Citizen Media

Future of Media Report

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 15, 2009
Future of Media Report data sheet 2914 Views
Future Exploration Network
Publication Date: 
Jul 2008
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

We are entering the media economy. The
traditional boundaries of the media and
entertainment industry have become
meaningless. Today almost every
business and social activity is a form
of media. An increasing proportion of
our social interactions happen across
media channels. Every organization is
now a media entity, engaged in creating
and disseminating messages among its
staff, customers, and partners to achieve
business objectives. As the physical economy
becomes marginalized and economic value
becomes centered on the virtual, media
encompasses almost everything.
At the same time, many media organizations are experiencing
severe challenges, as content proliferates, audiences change
behaviors, advertising revenue erodes, and new competitors
emerge. Others are prospering as they tap swiftly growing
sectors, leverage amateur content creation, tap the power of
social networks, and scale production costs. Meanwhile adjacent
industries such as telecom, financial services, mobile phones,
consumer electronics, professional services, and even automobile
are becoming media participants. This year's Report contents include:
* Growth Forecasts for the Global Media Market
* Seven Driving Forces Shaping Media
* Future of the Media Lifecycle
* Future of Media: Strategy Tools
* Media Snippets

Who is Afraid of Citizen Journalists?

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 15, 2009
Who is Afraid of Citizen Journalists? data sheet 3739 Views
Hattotuwa, Sanjana
Publication Date: 
Dec 2007
Publication Type: 

Large-scale disasters are growing. On the one hand, global warming and unprecedented
environmental change are resulting in disasters more frequent and calamitous than before.
Natural disasters such as earthquakes (Kashmir, 2005), floods (Bangladesh, India and
Nepal, 2007), landslides and mudslides (Bam, 2003; Chittagong, 2007), volcanic eruptions
(Merapi, 2006), tsunamis (South and Southeast Asia, 2005) and forest fires (across
Europe, 2007) continue to severely affect the lives and livelihoods of millions. On the other,
the iconic images of the London bombings (7 July 2006), the Twin Towers in New York on
11 September 2001, Madrid train bombs (2004) and the Bali bombings (2002 and 2005)
coupled with hundreds of gruesome local incidents -- including suicide bombings in coun-
tries such as Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Iraq -- are a stark reminder that man made disas-
ters, often the result of terrorism, are a permanent feature of domestic life in many coun-

But how do we make sense of such disasters -- their causes, their impact on those in-
volved as victims and perpetrators? How do we maintain compassion in a world with com-
peting human tragedies? Does the increasing availability and affordability of Information
and Communications Technologies (ICT) -- covering PCs, radio, mobile phones, blogs,
SMS and the Internet -- result in the coverage and awareness of disasters qualitatively bet-
ter than before? Or does reportage across a hundred thousand websites and blogs by
those who are untrained in professional journalism diminish the importance of and, by ex-
tension, the response towards a disaster?

There are no easy answers to these questions. Whether we like it or not, new technologies
are changing the manner in which we gather, store, disseminate, consume and comment
on news. The overall experience after the tsunami in Sri Lanka and the subsequent design
of ICTs for humanitarian aid suggests that ordinary citizens can play a pivotal role in facili-
tating the flow of information in relief and conflict management mechanisms.

The Promise of Ubiquity as a Media Platform in the Global South

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 15, 2009
The Promise of Ubiquity as a Media Platform in the Global South data sheet 3781 Views
West, John
Publication Date: 
Jan 2008
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Mobile telephony will be the world’s first ubiquitous communications platform and
is getting there faster than anyone expected. Its major path of growth is now in the
global South where the mobile is not just a phone but a global address, a transaction
device, and an identity marker for hundreds of millions of poor people. is holds
unprecedented opportunity for media in developing countries to engage their core
audiences more deeply, reach new audiences on the edge of their current footprint,
and provide interactive and customised information services that are both profitable
and life-improving. But the opportunity is also a threat to traditional media, just
as the Internet has been – and on a larger scale in developing countries. If media
don’t address the mobile as a viable information platform others will, and within the
space of a few years media players there will have lost a large measure of their market
share, ‘mind share’, and standing in society at large.

