I collaborate on technology, research, and communities which empower people to become more creative, more effective, and more informed. I'm a PhD candidate at the MIT Media Lab Center for Civic Media and an affiliate at the Berkman-Klein Center at Harvard.
Citizen journalism and social media have become major sources for the news, especially after the Arab uprisings of early 2011. Journalists now follow social media for breaking news and citizen perspectives. Audience analytics and source verification only paint part of this picture. While upcoming technologies will help newsrooms understand their readers and better use citizen sources, we remain blind to the way the news is used in turn by citizen sources to gain credibility and spread ideas.
This summer, for a talk at the Global Voices Summit in Nairobi, I developed a visualization of media representation in Global Voices, which has been reporting on citizen media far longer than most news organisations. My starting questions were simple: Whose voices (from Twitter) were most cited in Global Voices' coverage, and how diverse were those voices?
Global Voices was generous enough to share its entire English archive going back to 2004, and I built a data visualization tool for exploring those questions across time and sections.