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First POST: Kicking Off

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, March 3 2014

Kicking Off

  • The New York Times' Robert Mackey reports on how Ukraine's #EuroMaidan activists are using social media to try to counter the Russian narrative about what is taking place in the eastern part of their country.

  • Global Voices' Tetyana Bohdanova takes the pulse of social media users in Ukraine and Russia and finds many worrying that "In case of war, everyone will lose!"

  • In case you missed it, here's our Carole Frediani's new report on the role of the Internet and social media in the #EuroMaidan movement's rise.

  • The Crimean Center for Investigative Journalism was broken into and seized by masked gunmen yesterday, David Kaplan reports, but not before the center's entire web history was backed up by the Internet Archive in San Francisco.

  • In a rare piece of good news out of Egypt, two Egyptian policemen were sentenced to ten years in prison for torturing and killing Khaled Said, the blogger and human rights activist whose death was one of the sparks of the 2011 revolution.

  • Lambert Strether tries to tie together the protests in Venezuela, Thailand and Ukraine along with Paul Mason's argument about why it's "kicking off everywhere" in a long essay for Naked Capitalism. He doesn't quite pull it off, since there are so many local variables at work, but the effort to understand how collapsing economies plus horizontal technologies plus the emergence of the "networked individual" may be driving the current global wave of insurrection.

  • The Guardian's Ben Cardew takes a close look at the Intercept, the first title in First Look Media's digital magazine portfolio. Most interesting, Glenn Greenwald tells Cardew, "We want to avoid this hierarchical, top-down structure where editors are bosses and obstacles to being published. We are trying to make it much more collaborative."

  • Mark Ames of PandoDaily thinks he has found a scandal in the fact that Pierre Omidyar's Omidyar Network has providing some of the funding to the Ukrainian NGO "New Citizen," which has helped fuel anti-Yanukovych protests by reporting on corruption during his rule. Ames, who once wrote self-adoringly about "screwing" 9 Russian prostitutes in nine hours, hyperventilates about Omidyar's supposed "business interests" in Eastern Europe and his "co-financing" of the "coup" in Ukraine that deposed Yanukovych--though his main target is really the journalists at First Look Media, who he charges are hypocritically taking Omidyar's money and not disclosing how it will skew their reporting.

  • Glenn Greenwald responds to Ames' charge in that PandoDaily article that Pierre Omidyar's investment in First Look Media will interfere with his team's freedom to report.

  • In his usual acerbic way, Paul Carr comes to the defense of his colleague Ames, saying that Omidyar's deep involvement in First Look Media makes the issue of his foundation's donations relevant.

  • Jeff Jarvis parses the dispute between Ames and Greenwald, and argues that full transparency and a statement of journalistic principles is what's needed, given the breadth of Omidyar's philanthropic activities as well as his new interest in supporting journalism.

  • Full disclosure: techPresident's WeGov section is funded, in part, by a grant from the Omidyar Network, and ON is also a sponsor of the annual Personal Democracy Forum conference as well as the PDF Poland Central/Eastern Europe conference.

  • Politico's Darren Samuelsohn reports on how the NSA disclosures are beginning to prompt a rethinking of Congressional oversight (for the lack thereof), with Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Patrick Leahy D-VT) each taking jabs at the lax job done by their colleague Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

  • Kickstarter just tallied its billionth dollar in pledges--more than half of which occurred in just the last year.

  • Twitter was the big winner at the Oscars. But you knew that already.

  • Ellen DeGeneres' group #selfie of many of the night's leading actors earned more than 2.5 million re-tweets, eclipsing the 2012 record of 779,000 held by @BarackObama. Given that the Twitter user base is substantially bigger now than it was two years ago, it would have been nice if all the people who rushed to hand DeGeneres the record had noted that it wasn't an apples-to-apples comparison.

  • Jesse Wegman reports that the Supreme Court has literally scrubbed any reference to the protest that took place during oral argument last Wednesday from its official record. The disruption, by anti-Citizens United activist Kai Newkirk, has been viewed about 300,000 times on YouTube, but the court's official transcript and audio release leaves it out--even though the transcript includes every interruption of audience [laughter], Wegman notes.

  • Nick Bilton explains how the current tech industry bubble is hyper-heating the San Francisco housing market.

  • RightsCon Silicon Valley is underway today through Wednesday.

  • If you're heading to SXSW Interactive this weekend (as am I, to interview Glenn Greenwald), bookmark and read this fascinating oral history of its evolution, by David Peisner in Fast Company. Among the bold face names reliving the early days: Jason Calacanis, Heather Gold, Meg Hourihan, Ev Williams, Anil Dash, Stewart Butterfield, Deb Schultz, danah boyd, David Hornik, Baratunde Thurston, Dennis Crowley, Tony Hsieh, Bruce Sterling, Kenyatta Cheese, Umair Haque, Christopher Poole, Craig Newmark, and Douglas Rushkoff.