Scaling a Changing Curve: Traditional Media Development and the New Media

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 15, 2009
Scaling a Changing Curve: Traditional Media Development and the New Media data sheet 3460 Views
Sullivan, Marguerite H.
Publication Date: 
Mar 2008
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper
Across the world, journalists and traditional news media organizations have come to realize that new media—including blogs, social networking sites, cell phone messaging, and other relatively new technology applications—are having a profound impact on their work. A recent survey of U.S. journalists noted that for a majority of respondents, the new media have had a significant impact on the speed, tone, and editorial direction of their reporting.1 Yet the field of independent media development has been slow to fully realize the potential of new information and communication technology (ICT). Although new technologies have fundamentally altered the traditional media landscape, many media-development donors, practitioners, and scholars have only recently begun to consider ICT seriously and systematically in their traditional models of media development. Many who do utilize ICT tend to do so in the background, rather than making new technologies the major feature of programming. To complicate matters further, new technologies are not simply being incorporated into the rules of the media game; they are changing them completely. New trends like citizen-based journalism, spontaneous mass organization prompted by new media communication, instantaneous image transmission, and ubiquitous computing have totally reshaped the way people and institutions gather and process information. During the recent presidential primary contests in the United States, for example, viewers were able to submit questions via video networking sites such as YouTube, and discuss candidates’ debate performances on social networking sites such as Facebook. The trend is not limited to developed countries; from the Philippines to Kenya to Korea, new information technologies are transforming the modern news media. To be sure, incorporating and anticipating new media technologies in traditional independent media-development models may be a more complicated process than it appears. Particularly because use of these technologies can be spontaneous, user-driven, and relatively low-cost, it would appear that making creative use of them would be relatively easy for donors and practitioners working on independent media development. Nevertheless, there are additional factors that must be considered, including questions of access; patterns of use; the “non-organic” quality of top-down, donor-driven programs; technical literacy; and other similar factors. Through an examination of the use of ICT in independent media development, this paper seeks to shed light on the state of current practice with respect to media development and new technologies. It will also place these developments within the context of a rapidly changing global information industry, one that is evolving faster than traditional media programs have been able to adapt. Finally, it will offer several recommendations on how independent media-development programs can take advantage of, and keep abreast of, these new global trends.

A Mobile Voice: The Use of Mobile Phones in Citizen Media

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 15, 2009
A Mobile Voice: The Use of Mobile Phones in Citizen Media data sheet 3494 Views
Verclas, Katrin
Publication Date: 
Nov 2008
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

This report explores the dynamics of the role of mobile phones in creating and enhancing access to information and citizen-produced media. It explores trends in the use of mobile telephony with a focus on software and platforms that make content creation and broadcasting easier. It also presents an inventory of current and potential uses of mobile phones to promote citizen media and freedom of information, and presents short case studies of examples from the community.

It further discusses security considerations that might impact citizen media and freedom of information. Finally, it describes possible medium-term directions for future development and donor investments. To the end of adding additional tools, case studies, and insights to the document from reader contribution, there is A Mobile Voice addition to the wiki.

The document includes an introduction, key observations, definitions, trends in news production and consumption, industry trends, mobile phone functions and their use in citizen media, citizen media projects, security considerations, open source citizen media platforms, counter-productive uses of mobile phones, cost, knowledge gaps, hardware and software gaps, industry issues, and recommendations.

Generation 2.0 A Practical Guide for Using New Media to Recruit, Organize, and Mobilize Young People

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 13, 2009
Generation 2.0 A Practical Guide for Using New Media to Recruit, Organize, and Mobilize Young People data sheet 3224 Views
Rigby, Ben; Godin, Seth; Exley, Zack
Publication Date: 
Apr 2008
Publication Type: 

This practical guidebook is a must-have for every nonprofit and political organization interested in reaching youth. The book clearly and concisely details the ways in which new media has been used successfully –and unsuccessfully– to recruit, organize, and engage young people. Importantly, it ties online efforts to offline action."

