Tumblelog by Soup.io
Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

November 12 2010

17:49

September 15 2010

19:49

Public Media Corps Takes on Broadband Divide for Minorities

If there was a reality show about the Public Media Corps (PMC), the intro might sound something like this: "Here's the true story of how 15 fellows, five public media institutions, three high schools, three community organizations, a library and a museum collaborate to bridge the broadband divide."

Secretly, I wish there was a reality show about the project because I want to see how they're making it work. Many public media projects claim "community engagement" as a priority, but few make it the centerpiece of their work. For the Public Media Corps, that's never been an issue.


The PMC is a national service program that promotes and extends broadband adoption in underserved communities. It does so by placing technology, media production, and outreach fellows in residencies at underperforming high schools, public broadcast stations, and non-profit community organizations. The PMC evolved out of the New Media Institute, which was founded by National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) in 2006 to train media makers of color in new media technology.

Cool Spots

The NBPC launched the beta of Public Media Corps in Washington, D.C., this June. Since then, the group has worked steadily to collect information from the community to build projects based on the needs of people living in Anacostia (Ward 7 and 8) and in Columbia Heights, Mount Pleasant and Shaw (Ward 1) -- neighborhoods that are home to predominantly African American, Latino and immigrant communities.

"The fellows are working in teams and using survey tools to gather more quantitative information about the ways in which people use the Internet and social media and what issues and information sources are important to them," said Jacquie Jones, executive director of the National Black Programming Consortium.

Collecting such data can be challenging in a community where residents have limited Internet access. To encourage wider participation, the fellows created "Cool Spots."

PMC_janssen.jpg

"Cool Spots are mobile Internet assessment hubs," said Jones. "The fellows set them up at block parties, festivals, and outdoor markets and events where the public uses netbooks onsite to complete the online surveys and learn more about the PMC. The Cool Spots are also 'hot spots' with free Wi-Fi to promote broadband use."

Starting this month, the PMC will begin using the data collected at Cool Spots to select three to four projects for the fellows and community partners to collaborate on and ultimately implement in communities for the final months of the D.C. beta.

Collaborating with a Cast of Dozens

Building trust and establishing communication channels are often the first challenges of any large-scale collaboration. With so many people, organizations and communities involved, I was curious to hear just how the PMC staff, fellows and partners were tackling it.

"PMC staff is in frequent communication with partners, stakeholders and the fellows through electronic means and meetings to discuss progress, performance, resources that can be shared and potential projects for the fall," said Kay Shaw, director of Public Media Corps. "The fellows prepare detailed weekly reports and meet as a cohort every Wednesday to discuss their activities, share insights and challenges, site needs, and how to build more collaboration between partners. The staff and the Fellows look forward to these meetings because of their vibrancy and the information and ideas that are shared."

The PMC experimented with several platforms for sharing information electronically. The two that stuck were Google Docs and Dropbox, a web-based file-hosting service that uses cloud computing to enable users to store and share files. The fellows use Google Docs to collaborate on writing projects. They post their weekly reports and media to Dropbox.

Ashley Mosley, a PMC fellow, video producer and community organizer, offered some perspective on the challenges and rewards of collaborating at this level.

"Collaborating with so many community groups has offered a broader perspective, because the personalities of the wards are so different," said Mosley. "The most challenging aspect of this project is building trust within my organization. However, the challenge has been rewarding. Community members have invited me into their personal circles, hangouts, and meetings and they now feel more comfortable discussing the disconnect that they feel with both public media and digital technology."

Measuring Success

Another hurdle collaborations face is measuring success. When working with multiple stakeholders and communities, priorities have a tendency to become malleable and impact ambiguous. To keep the focus on results, the PMC has placed a high priority on collecting data throughout the six-month beta.

"While there is no dearth of projects or project ideas, how many projects can we definitively say have been successful on a large scale in diverse communities?" said Shaw. "That's why we consciously decided to do the research and collect data first and let that inform the projects we would develop to ensure the best chance of gaining traction and making a significant impact in our focus communities."

20100809_jenein_brittany.jpg

The PMC is measuring levels of community engagement, use of public media resources, technological capacity of partner organizations and broadband adoption and patterns of use within the communities.

