I am in Boston at the Center of Future of Civic Media which hosts the Knight News Challenge Conference.
Yesterday after registering I assisted to the welcome speech by Alberto Ibarguen. He believes that what Knight is doing is the next big thing happening. A mix of technology, local communities. A new way to educate and inform people and make news accessible to everybody and reported by common people and not necessarily only journalists. Following Alberto’s speech the Co-Director of the Center for Future Civic Media talked about how young people are getting more involved with politics and how star-trek really represents our society. Obama resembles Spock, and there are a lot different races that in star-trek that represent our current multi-ethnic society. Doesn’t make sense to you? Well, that’s what he really said. A parallel between star-trek and modern society. After dinner a couple of dozen stands where set-up to show demos and after going through all of the stands I stop by 3-4 that I thought were interesting and/or related to our project. One stand was dedicated to a project on interactive narrative, which was tested at an elementary school. The kids created interactive stories with a simple plug-n-play open source software called ######.
Another project was a sort of game on a portable device connected to a GPS. The user would talk to characters and pick-up objects whenever it would get close to it moving in the real world. There are many different projects related to different topics: radio, products, connecting people in rural areas, an audio blog for kids, comics, women and technology. For now it was quite overwhelming but after a bit I talked to a few people and had a chance to talk to Alberto, the CEO of Knight and I really enjoyed the conversation.