The Kenyan 2007 Elections and Their Aftermath: The Role of Media and Communication

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 13, 2009
The Kenyan 2007 Elections and Their Aftermath: The Role of Media and Communication data sheet 3666 Views
Abdi, Jamal; Deane, James
Publication Date: 
Apr 2008
Publication Type: 

This 16-page policy briefing from the BBC World Trust Service analyses the role of the media in the Kenyan [January 2008] post-election violence. It is designed to enable an understanding of what has happened in Kenya in the belief that these issues have important policy implications and consequences in many countries. It situates its analysis within debates on democratic governance and poverty in order to contribute to a process of extracting lessons from the crisis. The briefing examines political polarity in the media and its function as a political tool. It discusses the inciting of violence and the role of the local language or vernacular media, as well as the media's role in calming the violence. "The role of the media in Kenya's violence has ...raised questions of whether media can be too free in fragile states such as Kenya....[The] briefing argues that the role of the local language media during the crisis was the product of a chaotic regulatory policy and the lack of training - especially of talk show hosts, whose programmes provided the platform for most of the hate speech....It argues that many local language radio [stations] played a role in calming tensions as well as inflaming them, and could be a powerful mechanism for reconciliation."

MobileActive Wins Knight Foundation News Challenge

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Jun 21, 2009

It's been an eventful week here at with much going on. So it's only now that we are happy to announce that is a 2009 Knight Foundation News Challenge Winner. The prize is for the Mobile Media Toolkit, a comprehensive directory of mobile tools and strategies that will allow anyone use mobile tech for citizen media and journalism. We believe that there is a critical need for better aggregation and presentation of tools, tech, and resources for citizens and media organizations around the world. is one of nine winners, out of more than 3,000 applicants.

For more, watch this video, courtesy of the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University, where I explain what the Mobile Media Toolkit is all about. Thank you, Knight Foundation, and Gary Kebbel, Knight Foundation journalism program director, for your support of our work. (video after the break)

Mobile Services Evolution 2008-2018

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jun 20, 2009
Mobile Services Evolution 2008-2018 data sheet 2496 Views
Sharma, Chetan
Publication Date: 
Jun 2008
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

This paper takes a look at the potential evolution of mobile technology and services over the next ten years and discusses an mServices framework for building and deploying diverse mobile services. The paper also looks at the challenges of such an endeavor and the steps needed to achieve the vision.

The report suggests how mobile devices will be used for much more than voice communications in the coming years in mHealth, mGovernance, mEnterprise, and mPublic Safety. Supporting the projections are: a mapping of mobile penetration, mobile ecosystem dynamics and deployment and adoption of mobile technology in the developing world. The report summarizes the building blocks of a mobile services platform and concludes with an emphasis on public-private partnership and the innovative business models that will accompany these changes.

CrisisCamp Ignite Session hosted by the World Bank - Friday, June 12 7pm

Posted by Heather Blanchard on Jun 11, 2009

You are invited to CrisisCamp Ignite Session at the World Bank!

CrisisCamp DC is part of a global movement who is bringing together volunteers, academia, non-profits, companies and government officials to share best practices and lessons learned to advocate for further use of technology and telecommunications to assist citizens and communities during crisis. 

The Betavine Social Exchange: A Marketplace for Mobile Apps for Social Change Needs Your Input

Posted by KatrinVerclas on May 04, 2009

Imagine you are an NGO (a non-governmental organization) in a developing country, working on a critical development issue -- say, developing an educational infrastructure for women and girls. You know that mobile technology can help you in this regard and you have a project in mind that you want to try out, involving the use of SMS content and mobile information services for rural teachers.  You think that there are tools and content out there for your particular needs - but you may have no idea how to access relevant expertise, mobile tools, or content. 

Enter Vodafone, one of the largest mobile telecommunications network companies in the world, operating in 25 countries with partner networks in another 42 countries.

African Film Makers, Censorship, and Mobile Phones

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Apr 27, 2009

Kiripi Katembo Siku, an art school student from the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a film maker with ingenuity and a mobile. He circumvents the restrictions and government censorship in Kinshasa, the country's capital, by attaching his mobile phone to a toy car, setting it to film, and then giving it to a girl to pull behind her on a piece of string as she walks through the streets of Kinshasa.

The resulting "Voiture en Carton" ("Cardboard Car") provides a rare glimpse of street-life in Kinshasa. The seven-minute film gives the viewer a clandestine look at life in the capital -- feet of children, youth gambling, and an UN jeep passing by.


