jdriscoll | MIT Center for Civic Media

Recent blog posts by jdriscoll

Dan Gillmor nudges media chicks from their shells with his new book, "Mediactive"

Dan Gillmor is such a smooth writer and so media savvy that we readers hardly realize he is hurling a challenge at all of us, from average citizens to professionals, in his new book, Mediactive, which can be purchased at store and online outlets or can be downloaded at http://mediactive.com.

Gillmor identified the phenomenon of "consumer as creator" in his first book, We The People, published in 2004. His latest book is a practical, common-sense 2.0 version, assuming we no longer are receptacles of information but active participants in the process, who are called on to break out of our "comfort zone" like a chick cracking open its shell.

Anatomy of a Shutdown

The blog headline read, "What Works". How ironic. It was published the day a community website I was involved with bit the dust after five-plus years.

'Groping' tickles

Civic media is serious business. Do we need a little more levity?

New Media can learn a lot from Old Media about taking ourselves too seriously, a trick that YouTube certainly has caught onto and turned into a franchise.

Former newspaper humor columnist Susan Trausch defies her reader to resist laughing aloud in her new book, entitled Groping Toward Whatever -or- How I Learned to Retire [SORT OF], which is about being thrust into early retirement at age 59 after accepting a buyout from the Boston Globe, where she was a Washington reporter, business reporter and editorial reporter. Serious stuff, eh?

Patchwork Approach

What's wrong with this picture:

Mainstream media lays off reporters (and others) left and right, because New Media appeals to a large segment of news consumers.

New Media realizes local news draws more audience, so numerous hyper-local approaches are tried. Most national attempts fail, because they don't have reporters.

AOL's wholly-owned subsidiary, Patch, thinks it can fill the local gap by hiring local journalists who generally are good at aggregating (see story on London lecture by former Washington Post Executive Editor Len Downie on news aggregators, such as the Huffington Post who he says are “parasites living off journalism produced by others”.)

Now the Patch Media Corporation has gone one step further, developing a concept called PatchU, whereby it will collaborate with journalism schools to provide students with internships that will accrue course credits.

The Need to Know

"The press has done an admirable (albeit belated) job with the technical complexities of MMS's (Minerals Management Services of the Interior Department) administrative failings. What is not being asked, and what the press needs to focus on, is whether MMS's problems are endemic to the entire federal government."
From Nieman Watchdog

Two stories in the media raised an eyebrow in June:

One was a front-page takeout on June 10 in USA Today on adult pools in Las Vegas. A legitimate story, to be sure, reflecting the world we live in. What was remarkable, considering the BP disaster and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, was that for the next five days on the top of the USA Today website the pool story continued to be No. 1 among the Top Five Most Popular Stories on the site.

On June 15 — five days after the original pools story ran — it still led the list. The most popular stories were:

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