Tag Archives: Columbia College Chicago

Mobile tech + democracy = awesomeness

So I’m in this class called mobile journalism, and we’re doing a lot of cool stuff.

Liveblogging Arianna Huffington was only the beginning—we’ve Skype’d with people in Africa and Japan on the same day about how they use their phones, Skype’d with Kevin Thau, a VP of Twitter about (what else?) the future of Twitter, and now we’re designing the mobile presence of Chicago News Cooperative, the new nonprofit heavy-duty reporting outfit that covers the city for the New York Times.

Also my fridge project is for this class. Orion Magazine, whose photo project was inspiration for mine, has tweeted about me TWICE THREE TIMES. They’re my favorite mag and have been called the most important environmental magazine, so you should know I’m psyched. Feel free to follow my prof, Dan Sinker, on Twitter.

But interestingly enough, today I felt compelled to post because of the textbook for this class—Mobile Design and Development by Brian Fling. An excerpt:

The Estonian government will be putting the concept of media context to the test in their 2011 parliamentary elections, allowing citizens to vote for their leaders using SMS. In this case, the government can tabulate results instantly. But imagine a day when citizens can vote on local or national issues in real time, eschewing having to wait for traditional media to report on the effect of their vote, instead seeing the results in real time, as it happens.

There are already many opting to use the mobile media context in order to be heard. On the immensely popular television show American Idol, more votes were cast using a mobile phone in 2009 (178 million total text message votes) than votes cast in the 2008 presidential election (131 million ballots cast).

If that doesn’t deserve an “OMG,” I don’t know what does.

My idea: direct democracy. I think it’s possible with saturation of mobile.

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iPad commentary

Ello, love!

My article on the iPad for the Columbia Chronicle was just released. Take a look!

My audience? Students at my arts and media college in metro Chicago.

I also wrote a completely different version for a much older demographic, published in the Wilmington (Ohio) News Journal. See here

Open letter to ‘Cedars’

Once upon a time, I was News Editor for Cedars, the bi-weekly student newspaper of Cedarville University. Times were fun, I learned how to manage people (and how not to manage them). I published a few grating opinions that didn’t receive much response because there wasn’t much participation in the newspaper.

But now I’m at Columbia College Chicago, and Cedars has been re-designed, re-staffed, and is rearing to go once again. I applaud their efforts to resist the anti-media culture that seeps from the school’s hallowed halls. (Or, rather, seeps from the schools trustees and donors, but I won’t get into that now.)

Still… surely they can do a better job than this.

Just now I inquired about whether they have separate websites for on-campus and off-campus viewers. Stooping that low for preemptive damage control is a sad possibility, but not the saddest part of the setup.

That’s just simply the journalism. (Update, 2:15 p.m. CT: Cedars staff confirmed, via a comment on their Facebook page, that only one version of the website exists. Hooray!)

I want to say something. Hmm…

I literally can’t find a way to contact them other than posting a message on their Facebook page, so I’ll have to post my open letter here for the time being. I wish I didn’t have to put it in the open, but them’s the breaks. I’ll take it down if I get a message from them saying they get the point. Here goes nothing, after the break…

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Green campaign at my former school

A prefab modular home with LEED Platinum certification. Chicago should have its first Platinum-certified prefab residence in 2011. (Flickr photo from Heather Lucille. CC.)

Here are some links to my 2009 project to reduce Cedarville University’s environmental impact. I was collaborating with school administration to implement the project when I moved to Chicago to attend a more well-known journalism school.

CU/Green on transportation

CU/Green on clothing and consumer goods

CU/Green on building upkeep and construction

CU/Green on water use and landscaping

CU/Green on good air and energy

CU/Green on our refuse

CU/Green on everyday stuff

Before I left Cedarville University in May ’09, I was one of the founding members—vice president—of the environmental organization on campus. I got that gig in part because of the extensive plan I had proposed, above.

The plan took into consideration what was feasible for the college’s budget at the time, as well as what was socially responsible. One thing I stressed for administrators was that once our campus learns how to weatherize buildings, we should go into our community and do it for lots of residents there, many of whom are poor. Why? Free labor from students, minimal expense from the college, savings that make a big difference for families, and massive PR.

We could even serve as a knowledge hub for the community about “green” choices, and as a pilot program for similar universities across the country, I demonstrated.

P.S. — Here’s a link to an article on colleges who have voluntary student-funded offices of sustainability. Here’s a link to the only organization that evaluates colleges’ efforts toward sustainability and transparency, something the group considers essential to continuing sustainability.

Developments: Arianna and iPad

Arianna Huffington, right, has some mobile fun with a Columbia College Chicago student following her student-only conversation with us Wednesday, prior to her official speech. Huffington is the proprietor of Huffington Post, one of the biggest media brands on the Internet. (The photo’s by Columbia’s PR staff, but if they sue a student for the use of it, I’ll have something great to blog about)

Spring term finally started here at Columbia, and I’m back in the grind. When I have a lot of stuff to do, things mysteriously get done. I don’t know how it happens.

Two recent publishable items of mine: 1. I liveblogged Arianna Huffington’s conversation and Q&A with students Wednesday. It appeared on my Twitter feed, twitter.com/greenletters. (A transcript of it appears after the jump.) 2. I wrote tech commentaries on the iPad Thursday evening for two dailies in Ohio and The Columbia Chronicle.

Check the Chronicle’s Arts and Culture section to read my student-centric piece starting Monday morning. I’ll post a text version (and maybe PDFs) of what appeared in the dailies as soon as I can. I hear they were published Saturday.

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Speaking of Columbia College…

A screenshot from “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,” the most complex and realistic modern battle video game to date. (Creative Commons photo from the Flikr account of bigdigo)

Have you heard about the $1.6 million the Pentagon is giving us to develop, essentially, a video game to train infantry?

Two media outlets have reported it to my knowledge, a Sun-Times blog and this military blog post. But both of them simply copy-pasted from a release by the office of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL):

The Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 defense spending bill includes funding for the following projects:
· Columbia College Chicago, Chicago. $1,600,000 in funding for the Construct Program at Columbia College Chicago, which will develop interactive simulations for military training that provide soldiers with the ability to train in computerized real world environments. The program requires users to complete training tasks as a team and allows for the tracking and recording of motions and other characteristics of each participant during each training session. This capability, along with Construct’s ability to review session data in multiple visual formats, will allow the Army to better train soldiers for military conflicts at the unit level.

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Merry Christmas!

Take extra time and expend extra effort to hug your family or friends this fine day.

Loving other people is, supposedly, what today is about. I think the Jesus who does simply that (but not weakly, that) gets lost in the shuffle.

Here’s a poem by Russel Jaffe, who got a Poetry MFA from Columbia in 2008. It was included in our president’s creepy-cool holiday card to us.

Personal destination

This year, be generous
by cyclical, land gently,
Soar this time as yourself,
let winter lights bend around your trail