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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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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

Book Review: Is the Internet Just Another Example of Monopoly Capitalism At Work?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, June 27 2013

Robert McChesney speaking at the 2008 National Conference on Media Reform (Photo from Blip.tv)

Robert McChesney, who is one of the cofounders of Free Press, the author of several books on the media, and a professor at the University of Illinois, says he always wanted to write a book about the Internet and the larger digital revolution. But he held off, because "grasping the Internet was like trying to shoot a moving target in a windstorm." Then he and John Bellamy Foster co-authored a 2011 article called "The Internet's Unholy Marriage to Capitalism" for Monthly Review and it hit a chord. The time, McChesney says, was finally ripe. I wish he had held his fire. Here's why: McChesney doesn't quite get the Internet. Again and again, in Digital Disconnect, he conflates the free and open net with the larger digital ecosystem, eliding or underplaying important distinctions between the actions and ambitions of big tech and communications companies and the behavior of individuals and networks online. Read More

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New Online Platform for Crowdsourced Videos About Human Rights Issues

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, May 23 2013

Screenshot from Irrepressible Voices video on YouTube

Anyone with a phone and an Internet connection can be a citizen journalist, as was made clear in the hours and days after the Boston Marathon Bombings. Citizen journalism has its pros and cons, but it has popped up where most needed: after natural disasters or in war torn regions where career journalists might be barred. A new human rights initiative seeks to link citizen reporting in the form of online videos with mainstream media, governments and other policy makers. The online platform, called Irrepressible Voices, will both document human rights issues and work on solutions as a community.

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Election Day in New York Will Be a Testbed for a New Secure Mobile Communication Tool

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, October 23 2012

The Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia Journalism School is partnering with faculty and industry experts from Columbia, Stanford and Tumblr to launch a mobile iPhone application aimed at providing "secure communication between journalists and their sources, as well as to support secure, real-time coordination and publishing for field journalists and newsroom editors," Columbia Journalism Assistant Professor Susan McGregor wrote in an e-mail to the Tow Center events listserv. Read More

We're All Journalists, Indeed: Obama Campaign Guests Checked Mobile Phones at the Door

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, May 15 2012

Zeke Miller at Buzzfeed, studiously reading pool reports from President Barack Obama's recent campaign fundraisers, catches something: the Obama campaign, per Washington Post pooler David Nakamura, appears to be collecting mobile phones from event attendees at the door, and storing them in plastic bags. At least, that was the case at a Monday event in New York City.

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In Oregon, Bloggers Aren't Journalists, Federal Judge Rules

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, December 7 2011

A Montana real estate agent in legal hot water for allegedly defamatory statements made on her blog isn't a journalist as defined by Oregon law, a federal district court judge has ruled. Read More

#911Plus10: The Way We Look (and Feel) to Us All

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, September 8 2011

If you haven't already, drop everything and take a few minutes to immerse yourself in an interactive map hosted by The New York Times that is collecting the memories and moods of people as they wrestle with the tenth ... Read More

Fighting Harassment by Mapping People Who Help the Harassed

BY Nick Judd | Friday, June 24 2011

Hollaback!'s map of New York City. Each pink dot denotes a spot where someone reported that a woman was harassed in public. Hollaback!, the web-based organization trying to end catcalling and other street harassment of ... Read More

OpenWatch, a Citizen Surveillance Tool to Watch the People Watching Us

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, June 22 2011

Somewhere in California, a man is at a DUI checkpoint. He has left his car and is being asked to take a field sobriety test, which he refuses. The moment is tense. The officers at this checkpoint are clearly not used to ... Read More