Monday, June 16, 2008

On The Future of the Internet

The story in South Korea today is that Internet strategies are behind the recent, well-organized street protests involving hundreds of thousands of people. I'm at a huge conference in Seoul this week on The Future of the Internet. Sponsor is the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OCED), the influential international organization that promotes economic growth for democratic nations.

This is a so-called ministerial conference involving cabinet-level participation from member countries. So it's been interesting timing here to witness this big conference setting global policies for the Net occurring while across town demonstrators are using the web as a means of political organizing and resistance, mostly with an anti-global theme.

Just shows how ubiquitous the Net has become in our lives.

I'm here with Elon's program to chronicle the hopes and fears of key players in the continuing development of the Net. See our nice website at

We'll be adding video interviews with a few dozen people we're interviewing now. I'm along with two of our top communications students, who are getting a great learning experience while they handle the videography and interviewing.

Among the stakeholders here are representatives of civil society -- reps from consumer groups, labor groups and others organizations focused on protesting users' rights online. Among the speakers is Marc Rotenberg, founder of The Public Voice, who will be keynote speaker at the AEJMC conference this August in Chicago. The Public Voice is a network of civic groups seeking to speaking up on behalf of the public interest.

This is not a conference on journalism, but journalists of all types should be concerned with the policies being reaffirmed here (mostly) to maintain the net as a place of global commerce and open expression. As I write this, I'm hearing a speaker, Tae-Won Chey, chairman of he SK Group, say, "We've got to figure how to make the Internet a better place."

Next up, Josh Silverman, president of Skype, who reaffirms the values of open digital communication. He says, "the consumer always wins in the end." This is a common statement at this conference -- a message we should remember as we explore how participatory journalism will extend in the future. What distingues Net communication is that users are going to seek out what Silverman calls unarticulated needs. In seeking them, he says, consumers create "game-changing" practices that reshape online methods.

His message then: We should be interested in reaching and sharing with our audiences in whatever method they like best. Not according to what we want best.

I'll try to add more notes later.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Soft launch of new CCJIG bibliography

Sue Ellen Christian, CCJIG research co-chair, has revamped our bibliography of resources about civic and citizen journalism. The new bibliography includes both online and print resources. You can view the bibliography as a Web page or as a printer-friendly PDF. I have posted the documents on our interest group's Web site. You can drill down to them from our home page ...

... or go directly to the site's bibliography section:

We welcome your feedback on this. In particular, let Sue Ellen know if you know of resources to add to the bibliography.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Statement of Purpose for Renewal Petition -- Please Comment

Defining a focus for CCJIG is an issue I have tried to pursue during my time as chair of CCJIG, for a very practical reason: in Chicago this summer the interest group must submit its triennial renewal petition. To this end, throughout the year I have sought ideas and input from the membership that reflect on the nature of civic/public journalism, its connections with citizen/participatory journalism, and what types of activities the interest group should be pursuing, to help create a statement required in the renewal petition that establishes the unique niche or purpose an interest group serves. (See blog entries on this topic in November and January archives.)

The responses didn’t exactly come in overwhelming numbers but the ones that were submitted were thoughtful, well-stated and helpful in reaching the statement of purpose that follows. So were prior annual reports and renewal petitions. With ideas from these various sources, what follows is an edited (shortened) draft statement of purpose to be included in the CCJIG renewal petition to be submitted this summer. The rest of the longer statement, replaced by ellipses below, describes and discusses CCJIG’s role in the association vis-à-vis other groups such as ComTech, Newspaper and COMJIG. The full version will be published in the CCJIG pre-convention newsletter due out in early July; it is omitted here simply to avoid having an overly long posting.

Further comments are welcome; the final draft must be submitted before the beginning of the convention. My goal is actually to get it sent to South Carolina by the second week of July, well in advance of the actual convention start.

* * *

"CCJIG’s unique purpose is its exclusive focus on the role and purposes of audience-involved journalism in the contemporary media mix. This includes teaching about, fostering research into, and conducting PF&R activities related to the creation, purposes and impacts of professional and citizen-driven participatory journalism practices, including the role these practices play in building communities and encouraging civic engagement.

"Because this is a broad area, the activities of other CCJIG units do touch on it. Examination of audience-centric content creation such as YouTube videos and blogs certainly could fall within the teaching, research or PF&R missions of numerous other groups within the association. The particular niche CCJIG fills is an exclusive focus on the journalistic aspects of these presentations. …

"… This focus on audience-centric journalism presentations is supported and enhanced by the group’s traditional mission and focus on the relationship of journalism and civic engagement, which date to its days as the Civic Journalism Interest Group. As it was explained in an earlier renewal petition (2002), “Civic journalism is about engaging the public in interactive journalism and in the development of democratic institutions. This focus cuts across all the endeavors of AEJMC but is foremost in no other association entity.”

"With this as a foundation – and the subsequent extension in recent years to include the role that participatory journalism contributes to this process – CCJIG clearly can be seen as filling a unique and significant role within the structure of AEJMC."