In addition to collecting community data, the PMC will seek feedback on the performance of its fellows from a team of technologists and public media stakeholders, who will conduct site visits and one-on-one meetings with the fellows.

"They will offer suggestions or adjustments to the project to improve impact and relevancy," said Jones. "American University's Center for Social Media is taking the lead in assessing the evaluation team's observations and recommendations, analyzing the data from the surveys, evaluating and assessing the impact of the projects, culling and documenting best practices, and producing a written report that will be distributed to the public in 2011."

Lessons Learned

In advance of the official 2011 report, I asked Jones and Shaw what they have learned so far from collaborating with the various community groups, fellows and the public on a project of this scale.

"On the one hand it is exciting and rewarding to work with organizations committed to and excited about the project and ready to learn how to expand their capacity to use and leverage public media assets," said Shaw. "On the other hand, because of the interest and need there are lots of demands on the project and we are constantly adjusting to accommodate new information to ensure relevancy and impact."

"One of the greatest challenges to innovation is the need to be constantly adaptive," said Shaw. "That's why we designed a process with maximum flexibility."


Jones' advice to organizations that want to increase collaboration and community engagement is succinct: "Be prepared to abandon your assumptions and what you think are your best ideas."

As for the fellows, they offered some advice of their own for future PMC participants.

"I would advise future fellows to make sure to engage not only their community organization, but also the surrounding communities," said Mosley. "It's important to establish trust. Oh... and of course, to have fun!"

Olivia Rubagumya, a PMC fellow working with PBS Interactive suggested that it's important to "be a good listener and observer. People's realities are often more complex than we can assume them to be, so remain open and attentive no matter the challenges -- the experience is a two-way street."

A public relations and social media consultant, Katie Kemple works with public media clients to build community, develop strategic partnerships, and create integrated public relations campaigns. Over the past ten years, she has held positions at WGBH, WETA, Capital News Connection, and Public Media's EconomyStory. You can find her every Monday at 8 p.m. ET on Twitter, as a co-host and organizer for #pubmedia chat.

This is a summary. Visit our site for the full post ».

August 24 2010

17:05

Helping D.C. Drinkers and Bikers with Custom Maps

In my last post about TileMill, I outlined some of our general plans and the background for why we’re working on this project to help make it easier for people to design very custom maps online. One question that we get a lot from people who are new to the GIS space is, “When would I need this? How could I hope to improve on what (fill in the blank: Google/Bing/etc.) make available?”

The answer is that it’s all about the details of the specific communications goal you want to accomplish. In many cases, Google and Bing maps are great. In other situations, having additional control over map design is crucial to reach your goal (or at least improve your delivery). To get a sense of the kind of situations where custom designed maps really make a difference, I’ll share a story about some maps that we made for our hometown of Washington, D.C.

In 2008 the Washington, D.C. Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) released a large set of municipal datasets to the public to coincide with the original “Apps for __” contest, Apps for Democracy. Included in this data were ESRI shapefiles, a great format for GIS pros but hard to work with for anyone else. Using this same geodata, we created three very different custom maps, each for different use cases.

StumbleSafely

The first was for a website we called StumbleSafely. It was a bit tongue-in-cheek — the idea was that the site could help users see the latest crimes near their favorite bars so they could be aware of problem areas. Because we weren’t actually helping people map out navigation paths to get home, the real communications point we wanted to hit with the map was showing crime in proximity to bars and subway stations. Street names didn’t matter as much, and neither did highlighting any other kinds of businesses.

The D.C. police department was publishing crime data that we could scrape and add to the site to show crime locations, and the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration was publishing liquor license data that we could use to visualize density points on a map that corresponded to areas with lots of bars. For the base map itself, though, we needed little else in the way of data to accomplish our purpose. We were able to take shapefiles for roads, parks, and river features in the city and do a very low key map design that fit the aesthetic of the site and contained no extraneous information. People familiar with the city could quickly look at it and see right away what the crime situation was like in their favorite areas, without any other distractions.

Stumble Safely

DC Bikes

Another example was a very similar map, but for a very different use case. DC Bikes was designed on the same platform as StumbleSafely to provide a resource to the D.C. cycling community. It showed bike thefts, bike lanes, and bike shops around the city.