According to CNN, he is one of a number of filmmakers in the DR Congo who says that using a mobile phone allows him to film in ways that were previously not possble. Film makers there say that filming permits are not given out anymore to avoid exposing corruption, poverty, and crime. Those brave enough to defy the authorities and shoot without permission risk fines, arrest, or worse.

Mobile Phones in Africa: The Trailer

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Apr 27, 2009

Our friends at in Austria just releases the trailer to a documentary about the growth of mobiles in Africa. Martin Konzett from who did a fabulous job documenting MobileActive08 with his videos, is the director. The full documentary will open on May 8th. 

Moldova Update -- The Twitter Revolution?

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Apr 08, 2009

UPDATE, April 8, 2009:  There is more coverage on Moldova and the use of mobiles and Twitter in organizing demonstrations on the front page of the New York Times today, and a round-up of posts from Moldova and the use of social networking tools is on Global Voices. Twitter updates from Moldova are also live-tagged here. 

For a critical view on "The Myth of the Twitter Revolution" see also this.

The Promise of Ubiquity: The Promise and the Challenge of Mobile Media

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Mar 04, 2009

Originally published on the PBS blog Mediashift.

Mobile phones are everywhere. They have long surpassed the Internet in number of users, and in some parts of the world, mobile phones now rival television in reach. The mobile tech economy (at least until recently) was booming with telcoms and handset manufacturers fiercely competing in emerging markets, and software giants like Microsoft and Google entering the mobile industry in earnest. There are now somewhere between 3.5 billion and 4 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, with the fastest growth happening in developing countries.

Sahana Mobile Application on the Openmoko platform

Posted by AJuOnLiNE on Feb 23, 2009

I am currently working on developing a client application for Sahana, which can also act as a standalone data collecting tool for field reporters and people working in the process of disaster relief & management.

What is Sahana?

"...Free and Open Source Disaster Management system. It is a web based collaboration tool that addresses the common coordination problems during a disaster from finding missing people, managing aid, managing volunteers, tracking camps effectively between Government groups, the civil society (NGOs) and the victims themselves." - Source -

What is Openmoko™?

1.    Openmoko is a Linux distribution designed for open mobile computing platforms, such as, but not limited to, cellphones.
2.    Openmoko is the company behind the Openmoko Linux distribution. Openmoko also manufactures mobile computing platforms, such as the Neo FreeRunner.”

Call4Action: First Graduate Course Focused on Mobiles for Social Impact

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Feb 11, 2009

MIT is the first university to offer a graduate class exclusively focused on how mobile phones are used for social action.  Call4Action!, the brand-new seminar, asks: How can mobile networked devices be used for social change, politics, and expression?  From the course description:

Each week we will review existing tools for social change, cover techniques for mobile hacking, and piece together new experiments. International speakers ranging from Zimbabwean activists to telecommunication experts will discuss the problems with existing ICTs, and suggest parameters for new systems. We'll review protocols, systems, and packages like VOIP, GSM, SMS, and PBX to look at how they may be reused or reconfigured, and explore handset development and alternative communications systems.  We will learn to set up, develop for, and hack with systems and open source packages like Symbian Series 60, Android, Openmoko, Django, Asterisk.  Through hacking and technical exercises, we will demystify the field and build springboards for future work.  By the end of the class, we hope to collaboratively create new repertoires for social change and technical activism.

Pakistan's 2008 Emergency and Digital Convergence - And the role of mobile phones

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Feb 05, 2009

On November 3, 2007 Pakistan's President Musharraf declared a state of emergency and martial law in Pakistan, suspending the Pakistan constitution.  During the next three months, during the short-lived emergency rule, Bhutto's assassination, and the general election in February of 2008, there was an unprecedented outpouring of citizen media, organizing and information sharing facilitated by new media -- blogging, mobile phones, and online video.

Huma Yusuf, an astute and eloquent journalist based in Karachi, has reported now on the convergence of old and new media during the 'Pakistan emergency,' as it is most often referred to in the country. It is a must-read document for anyone interested in citizen media, particularly in times of political turmoil, for the wealth of insights it provides on the current uses of digital media and the opportunities for future work in this area.  

