mstem | MIT Center for Civic Media

Recent blog posts by mstem

Civic Media is communications technology and what we do with it

My name's Matt, and I've just started as a Master's student here at the Center for Civic Media. If I can sufficiently answer our blog post prompt, "What is Civic Media?", I expect to take part in extracurriculars for the next two years.

Civic media is, as far as I've read, a maddeningly broad concept. I think the problem is that it's often confused with two other important, but not identical, questions:

  • How do we fulfill the promise of democracy?
  • What can we do to save journalism?

Civic media, in some of the reports and blog posts I've read, is being asked to not only carry our democracy from a quite imperfect present to the realization of our most Athenian ideals, but also to salvage a romantically anachronistic industry from its broken business model. Unsurprisingly, civic media has failed so far to accomplish either of these tasks. I shall attempt to define civic media more basically, and along the way, present its actual merits. I'll stew over those other two questions a bit longer.

Technology

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