Beyond Broadcast to Media Ecology

by tom on October 30, 2009

In 2006 I attended Beyond Broadcast. The conference was subtitled “reinventing public media in participatory culture.”  I was struck by the energy of those involved from the public radio and television stations whom I’d not met prior. Most fascinatingly, the technologists among them were taking their passion for serving the public interest, that they had always had, and sharing ideas around open source platforms and helping each other well beyond the confines of their organizations.  The listserv set up subsequently demonstrated (though only partially successful) that those technologists who had previously been only able to toil away to support the listeners or viewers of programs in their area could actually help define standards and build tools that would help their counterparts in other stations.  That said, the challenges for traditional media were only just beginning to come into focus as the conference preceded much of the drop off in advertising revenue that has been driving cutbacks in newsroom staff ever since.

Last year a conference at Columbia ‘The Changing Dynamics of Public Controversies” brought into focus the challenge of oversight in an era where traditional public interest journalism is no longer funded as it was. Prof. Paul Starr provided his analysis of the challenge sharing his most recent article in TNR. Yochai Benkler provided a response that suggested a way out but attendees likely left with more questions than with which they arrived.

The conference at Yale in November, Journalism and the New Media Ecology, looks like it is focused squarely on the question of the moment given it’s subtitle — Who will pay the Messengers? I am not sure if it will deliver but as a preview the recent talk by  Clay Shirky at the Shorenstein Center certainly lays out some of the questions and Shirky’s estimation of how the future could play out, which even he is not that optimistic about.


Color Revolutions Compared

by tom on July 8, 2009

As those who know me are well aware I am very engaged in thinking about the role of communications technology in society on all scales. My mind has turned most recently though to the events in Moldova, Iran, and now Urumqi all of which have reminded me of two conversations I had several years ago. One concerned the technology those involved in the Velvet revolution in Prague relied upon the other a similar conversation about the election that voted out the Uruguayan junta in the 1984.

I had the good fortune in 1992 to be working in Prague and ended up in a meeting where I was representing the Future of Europe Trust in a meeting with a quiet young guy about a training program for aspiring politicians that were were the rage at the time. The person whose name I forget was held in high esteem and I struggled to understand why as he seemed incredibly introverted and not really a mover and a shaker. It turned out the respect for him came from his role as a key link dispatching students in 1989 from Prague to cities around the then Czechoslovak Socialist Republic to act as carrier pigeons relaying the latest news and sustaining the momentum for change around the country. [click to continue…]

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A picture is worth a 1000 words or maybe more

January 18, 2007

Yesterday’s announcement that New York City’s 311 and 911 services are going to be picture capable has been picked up by Boing Boing and was the announcement also made it in to page B4 of the city version of the NYT. Now, I’m a strong believer that the visual image might be useful in illuminating […]

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The internet is transpartisan?

January 18, 2007

I’ve just been scanning the content of the latest Pew internet and Life report. Can’t say I’ve read the details but the following chart and bullets caught my eye 49% said a major reason they got political news online is that they could get information on the Web that is not available elsewhere as a […]

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New Year’s Day – A resolution for 2007

January 1, 2007

Below is a video of four guys who have a talent for music. They are somewhat of an inspiration to me. Watching the Edge play guitar is a lesson in seeing someone doing what he loves. If there’s any sort of resolution I’m making for 2007 it is to be like these guys.

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Breaching the Peace in Second Life

December 9, 2006

I’m not sure why something I saw related to Second Life provoked me to write the first post on this blog in more than 8 months but this post on the Official Linden Blog regarding abuse management did. According to my notes, Linden Lab received a grand total of 43 Abuse Reports during my first […]

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Since I’ve not made a post for a while

May 4, 2006

I thought I’d mention other places I’ve been blogging…  SIPA’s Morningside Post  The post I’m most proud of is this one on Ambassdor Bolton unplugged   and I’ve contributed to The Third Siders Forum with a meta -post on blogrolls. Other than that I’ve been finishing up at SIPA. When I finish next Tuesday I suspect […]

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Definition of social software

January 12, 2006

Since we all debated what it is, I thought I might throw up the original coining of the term. Clay Shirky, the perosn most responsible for the term said in 2002: "Social software lets people rendezvous, connect or collaborate by use of a computer network" and social software is "stuff that gets spammed," though that […]

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