Author Archives: Ethan

Mastodon is big in Japan. The reason why is… uncomfortable

Remember Mastodon? In April 2017, there was a wave of excitement about Mastodon, a federated social network begun in October 2016 by Eugen Rochko, a 24-year old German software engineer, as an alternative to Twitter. Recent news about CloudFlare’s decision … Continue reading

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Mistrust, Efficacy and the New Civics – a whitepaper for the Knight Foundation

When things get serious in the media space, my friends at the Knight Foundation rally the troops. Last week, I was invited to a workshop Knight held with the Aspen Institute on trust, media and democracy in America. I prepared … Continue reading

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The Village of Peace. And Coca. Lots of Coca.

A year ago, I had the opportunity to go to Colombia for the first time, as part of a delegation from Open Society Foundation. We were trying to understand the affects Colombia’s long guerilla war had on the society and … Continue reading

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Defining(?) Disobedience

Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab, is fond of saying that you don’t win a Nobel Prize by following the rules. Until Joi, Reid Hoffman and I started working to craft the Media Lab’s $250,000 Disobedience Award, I … Continue reading

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Seeing Haiti: a photo essay

Imagine a nation with a noble and proud history, but a rough last century. It was occupied by a massive, powerful neighbor to the north, who undermined its political system and land ownership to benefit its national commercial interests. Soon … Continue reading

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Stop saying “fake news”. It’s not helping.

One bit of good news for those thoroughly freaked out by the Trump presidency: there’s anger, passion and drive on the left that’s unprecedented in recent memory. Two weekends ago, my girlfriend, a veteran of Occupy Houston, warned me that … Continue reading

Posted in ideas, Media | 7 Comments

It’s Journalism’s Job to Save Civics

In early December, I spoke at the inaugural conference on Constructive Journalism hosted at Windesheim University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. The conference is the brainchild of my friend Cathrine Gyldensted, who has been developing the powerful idea that … Continue reading

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Protected: Getting beyond “fake news”

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The Four Freedoms, in 2017

I spoke this afternoon at a rally in Pittsfield, Massachusetts my (almost) hometown (I live one town north, in Lanesboro.) The rally honored the four freedoms, articulated in his 1941 state of the union address by FDR: freedom of speech, … Continue reading

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Race, Fame and Ability: untangling media coverage of NFL QBs

Some research from our lab, the Center for Civic Media, because it’s fun and something I’m glad we produced. In the US, NFL football is more than a sport – it’s a stage on which broader national dramas play out. … Continue reading

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