Archive for the ‘Citizen Journalism’ Category

Tonight is the fifth of a twelve part discussion series on Extreme Democracy co-sponsored by the Central Texas World Future Society and Texas Forums, an initiative of the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum.

The purpose of these discussions is to explore the principles and technologies of Extreme Democracies, and to explore how these concepts and technologies are affecting our own social change efforts, our democracy, and the upcoming election.

Our conversation tonight, focusing on the power and the potential for a few people with a web presence to have a voice in national politics (how well Trent Lott knows this!), will ironically be taking place in the second hour of the CNN/YouTube democrat presidential debate, hosted by Anderson Cooper. Beginning at 7:00 Eastern (6:00 Central) the eight Democratic candidates (the Republicans get their shot on Sept. 17) will respond to video questions submitted by ordinary citizens on YouTube. CNN is even encouraging amateur reporters to submit their take on the candidates by video after the debates

  • Is this just a gimmick?
  • What does this all mean?
  • How will this influence the conversation between the political elites and citizens?
  • Will this, as David Borhman the Washington bureau chief for CNN speculates, “push the definition of a debate”?
  • Will this, as Jeff Jarvis who blogs on buzzmachine.com says, show mainstream journalists how to ask better questions?

Tune into CNN at 6:00 p.m. tonight (Central) for the first hour of the debates and then join us in our virtual room at 7:00 (Central for a discussion and reflection of how these new technologies are influencing politics and whether they are truly bringing in new voices and changing the media’s role.

More about Extreme Democracy

Download discussion guide for:

  • Description of discussion topics,
  • Definition of Extreme Democracy,
  • Links to all reading materials,
  • Instructions about how to log into room,
  • Everything you need to know about this series

Essays for July 23

Power Laws, Weblogs & Inequality, by Clay Shirky
Post your online comments about Shirky essay here
Building on Experience, by Mitch Ratcliffe
Post your online comments about Ratcliffe essay here

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Read Full Post »

[This posting was written during our Democrat Presidential Forum Watch Party on June 28, but was never published. It is important to publish even at this late date because these are the concerns of citizens who gathered to hear what the Democrat Presidential candidates had to say about these concerns.]

On the topic of education, our small group at the LBJ library had different opinions about what the specific problems are in education. While we did not agree on the exact nature of what needs to be fixed, it is clear that we all feel the system needs real work.

Children are born with an incredible appetite to learn – but somewhere along the way, they lose that eagerness, that appetite if they do not feel connected and engaged and active participants – for education to be successful, we have to nurture that desire to be involved and be connected.

We are not keeping up with the trends – kids learn differently these days and we are still using archaic tools that mean nothing to them – we use print when kids are acclimated to technology – we are not keeping up – school is formulaic – we are not keeping pace with changes in the ways kids learn.

Americans are in a knowledge-based market and have to deal with overload of information – if we do not teach children to work projects and in teams, we are missing the boat – we no longer need to teach facts, we need to teach how to research – how to find the facts, libraries should be playing a larger role – they have the critical skills that people need to succeed.

But, if you don’t understand the basics, how can you understand the process? We measure how well people can memorize, not how creative or brilliant people truly are. We are not nurturing people skills – our criteria of success is misleading.

Testing mechanisms foster memorization rather than learning the skills they really need. Students need to work on projects and skills that are really applicable to the workplace. Doing things that are hands-on, dialog-based group projects. This disconnect from what needs to be taught is legislated by mandated testing programs.

We can’t talk about education in a vacuum. Education and other issues are so interrelated – how can a child succeed in school when he is living in sub-standard housing, going to school hungry and carrying the stress of poverty?

Read Full Post »

Rod BlogsI’m way behind on getting out my thank you notices to all of the people who helped make the Democrat All-American Presidential Watch Party at the LBJ and Carver libraries successful. (A trip to Sausalito, CA to work on a statewide plan to bring high speed fiber access to every public library intervened. Ironically, I didn’t have access to ANY internet connection until I got to DFW and then I spent most of my time checking flight status for dozens of fellow passengers stranded in one of the persistent weather delays!)

So here’s my quick report and thanks …Robyn

We had 25 people at the Carver Library and 30 people at the LBJ Library. This photo of Robyn Emerson – the force behind this event – welcoming participants is a fitting example of the chaos at the LBJ Library! With film crews, bloggers, television projection, photographers, videographers, caterers, hosts, celebrities, maintenance, security, microphones, and audiotaping, it was pretty crazy! (Check out the photos of our bloggers and folks at the LBJ Library to see what you missed!)

John HansonPrior to the televised forum moderated by Tavis Smiley, participants at each site met in small groups to discuss questions based on the ten covenants presented in the book Smiley edited, “The Covenant with Black America”. John L. Hanson, Jr., (pictured here) host of the nationally-syndicated radio program, In Black America was on hand at the LBJ Library to lead a larger group discussion. I was in iChat in constant contact with Jon Lebkowsky at the Carver site and Mike Aaron was blogging from Carver so I was able to keep the LBJ folks somewhat connected with the idea that they were part of a larger conversation.

Then it was time to watch and blog.

Our bloggers were active.blogging

They posted 50 comments to the Texas Forums Blog that were picked up and broadcast to the PBS blog of credentialed bloggers hosted by the Media Bloggers Association. In other words, ordinary citizens, some who had never read a blog, much less written for one were now featured alongside professional bloggers sitting in the audience at Howard University blogging the live event! Rod Amis, a noted blogger and journalist who has written for many of the major electronic publications lent his expertise to our endeavor. Experienced bloggers, Jon Lebkowsky (blogging from the Carver Library) and Paul Schumann (at LBJ) also blogged on the Extreme Democracy site.