Mobiles in Advocacy Redux -- Tips and Advice

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Jan 27, 2009

Allyson Kapin from Women Who Tech asked me to respond to some excellent questions about mobile campaigns for advocating for specific social issues.  As I just received two  text messages from NARAL and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America promoting two campaigns they are running, I thought I take the opportunity to answer Allyson's questions publicly, drawing on my experience and observations of the last few years of mobiles in advocacy, illustrating what works and what is better avoided in using mobiles in advocacy campaigns.  This is, by nature of the question, somewhat US-centric.  A follow-up article will focus on mobile campaigning in the Global South to differentiate some of the key issues. 

How can integrating mobile technology benefit online advocacy campaigns?

Souktel and Ushahidi - SMS Job Services and Conflict Mapping (now in Gaza)

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Jan 05, 2009

Souktel and Ushahidi have been in the news as they have partnered with Al Jazeera for an interactive SMS-enabled crowdsourced map as the conflict in Gaza continues.

The guys of shot some great videos of the two key people at Souktel and at Ushahidi -- Jacob Korenblum and Eirk Hersman -- describing their respective projects. Even though filmed a few months ago, both describe vividly how they are using mobiles in their work. Well worth watching! 


Gaza Update: Mapping and Citizen Reporting Via SMS on Al Jazeera

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Jan 03, 2009

Al Jazeera launched a new site today for citizens in Gaza to report incidences of various kinds in Gaza via SMS and Twitter. The deployment is using Ushahidi and Souktel's SMS gateway, one of the few able to deliver SMS in Gaza.  In this latest citizen journalism effort, Al Jazeera is both mapping reports from its own journalists and incidences reported by the public.  So far, there are few citizens texting in, however; the majority of the content consists of Al Jazeera news reports for now.  Al Jazeera and its new media team are doing a great job, however, in their labs  -- very impressive innovations coming from the Arab satellite news service and its New Media folks like Ryaad M, for example. 

The Conflict in Gaza: The Role (or lack thereof) of Mobile Phones

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Dec 31, 2008

Some people are claiming that the conflict in Gaza is a "social war." But so far, social media is used mainly for propaganda and there is a marked absence of voices from people affected by the conflict, and of useful applications of mobile and other social media.  As the Israeli bombing of Gaza is continuing and is now in its third day, mobile communication is beginning to make the news but is not playing the dominant role in citizen reporting and aid communications as it has in other conflicts.

A few examples that have not been reported anywhere else: Souktel, an organization in Ramallah that is known for its SMS-job matching service connecting Palestine youth with work, is running a Palestinian "SMS Blood Bank" program for the Red Crescent.

MobileActive at the Global Forum for Media Development and 1st M4D Conference

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Dec 10, 2008

I just came from the Global Forum for Media Development an Athens, Greece, where there is a lot of interest in how to use mobiles in media and journalism trainings, and in supporting citizen media efforts. I presented briefly our most recent work, A Mobile Voice, that describes how mobiles are used in citizen media. The dicsussions were lively and there were lots of ideas to take this work further.  Specifically needed are journalism trainings and better toolkits and how-to materials that detail what tools and approaches work where. Security was also of great concern, and participants were eager to learn more about mobile security for media and activists. Athens is, of course, also experiencing social turmoil right now, so I engaged in a bit of citizen journalism on Twitter on my own, interviewing police and demonstrators during the night. 

UPDATED: Terror Attacks in Mumbai: Mobiles and Twitter play Key Role in 24/7 Reporting

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Nov 27, 2008

UPDATED POST: Mobiles are yet again playing a key role in citizen reporting as terror attacks grip the Indian city of Mumbai.  Twitter, the microblogging service that is available in India, was especially instrumental in conveying first hand reports as the chaotic events were unfolding in the city.  Twitter users set up aggregator accounts at Mumbai, Bombay@BreakingNews and with the search tag #Mumbai.

0800 Rede Jovem: SMS with opportunities for young people

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Nov 22, 2008

Local information and media is one of the areas where mobiles can be an ideal delivery vehicle.  Rede Jovem, a Brazilian NGO created 0800 Rede Jovem, or Mobile YouthNet, a project that reaches young people through SMS on their mobile phones with local opportunities and information about what is going on in their communities. Soledad Muniz talked with Alice Gismonti from Rede Jovem about the SMS project.