For the map on that site, we again wanted to show crime data and were able to take the same basic approach to StumbleSafely for the base map design, but there was one additional feature we needed — bike lanes. These were made available as a shape file from the D.C. government as well, so we were able to quickly repurpose the map from Stumble Safely, tweak the colors to match a new design, and highlight the bike lanes in a new color so they stood out. For the cycling community, we were again able to show just the more relevant information on the map and omit any distractions.

DC Bikes

DC Nightvision

Finally, we wanted a much higher level of detail for a different project. Rather than omit details from our map in this case, we wanted to pack it full of details about public infrastructure. Not just buildings and roads, but even crosswalks, medians, and topography lines. The map we released for the public, “DC Nightvision,” includes all of these details, each of which are again published by the D.C. government as shapefiles.

DC Nightvision

With the increasing availability of shapefiles like the ones mentioned here, TileMill will make it easy for end users without a lot of GIS training to churn out custom maps that meet their unique communications needs. With the data in hand and user-friendly tools to work with it freely available, creativity will be the only limit for creating great custom maps.

17:05

Helping D.C. Drinkers and Bikers with Custom Maps

In my last post about TileMill, I outlined some of our general plans and the background for why we’re working on this project to help make it easier for people to design very custom maps online. One question that we get a lot from people who are new to the GIS space is, “When would I need this? How could I hope to improve on what (fill in the blank: Google/Bing/etc.) make available?”

The answer is that it’s all about the details of the specific communications goal you want to accomplish. In many cases, Google and Bing maps are great. In other situations, having additional control over map design is crucial to reach your goal (or at least improve your delivery). To get a sense of the kind of situations where custom designed maps really make a difference, I’ll share a story about some maps that we made for our hometown of Washington, D.C.

In 2008 the Washington, D.C. Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) released a large set of municipal datasets to the public to coincide with the original “Apps for __” contest, Apps for Democracy. Included in this data were ESRI shapefiles, a great format for GIS pros but hard to work with for anyone else. Using this same geodata, we created three very different custom maps, each for different use cases.

StumbleSafely

The first was for a website we called StumbleSafely. It was a bit tongue-in-cheek — the idea was that the site could help users see the latest crimes near their favorite bars so they could be aware of problem areas. Because we weren’t actually helping people map out navigation paths to get home, the real communications point we wanted to hit with the map was showing crime in proximity to bars and subway stations. Street names didn’t matter as much, and neither did highlighting any other kinds of businesses.

The D.C. police department was publishing crime data that we could scrape and add to the site to show crime locations, and the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration was publishing liquor license data that we could use to visualize density points on a map that corresponded to areas with lots of bars. For the base map itself, though, we needed little else in the way of data to accomplish our purpose. We were able to take shapefiles for roads, parks, and river features in the city and do a very low key map design that fit the aesthetic of the site and contained no extraneous information. People familiar with the city could quickly look at it and see right away what the crime situation was like in their favorite areas, without any other distractions.

Stumble Safely

DC Bikes

Another example was a very similar map, but for a very different use case. DC Bikes was designed on the same platform as StumbleSafely to provide a resource to the D.C. cycling community. It showed bike thefts, bike lanes, and bike shops around the city.

For the map on that site, we again wanted to show crime data and were able to take the same basic approach to StumbleSafely for the base map design, but there was one additional feature we needed — bike lanes. These were made available as a shape file from the D.C. government as well, so we were able to quickly repurpose the map from Stumble Safely, tweak the colors to match a new design, and highlight the bike lanes in a new color so they stood out. For the cycling community, we were again able to show just the more relevant information on the map and omit any distractions.

DC Bikes

DC Nightvision

Finally, we wanted a much higher level of detail for a different project. Rather than omit details from our map in this case, we wanted to pack it full of details about public infrastructure. Not just buildings and roads, but even crosswalks, medians, and topography lines. The map we released for the public, “DC Nightvision,” includes all of these details, each of which are again published by the D.C. government as shapefiles.

DC Nightvision

With the increasing availability of shapefiles like the ones mentioned here, TileMill will make it easy for end users without a lot of GIS training to churn out custom maps that meet their unique communications needs. With the data in hand and user-friendly tools to work with it freely available, creativity will be the only limit for creating great custom maps.

