Wikipedia added a "thanks" feature to its history page, enabling readers to thank contributors for helpful edits on a topic:

Thanks on Wikipedia July 28-30, 2014

HOPE X: Themes and Reflections


Image by Willow Brugh.

Over the weekend, I attended HOPE X, the 10th Hackers on Planet Earth conference, organized by 2600 Magazine. HOPE is my favorite hacker conference, and a strong contender for my favorite conference overall, because although content is tech-heavy, it's not really about technology. HOPE is a conference by and for those interested in the hacker ethos of free information, understanding the world, and empowerment to fix what is broken— including keynote speakers Edward Snowden and Daniel Ellsberg. So HOPE is a great place to think about the intersection of technology, journalism, and activism. Throughout the conference, I noticed several recurring themes.

Code Is Not Enough

HOPE X: SecureDrop: A WikiLeaks in Every Newsroom

Liveblogged at HOPE X.

Garrett Robinson, Security and Privacy Engineer, Mozilla
William Budington, Developer, EFF
Yan Zhu, Technologist, EFF

The Freedom of the Press Foundation processes payments for WikiLeaks and raises funds for encryption and free speech initiatives. Secure Drop is their open source whistleblower platform.

Thomas Drake leaked info on the NSA's Trailblazer program. He was indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage act in 2005. The act wasn't meant to be used on journalists, but that's what it's been used for. In recent years, Shamai Leibowitz, Stephen Kim, Chelsea Manning, Jeffrey Sterling, John Kiriakou, Edward Snowden have been prosecuted. There's an attack on whistleblowers, and there haven't been good tools to communicate with reporters.

HOPE X: Ask the EFF - This Year On the Internet

Liveblogged at HOPE X. The speakers have cautioned that this talk is not legal advice.


Nate Cardozo, Attorney
Kurt Opsahl, Attorney
Adi Kamdar, Activist
Peter Eckersley, Technology Projects Director
Eva Galperin, Global Policy Analyst

It's been a busy year at the EFF. They've been focusing a lot on the national security space over the last year.

Kurt Opsahl works on NSA cases. Jewel v. NSA has been going on since 2008, related to AT&T's involvement with NSA wiretapping. First Unitarian v. NSA is focused on the right of association, and your right to anonymity in who you associate with. Just earlier this week, the EFF and ACLU joined Smith v. Obama. Kurt also works on a case arguing that National Security Letters are unconstitutional and is defending the decision against appeal.

HOPE X: Barret Brown and Anonymous: Persecution of Information Activists

Liveblogged at HOPE X.

Kevin Ghallagher
Ahmed Ghappour, Professor, UC Hastings
Gabriella Coleman, Professor, McGill

VizThink by Willow Brugh.

Gabriella:

Anonymous has risen as the face of global dissent. Their roots were fully in the world of internet trolling. Fox News called Anonymous "The Internet's Hate Machine. Anonymous responded with a video.

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