From the your neighborhood

From the your neighborhood

I'm at the CCTV NeighborMedia-sponsored panel discussion about "Using the Web to Connect Your Community and Encourage Civic Engagement in Cambridge." Resources from the panel at

Colin Rhinesmith, community media and technology lab manager and facilitator of the NeighborMedia program introduced the panel. The moderator, Chris Csikszentmihályi, provided some background on how the Internet used to be thought of primarily as a way for people to connect around interests, regardless of location. In his work at the MIT Center for Future Civic Media, he and his colleagues are looking at ways to empower people and connect them with their neighbors and communities. Examples include: and

Anita Harris, founder and president of Harris Communications group, shared some examples of blogs that she writes, including and some guidelines for bloggers. One of the reasons she blogs is to cover local Cambridge news not covered by other news sources.

Karin Koch, NeighborMedia correspondent and host of BeLive: Vida Latina, a show dedicated to covering issues of interest to the Latino community, spoke about her work. In addition to having these shows broadcast on CCTV, Karin posts them on web video hosting services and posts links to them from her blog. Uses social networking sites - including Facebook and twitter - to connect with a broader community interested in these issues and to keep in touch with guests of the show. This takes a lot of time and effort, but she believes it is an important way to expand the reach.

D.C. Denison, Boston Globe technology writer and Porter Square Neighborhood Association webmaster, on creating an effective community/neighborhood website. His association used the Drupal content management system, on which the CCTV website is also built. There is a lot of shared knowledge within the Drupal community . They use Mailman for their email list management, which is another open source software.

Garrett Anderson, Cambridge Energy Alliance, Director of Efficiency Projects and Energy Advisor. His organization provides conservation information and is designed also to inspire Cambridge residents and businesses to be more energy efficient. Site offers a blog, e-newsletter, calendar aggregating conservation events hosted by a variety of organizations. They focus on local conservation issues and resources, as well as on broader conservation topics. The are in the process of developing a community site with an interactive energy use calculator and multiple ways to connect.

Toni Bee, Area 4 correspondent for NeighborMedia, was a civic journalist in Dorchester for many years, before the term really existed. She focuses on colorful news and people of color, covering people, events and arts that interest her. She shared some of her photos, including some of a recent teen media event. Her work at Margaret Fuller house, as a community activist, is really connected with her work at CCTV. One piece she has been working on is the Men's Health League, which is focused on getting men of color healthier. Her work is also published in the Cambridge Chronicle. She uses photos, video and words to get her message out.

Mark Jaquith, East Cambridge correspondent for NeighborMedia, spoke about his work with the NeighborMedia program has helped him further the mission of Cambridge causes, organizations, and projects. Mark first got motivated to become a citizen journalist by a neighbor who, like him, was concerned about the amount of development going on in his neighborhood. He worked with fellow citizens to try to get more cohesive thinking and planning around development and became involved in a city planning team, with the goal of getting more mixed-use development. Through the skills he developed in classes at CCTV and ongoing writing about important issues.

The event closed with comments and questions from attendees.


Beautful Write up that captured EVERYTHING -Word!!!!

Great blog post...One small thing: New Cambridge Observer is now at Thanks! Anita Harris

Thanks, Anita. I just updated it in my post. - Siobhan

Thanks for the story--I was so sorry to miss this and glad to have a chance to read about it. Keep up the good work.
Mary Holbrow