The Power to Speak Truth
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Level: Undergraduate, Graduate
Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy
Department: Milano General Curriculum
Course Number: NINT 5406
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
The growing presence of Internet access and mobile devices has evolved the relationship between media organizations and their audience. Formerly capital-intensive means of news production that were exclusive to professionals are being scooped by anyone with a camera phone. More recently, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have created an entirely new mechanism for coordinated action: The promise of the Green Uprising in Iran was realized in Egypt where a single Facebook page entitled “We are all Khaled Said” shaped the narrative of its revolutionary movement. This course will explore the transformative history of the Internet and provide a working knowledge of the tools it offers for journalism and public action. We will begin by studying the distributed architecture and open source software that sustain Internet freedom. The class will then focus on the several participatory models that have emerged, from WordPress and blogging to YouTube and user-generated media. We will analyze the collaborative process that drives Wikipedia, as well as the social distribution networks that flow through Facebook and Twitter. Finally, we will examine projects specifically designed for public action such as WikiLeaks and Ushahidi (used to track ethnic violence in Kenya and major environmental disasters). In reviewing these initiatives, students will acquire technical literacy and practical experience with their use and configuration. They will also develop a critical understanding of the security, censorship and net neutrality issues involved.