With a redoubled focus on the community in the civic media community, the Center for Future Civic Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) launched a new series last week. These relaxed, informal conversations about civic media featured ground-level practitioners, activists, hackers, and local leaders.
The first session, "Bustling with Information: Cities, Code, and Civics," brought good friends Nick Grossman, Nigel Jacob, and Max Ogden to our Cambridge campus. As you can see from the video clips below, these sessions are unique opportunities to talk about the amazing work that goes on in this sphere, intriguingly out of earshot of the debates on the future of journalism.
We think this is a great niche for us: Highlighting the do-it-yourself ethic that's always existed in civic media (not to mention at MIT), separate from concerns about paper vs. iPad, sustainable business models, etc. Sessions planned for this spring include discussions of intellectual property collaboration, the implications of check-in/location-sharing technology, how local stories spread worldwide, civic media for vulnerable populations, and civic disobedience.
So stay tuned to Idea Lab and civic.mit.edu for updates and scheduling information.
Meanwhile, check out these clips from last week's civic media session, moderated by Center director Chris Csikszentmihályi, for a taste. And, in the comment section below, let us know what other civic media topics warrant more exploration.
Nick Grossman of OpenPlans, Nigel Jacob of the City of Boston Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics, and Max Ogden of Code for America respond to questions about how civic tools do (or need to) vary from city to city.
Max Ogden of Code for America discusses taking "treasure troves" of government data sets to bring citizens and friends together, describing it as "enhanced serendipity."