From "Twitter revolutions" to WikiLeaks, 2011 was a year of profound transformation in how people both consume and produce news. So it is perhaps only fitting that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's pioneering media studies program hired two of the thinkers best poised to navigate the new media landscape -- because they helped create it.
In 2005, when Ethan Zuckerman co-founded Global Voices, a website to monitor and collect news from the international blogosphere, gleaning useful information from thousands of blog posts around the world seemed daunting. But this year's social media–driven revolutions affirmed Zuckerman's vision, with Global Voices at the center of the upheaval as a major news aggregator and amplifier. Zuckerman is no techno-utopian: In his new capacity at MIT's Center for Civic Media, he will be developing a system for monitoring the bias and reliability of news sources to allow consumers to make informed choices -- a kind of nutritional information for the news. Zuckerman will be working with Joi Ito, a Japanese-born venture capitalist appointed this year to head the university's famousMedia Lab, despite never having earned a college diploma. Ito's eclectic career includes everything from a stint on the board of ICANN, the Internet's main governance body, to serving as a "guild master" in World of Warcraft. As both a programmer and investor, he was crucial in the early development of technologies including Flickr, Twitter, and Firefox.
Interested in where electronic media are heading next? Class is in session.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.