The media was out in force.

We received coverage in the Daily Texan, including a photo of a very thoughtful looking blogger, John Fleming.

KUT conducted an interview with Robyn Emerson which aired on June 29th and can be heard here. (Don’t let the empty chairs in the picture on the KUT site fool you. Most people stayed seated at the tables in the back out of photo range.)

Local filmmaker, Rudy Malveaux and his crew were on hand to tape for an upcoming documentary on how the public talks about issues vs. the way they are framed by politicians.

John Hanson collected audio footage for a future radio broadcast.

A big THANK YOU to our bloggers!

The full list of our bloggers and a link to their picture and bio:

A big THANK YOU to our partners who helped organize and promote the event…

A big THANK YOU to the outstanding LBJ Library staff working in the background…

Judy Allen, Marge Morton, Charles Bogle, Fletcher Burton, Anne Wheeler, and of course, Dr. Betty Sue Flowers!

We learned a lot from this first experiment and the next one promises to be even better!

In a post-event e-mail to me Robert Cox, the President of Media Bloggers Association, noted that PBS was pleased with how things came together with the bloggers and wants to expand the number of satellite groups so …

  1. we’ll be joining even more citizen voices together for the next broadcast,
  2. the PBS blog site could reflect new voices not normally heard if we plan this right, AND
  3. MBA / PBS interest in expanding on what we did is a pretty hearty endorsement!


Mark your calendars for September 27 at 7:00 p.m. Central Time when we’ll meet again to discuss, blog and watch the Republican Candidates!


Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Read Full Post »

I think Edwards came off best. It’s a shame no one takes Kucinich seriously. And Gravel needs to be quiet. I understand that he needs to get his name out there, but if you are going to attack your opponent at least have something of substance to say afterwards.

Read Full Post »

Tavis Smiley, how much am I enjoying a moderator that takes no slack whatsoever! I liked the 1 minute format though I think maybe the 30 second is a bit too hard. I liked the variety I was hearing during the 1 min. Especially when the candidates were building on each other.

I think next time we should setup a twitter like microblog interface as it is difficult to keep up without it with this current format!

Read Full Post »

Sitting here in this building dedicated to Lyndon Baines Johnson who did so much to address poverty and education and issues of class, I am struck by how much we still have to do to realize the dream of a “Great Society.” The Covenant with Black America – or any social change that we strive to make – will only work if we live in communities where people can connect in real ways, in honest discussion, in personal relationships.  I cannot understand the challenges you face – nor can you understand mine – if we do not connect on a meaningful level.  

We live in a community that is a true melting pot.  If we nurture and treasure our diverse cultures and traditions, we move toward understanding one another – and ourselves – on a deeper level.  But as wealth grows in our community, so does segregation.  People form enclaves based on income and abandon the diversity that connects us to one another and makes our lives so much richer.  I don’t want to live in a community where everyone looks and thinks like I do, and I don’t want my grandchildren, if I ever have any, to live in a world where everyone is the same .  I want them to enjoy and appreciate the richness of diversity, and understand how our differences underscore our commonalities bringing us together on common ground. 

Read Full Post »

Can Gravel answer a question without first criticizing someone? My money says no. And as far as abolishing the income tax for a consumption tax is concerned, is it just me or would that aggravate the situation? If there is a poor family who spends every cent they earn, living paycheck-to-paycheck, wouldn’t they be taxed heavier as a percent than someone who is rich and doesn’t?

I think Hillary was best on the tax issue. Reforming the payroll tax would do more to help the working class than anything else.

Read Full Post »

The group moves closer to the pull down projector screen to better hear the candidates and remain silently rapt as the candidates offer up talking points and sound bites. A few laughs or an occasional cheer at some well made point are all that permeates the silence. Gravel manages to get the most response with his forceful, Al Sharpton-esque style, holding the Democratic party as accountable as the Republicans for the failings of the nation, chiding the government for squandering the educational future of American children on the Iraq war. His call to end the war on drugs illicits an “amen” from the back of the room. Otherwise, the room seems cool to any one particular candidate whose rhetoric does not seem to strike a strong chord.

Read Full Post »

I’m not sure why, on the topic of HIV/AIDS, no one talked about comprehensive sex education. For me, accesability to comprehensive sex eduaction is one of the biggest factors in the prevention of STDs. Why no one touched abstience-only education is confusing to me.

And again, what is Gravel talking about? How did he get to the war on drugs again?

Read Full Post »

It would be interesting if they said something we hadn’t heard. Barack makes a joke about “No Child Left Behind” and talks about the money left behind but doesn’t get a big response here. Bonnie observes that most of the people here are taking it all blandly and no one is getting up and cheering. That’s the plight of this kind of crowd.

And Dennis Kucinich can get cheers from the crowd at the forum but little response from these folks. Mike Gravel has the freedom to talk truth because nobody takes him seriously.

So let’s talk about this event, as Yours Unruly plans to jet, and what the overview should be: the crowd should have been larger certainly, there should have been more journalists here to get the opinions of the average person – most of whose concerns are really about the economy, health care and having a government that isn’t riddled with corruption. I heard that tonight, walking from one table to another. I watched the people sitting here, Black, Asian, Latino and White and most them – as mentioned – had no idea about the “Covenant” but had serious ideas about what they wanted for this country. Many of them expressed their desire for common ground. This Blogger was happy to hear that.

At the same time, as a long-time journalist, I would rather have attended an event where more of the people got to speak instead of watch, an event where there was involvement and interaction instead of observation. Passivity is not what is needed now. Action is what is needed now.

The next stage of politics is involving the polity.

This was certainly worth doing but more is needed, more conversation.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »