Digital Media

The Sidebar: Internet Policy & National Security Rhetoric

April 20, 2012
The short fallings of US internet policy and national security rhetoric in a world where information and technological developments are more easily collected and shared around the world are topics for this week’s episode of The Sidebar.  Host Pamela Chan is joined by Thomas Gideon from the Open Technology Initiative and Konstantin Kakaes from the Schwartz Fellows Program. 

Rewriting the Online Narrative of Detroit's Future

April 11, 2012

“we show love in our communities to stop violence by coming together, throwing away ignorance, lifting up one another, gardening...” -- @D_FY tweet

Invincible Talks at Detroit Summer at Allied Media Projects

Finding journalism's Future

  • By
  • Victor Pickard,
  • New America Foundation
April 11, 2012 |

This newspaper's parent company sold last week for $55 million, a staggering $460 million less than what it fetched in 2006. The plight of the company, which also owns the Daily News and Philly.com, reflects trends afflicting newspapers across the country, which continue to bleed revenue and jobs as readers and advertisers migrate to the Internet. It seems that advertising-fueled newspapers, nearly the last institutional bastion of journalism, are not sustainable.

The Sidebar: Race Relations and the Evolution of Media

March 30, 2012
Tom Glaisyer and Reniqua Allen discuss the difficulty of talking about race in America and the evolution of media. Pamela Chan Hosts.

A Robot Stole My Pulitzer!

  • By
  • Evgeny Morozov,
  • New America Foundation
March 20, 2012 |

Can technology be autonomous? Does it lead a life of its own and operate independently of human guidance? From the French theologian Jacques Ellul to the Unabomber, this used to be widely accepted. Today, however, most historians and sociologists of technology dismiss it as naive and inaccurate.

Yet the world of modern finance is increasingly dependent on automated trading, with sophisticated computer algorithms finding and exploiting pricing irregularities that are invisible to ordinary traders.

Misinformation and Fact-checking

  • By Brendan Nyhan, Asst. Professor, Dartmouth College; Jason Reifler, Asst. Professor, Georgia State
February 28, 2012

Citizens and journalists are concerned about the prevalence of misinformation in contemporary politics, which may pollute democratic discourse and undermine citizens’ ability to cast informed votes and participate meaningfully in public debate. Academic research in this area paints a pessimistic picture—the most salient misperceptions are widely held, easily spread, and difficult to correct. Corrections can fail due to factors including motivated reasoning, limitations of memory and cognition, and identity factors such as race and ethnicity.

The Other Academic Freedom Movement

  • By
  • Konstantin Kakaes,
  • New America Foundation
February 9, 2012 |

In the summer of 1991, Paul Ginsparg, a researcher at the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory, set up an email system for about 200 string theorists to exchange papers they had written. The World Wide Web was a mere infant—it had been opened to the public on Aug. 6 of that year. The string theorists weren’t particularly interested in making their research widely available (outsiders would have a tough time following the conversation anyhow). Ginsparg’s archive was a way for the theorists to communicate with one another.

The Difference Between Online Knowledge and Truly Open Knowledge

  • By
  • C. W. Anderson,
  • New America Foundation
February 3, 2012 |

In "Too Big To Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now that the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room", the simultaneously fascinating and frustrating book by Berkman Center senior researcher David Weinberger, there is a wonderful moment where the mechanisms of "fact-building" are laid bare.

"It's 1983. You want to know the population of Pittsburgh, so instead of waiting six years for the web to be invented, you head to the library," Weinberger begins.

Why Doesn’t Washington Understand the Internet?

  • By
  • Rebecca MacKinnon,
  • New America Foundation
January 23, 2012 |

In late 2010, on the eve of the Arab Spring uprisings, a Tunisian blogger asked Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah what democratic nations should do to help cyber­activists in the Middle East. Abdel Fattah, who had spent time in jail under Hosni Mubarak’s regime, argued that if Western democracies wanted to support the region’s Internet activists, they should put their own houses in order. He called on the world’s democracies to “fight the troubling trends emerging in your own backyards” that “give our own regimes great excuses for their own actions.”

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