June 15 2010

03:46

An Engagement: David & Lyndsi part 2




I know I told you I'd put these up a long while ago. So sorry for the delay. I've been quite occupied with telling some awesome wedding stories and living life.

April 20 2010

03:08

An Engagement: David & Lyndsi part 1

I confess! I've been hanging onto these totally fun engagement photos for a while now. I want to share David & Lyndsi's photos with you. I had a great time with them and I am so pleased with how they came out. Many thanks to David & Lyndsi for an awesome engagement session in the District.






stay tuned for part II : )

April 05 2010

17:28

A White House Easter

This little dude was stoked! Mi photo favorito. Garrett Hubbard/USA TODAY ©2010

What a beautiful day for this year's White House Easter Egg Roll. Would you believe that there were 30,000 people in attendance with people from all 50 states? Yes, crazy I know. Enjoy the photos!


March 27 2010

20:42

An Engagement: Greg & Ginnie in the snow part II


I love capturing fun memories like these! It is just one thing I love about my work as a wedding storyteller. With these engagement photos, and with all of my photographs, I hope you see their personality, their love, and their joy and feel what it's like to be them for just a moment. And if you do see them for who they really are then I have "hit this one out of the park" so to speak.
My clients invite me into their lives to tell their story--quite possibly the most important scene of their life story and then capture it for them. I like being trusted to the beginning of such a memorable chapter in their story so that it never fades or is forgotten but instead is celebrated as as it really was.

What this blizzard looked like from space. Image by Nasa.

Along the way we met this pup who was also so excited to see us that she almost forgot to shake the patch of snow off of her nose.

Me loving the early morning light + snow above my knees!

March 22 2010

03:28

D.C. Afterglow

The city is aglow one the night of a historic health care vote. Lord be in the House of Congress tonight. Photo taken @ 7:51 p.m. Sunday March 21, 2010.

February 05 2010

12:42

THE SPANISH CRASH: ZAPATERO AND THE STOCK MARKET

elperiodico.750

Yesterday the Spanish Prime Minister was with Obama in a Wahington “prayer breakfast” at the Hilton hotel.

Dammit!

More jobless people.

More deficit.

Less credibility.

Less money.

Less investments.

And Zapatero “praying” in Washington DC.

Well, neither, Good or the stock market listened.

5dias.750

El Periodico says God seems not to listen Zapatero, and ABC moves his editorial leader to the front page.

abc.750

When newspapers have front pages and headlines likes these ones, the political crash is imminent.

xornal.750

Less prayers, and more political wisdom.

Less prayers, and more political competence.

Less prayers, and more common sense.

So, let’s pray… for Zapatero.

Spain deserves a better government.

Not an aficionado!

UPDATE: Paul Krugman on The Spanish Tragedy.

January 22 2010

00:57

Ice Skating & Hot Chocolate

The café adjacent to the ice rink in the National Sculpture gardens in D.C. sells a fine cup of hot cocoa. by Garrett © 2009

Ice skating along the National Mall under the watchful eye of the National Archives almost makes winter worth it in my book. The weather went above 50 degrees and that was my cue to give another shot at this whole ice-skating thing. We only had to wait about 45 minutes for space to open up and a new session to begin. Very fun and very painless--given it was my second time ice skating in my life. I highly recommend it.

So what are the chances that the random stranger you request take a photo is a professional photographer? Well, on Monday you're odds were pretty good at the ice rink in the National Sculpture gardens in D.C. National Archives in the background. by Garrett © 2009

January 13 2010

06:01

White House interview

I made my first visit to the White House on Wednesday January 6, 2010 and I didn't even get a fist bump from Obama. On the flip-side I did get to meet National Security Adviser General James Jones in his West Wing office. I was there to capture a very important & exclusive interview with notconducted by Susan Page, our Washington D.C. Bureau Chief & all around brilliant reporter for USA TODAY. I wasn't afforded the opportunity for any creative visual storytelling but that's how it goes sometimes. Turns out it was a really good move to have me there as Jones talked about how the American people might be "shocked" by the reports the White House would release the next day regarding the attempted Christmas Day flight bombing attempt. Producers from The Today Show called our office late that evening telling us they wanted to run my footage.

Bummer: I had to cancel my date with my lovely lady to get the footage to the networks.

