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Tech, Media and Democracy: 101

A first lecture of the Cornell Tech section of Tech, Media and Democracy. Why democracy? Why media/journalism? And how/whether tech can help?

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Tech, Media and Democracy: 101

  1. 1. #TECHMEDIADEMOCRACY Session 1: Introduction
  2. 2. DEMOCRACY 2
  3. 3. DEMOCRACY “a system of government in which the citizens exercise power directly or elect representatives from among themselves to form a governing body, such as a parliament” 3
  4. 4. WHYDEMOCRACY? Consequences: better outcomes? Intrinsic values: more just? https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/democracy/ 4
  5. 5. FUNDAMENTALS OF DEMOCRACY A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections.   The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life.   Protection of the human rights of all citizens.   A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens. 5
  6. 6. DEMOCRACYISASCALE Multi-dimensional scale / index 6
  7. 7. DEMOCRACYIS DECLINING? 7
  8. 8. MEDIAAND DEMOCRACY 8
  9. 9. FUNDAMENTALS OF DEMOCRACY A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections.   The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life.   Protection of the human rights of all citizens.   A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens. 9
  10. 10. DEMOCRACYAND MEDIA “The purpose of journalism is to provide people with the information they need to be free and self-governing” — Kovach & Rosenstiel, Elements of Journalism 10
  11. 11. US CONSTITUTION,FIRSTAMENDMENT “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” 11
  12. 12. JOURNALISM Journalists are not merely purveyors of facts. Now and for the foreseeable future, we need a cadre of full-time workers who report the things someone somewhere doesn’t want reported, and who do it in a way that doesn’t just make information available… but frames that information so that it reaches and affects the public. https://towcenter.org/research/post-industrial- journalism-adapting-to-the-present-2/ 12
  13. 13. JOURNALIST Not a organized professional society “Anyone who might find him or herself producing news and who aspires to do it ethically and responsibly” https://towcenter.org/research/post- industrial-journalism-adapting-to-the- present-2/ 13
  14. 14. JOURNALISMAS PUBLIC SERVICE Authentication Sense making / framing Witnessing Watchdog Highlighting informing … 14
  15. 15. JUSTTODAY… “[Pope] Francis called for a “journalism of peace… A journalism created by people for people, one that is at the service of all, especially those — and they are the majority in our world — who have no voice.” http://variety.com/2018/politics/news/ pope-francis-fake-news-2-1202675023/ 15
  16. 16. JOURNALISM != MEDIA Media = the mode, channel, technology of broadcast Journalism = type of content, process to create it 16
  17. 17. INTHIS CLASS We say “media” but focus on journalism, free press But also touch on other ways tech and media impact our democracy 17
  18. 18. TRUEAND OBJECTIVE? MAYBE “Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth” Accuracy is not enough: can be factually correct but substantially untrue Accuracy is only the foundation for interpretation, debate, context, and communication Neutrality is not common or expected But objectivity (in process, accuracy) might be 18
  19. 19. POPE FRANCIS (AGAIN) “If responsibility is the answer to the spread of fake news, then a weighty responsibility rests on the shoulders of those whose job is to provide information, namely, journalists, the protectors of news.” http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/ messages/communications/documents/papa- francesco_20180124_messaggio- comunicazioni-sociali.html 19
  20. 20. FOCUS OFTHIS CLASS “Addressing threats to an informed electorate” Understand and support the ecosystem that allows facts and information — as accurate, objective and contextualized as possible — to thrive. 20
  21. 21. TECH,MEDIA AND DEMOCRACY 21
  22. 22. NO NEED? New world, anyone can publish anything! Why do we need journalism/the free press? 22
  23. 23. FREE PRESS UNDERATTACK Dwindling resources and support Digital, legal, physical assaults Challenges to credibility and reliability Shifting business models and income sources 23
  24. 24. SO HOW*CAN*TECHNOLOGYHELP? Systems and algorithms to aid investigate work Data collection Data analysis Communication Sensemaking 24
  25. 25. SO HOW*CAN*TECHNOLOGYHELP? (computational journalism) 25
  26. 26. SO HOW*CAN*TECHNOLOGYHELP? Understand and mitigate issues in information propagation, credibility, bias 26
  27. 27. SO HOW*CAN*TECHNOLOGYHELP? Tools to protect journalists, press, other voices of deliberation 27
  28. 28. SO HOW*CAN*TECHNOLOGYHELP? New mechanisms for monetization and economic models that promote information accuracy, contextualization and sensemaking 28
  29. 29. SO HOW*CAN*TECHNOLOGYHELP? What else? 29
  30. 30. SO HOW*CAN*TECHNOLOGYHELP? “Addressing threats to an informed electorate” Understand and support the ecosystem that allows facts and information — as accurate, objective and contextualized as possible — to thrive. 30
  31. 31. SOME EXAMPLES Jigsaw 33
  32. 32. SOME EXAMPLES 34
  33. 33. SOME EXAMPLES ProPublica APIs 35
  34. 34. SOME EXAMPLES MIT / Amy Zhang 36
  35. 35. ONE OPPORTUNITY:JOURNALISM INANEW AGE Machines: collect and analyze more data Citizens and communities: observe, comment, highlight needs, show interest Journalists: authenticate, verify, access, amplification 37
  36. 36. CROSS-CITYCOLLABORATION NYU (ITP) CUNY-Queens (Media Studies) CUNY Graduate School of Journalism Pratt New School Parsons School of Design Columbia School of Journalism 41
  37. 37. MONDAY-WEDNESDAY Most Mondays: city-wide sessions Rotating location 7:00-8:30pm 42
  38. 38. SUMMARY “Addressing threats to an informed electorate” Understand and support the ecosystem that allows facts and information — as accurate, objective and contextualized as possible — to thrive. 53

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