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New Media Sites in Iran Blur Lines Between Citizen Journo, Professional Journo, & Activist

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, July 16 2014

A screenshot of the amateur video capturing Neda Agha-Soltan's death. The video won a prestigious Polk award.

In 2010, Newsweek declared Iran the “birthplace of citizen journalism.” Iranian bloggers were hailed by Westerners as “brave” for their coverage of the aftermath of the disputed 2009 election. A 40-second video of the death of Neda Agha-Soltan during an anti-government protest won a prestigious George Polk Award, the first anonymously-produced work to be so honored. And then came the 2013 study “Whither Blogestan,” which sought to explain Iran's shrinking blogosphere. Of nearly 25,000 highly active and connected blogs in 2008 and 2009, only 20 percent were still online in September 2013.

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First POST: Tony Meow Now

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, April 22 2014

The New York Times' Upshot embraces citizen journalism; Australia's Prime Minister fears a web plug-in; HHS pays a lot for email; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

How To Follow… The Crisis in Ukraine (Updated)

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, March 3 2014

Kiev, February 18, 2014 (Аимаина хикари/Wikipedia)

The EuroMaidan Revolution has passed the 100 day mark and Russian forces have taken control of parts of Crimea. The New York Times described the escalating conflict between Russia and the West as “reminiscent of low points in the Cold War.” The Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has said that “we are on the brink of disaster.”

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WeGov

Citizens Use Technology to Fight Crime in Guyana

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, January 29 2014

Screen shot of Guyana Crime Reports

With mapping technology and social media platforms at your fingertips, you no longer need to be bitten by a radioactive spider to take crime fighting into your own hands. Case in point: Guyana Crime Reports, which marries data journalism, mapping and crowdsourcing to make a powerful tool for citizen crime fighting.

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Review: Jehane's Noujaim's Egypt Documentary "The Square"

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, January 17 2014

Congregating in Tahrir Square in 2011 (Jonathan Rashad/Wikipedia)

In “The Square,” director Jehane Noujaim draws out the human element—passion, conflict, conviction, confusion, indecision, doubt—in the ongoing Egyptian Revolution, which is so often described by a sterile counting of protesters or casualties. Noujaim's camera brings the viewer into an inner circle of young revolutionaries, and through them we experience a roller coaster of anticipation and dashed hopes, of trust and subsequent betrayal.
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WeGov

Mainstream Media Coverage of Syrian War "Arguably Misleading"; Here's What They Did Wrong

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, January 14 2014

Today's edition of “don't believe everything you find on the Internet” comes from a new report by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) on social media and the Syrian Civil War, which the authors call “the most socially mediated civil conflict in history.” It is the third report in the USIP's “Blogs and Bullets” series.

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WeGov

Citizen Journalists Take On Rape And Domestic Violence

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, December 3 2013

ALMOST anyone can report through CGNet Swara (Flickr/sarahamina)

In August I wrote about a citizen journalism project in India called CGNet Swara, which residents of the central Indian state Chhattisgarh were using as a kind of government watchdog/accountability site. Since then, reports per day have nearly doubled, up to 400 a day, and a Global Post story highlights how the tool is being used by women to combat rampant rape and domestic violence.

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First POST: Contained Fury

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, October 30 2013

Members of the House Intelligence Committee disagree about whether the NSA has kept them fully informed; Sen. Rand Paul a serial plagiarizer?; An antidote to technolibertarianism; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

Citizen Journalism and mGovernance in Rural India

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, August 19 2013

Imagine nearly 20 million people without access to news and current events. In the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, language barriers, illiteracy, lack of Internet access and strict radio regulations exclude millions living in rural communities from the mainstream media. A voice messaging service called CGNet Swara overcomes those obstacles and empowers anyone in rural India with a cell phone to become a citizen journalist.

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WeGov

Journalists in Mozambique Have a New Way to Get Help Reporting on Elections

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, July 19 2013

Screenshot of Citizen Desk's beta version (Sourcefabric.org)

The municipal elections in Mozambique are over four months away but short-staffed newsrooms are already preparing to deal with the persistent conundrum: how do they accurately cover the elections with over 2,500 polling stations to monitor across the country? A new tool called Citizen Desk allows newsrooms to incorporate citizen reports into their news stream, to act as eyes and ears for the upcoming elections. Read More

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NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

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