Bonus: Over eight-million people saw excerpts from my interview on TV that day. 19 million people heard reference to our USA TODAY cover story. Here is a clip of one such airing of my footage. Begins 20 seconds in.
"No more canceled dates with my lady" I declared in a briefing of my own at the White House press briefing room January 6, 2010. The press was speechless for the first time ever. Photo by the excellent H. Darr Beiser/USA TODAY © 2010

"Read my lips. Garrett is not to miss his date with his girlfriend. This is a matter of national security and the President is deeply concerned about this matter" General James Jones said during his interview with USA TODAY at the White House Wednesday January 6, 2010.
Garrett Hubbard/USA TODAY © 2010

I was so eager to conclude the interview that I walked away from my video camera while it was rolling to make this photo.
Garrett Hubbard/USA TODAY © 2010


West side of the White House on the way towards the press briefing room (on right)
Garrett Hubbard/USA TODAY © 2010


NOTE: This is a lighthearted look at a very serious issue.

January 08 2010

05:54

Engagement photo contest: THE FINALS

The pictures have been shared, agonized over, the votes have been cast and the finalists have been selected. Now it's time to choose the grand prize winner. Many thanks to all of you who voted, to the fantastic crew at District Weddings for posting our contest on their ever-popular DC wedding blog (fantastic resource for any bride), and finally for my awesome clients. I have enjoyed reading all your comments and learning what you like the most! Without further ado, here are the four finalists you voted on over the past four days.

Vote for your favorite photograph by clicking on the "Comment" text below the photographs or comment on my note on my Facebook page. Cast your vote by Sunday evening at midnight eastern and the couple with the winning photograph will get a $50 Pictage gift certificate they can use toward archival prints, books, albums, or whatever their heart desires. To my four great couples below, you all are beautiful. Thank you for inviting me into your lives to tell your story! Good luck!
1
Meghan & Jeremy with the cherry blossoms at the tidal basin. Married July 25, 2009.
More of their engagement photos here.


2
Michelle & Brandon on the national mall with the Capitol building. Married May 23, 2009.
More of their engagement photos here.

3
Elyse & Matt on the national mall with the Washington monument. Married September 19, 2009. More of their engagement photos here.

4
Christina & Cris along the tidal basin near the Potomic river. To be married in 2010.
More of their engagement photos here.



Photographers note: I will excuse myself from voting on the finalists : )

December 26 2009

05:25

Merry Christmas from Washington D.C.

The National Christmas Tree in front of The White House (in background) in Washington, D.C. on Christmas Eve, 2009. Photo Garrett Hubard © 2009

December 22 2009

17:43

Food fight in the white

My bird feeders have been quite busy with all the snow on the ground. This post is for my mom who loves the birds.A male Red-Bellied Woodpecker and a Blue Jay try to claim the remaining suet cake (food) in the middle of a large snowstorm that dropped around 20-inches of snow in the Washington, D.C. area. Photo by Garrett Hubbard © 2009.


December 04 2009

12:02

DER SPIEGEL ON SPOT WITH OBAMA’S WEST POINT SPEECH

US-POLITICS-OBAMA-AFGHANISTAN

I agree 100 per cent with Der Spiegel’s Gabor Steingart.

The first (terrific) paragraphs:

“Never before has a speech by President Barack Obama felt as false as his Tuesday address announcing America’s new strategy for Afghanistan. It seemed like a campaign speech combined with Bush rhetoric — and left both dreamers and realists feeling distraught.

One can hardly blame the West Point leadership. The academy commanders did their best to ensure that Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama’s speech would be well-received.

Just minutes before the president took the stage inside Eisenhower Hall, the gathered cadets were asked to respond “enthusiastically” to the speech. But it didn’t help: The soldiers’ reception was cool.

One didn’t have to be a cadet on Tuesday to feel a bit of nausea upon hearing Obama’s speech. It was the least truthful address that he has ever held. He spoke of responsibility, but almost every sentence smelled of party tactics. He demanded sacrifice, but he was unable to say what it was for exactly.

An additional 30,000 US soldiers are to march into Afghanistan — and then they will march right back out again. America is going to war — and from there it will continue ahead to peace. It was the speech of a Nobel War Prize laureate.”

Gabor Steingart, 46, is the senior correspondent of Der Spiegel in Washington DC.

Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.

Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl