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Berkman Center Looking for Media Fellow

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School is seeking a Media Fellow to work on a citizen-media project. Details:

Project: The Berkman Center for Internet & Society is undertaking a project to comprehensively study the new/citizen/social media landscape, including reflection on its reach, implications, impact, and ecosystem, and charting an agenda for research and action moving forward. In the beginning, the potential of citizen media seemed limitless ā€“ finally there would be a way to overrule the gatekeepers, re-establish nuanced and in-depth analysis, escape commercially-driven news, and use the power of the network to fundamentally change the production and dissemination of knowledge and information. Citizen media promised democratized news and maybe even democracy itself, giving everyone with a computer and an internet connection access to not only follow ā€“ but also shape ā€“ the agenda and our understanding thereof. But after years of hard work and substantial investment, has citizen media lived up to that hope? Has power really shifted from the center to the edge? Has the conversation become more informed and inspired? Who is participating and how can we measure the impact of this new form of media? How has the dynamic of the media ecosystem changed with respect to interaction between professionals and amateurs, and is it sustainable? We will perform a critical analysis of where citizen media has fallen short, where it has delivered, and how we as a community can help it to do better.

Responsibilities: Working closely with the principal investigator and others in the Berkman community, the research fellow will develop and implement all elements of the project, including: designing and conducting research on diverse relevant topics; writing articles, case studies, blogposts, and project reports; organizing (with logistical support) workshops and major conferences; coordinating contributions from the Berkman community of faculty, fellows, staff, students and others still; and developing supportive tools and media as appropriate. Other duties/responsibilities include relationship-building, collaboration with others working in this space, content creation and development around the project events, and general promotion of the project through conversation and writing.

Requirements: Expert understanding of, healthy skepticism for, and strong interest in both citizen/social media, mainstream and public media are fundamental. Experience in media field strongly preferred. Must possess a blend of knowledge, curiosity, openness and self-motivation. Strong written and oral communication skills are essential, and an advanced degree in relevant field is required. Familiarity with new media and technology tools and proven ability to coordinate logistics and/or research projects are valuable. Desire to work for dynamic, mission-driven organization is a must. Must be willing to travel.

Organization: The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School is proud to be celebrating its tenth year as a research program founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development. Founded in 1997, through a generous gift from Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman, the Center now is home to an ever-growing community of faculty, fellows, staff, and affiliates working on projects that span the intersections among innovation, democracy, learning, law, technology, and policy. More at http://cyber.law.harvard.edu

Pay: $48,000 plus full benefits.

Contact: Catherine Bracy at the Berkman Center. Email cbracy (at) cyber.law.harvard.edu

3 Comments on “Berkman Center Looking for Media Fellow”

  1. #1 Seth Finkelstein
    on Aug 7th, 2007 at 9:25 am

    Hmm … I really shouldn’t do this, but just for “fun” …

    > But after years of hard work and substantial investment, has citizen media lived up to that hope?

    No. It was a delusion.

    > Has power really shifted from the center to the edge?

    No. All that’s happened is the creation of a new center. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. If you’re not passed by a gatekeeper, YOU DON’T GET HEARD.

    > Has the conversation become more informed and inspired?

    No. If anything, it’s gotten worse. This is because overall less fact-gathering is supported and more bloviating is encouraged.

    > Who is participating and how can we measure the impact of this new form of media?

    Money talks.

    > How has the dynamic of the media ecosystem changed with respect to interaction between professionals and amateurs, and is it sustainable?

    There’s whole business models based on digital-sharecropping, outsourcing, and “local content harvesting”. This is sustainable to some extent, but requires constant emotional manipulation of the audience.

    P.S.: The ironic kicker is that due to the various entanglements, the content of any report is almost pre-determined, and it won’t resemble the above.

  2. #2 Joe Zekas
    on Aug 7th, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    Seth says “Money talks,” and he’s right.

    No one who’s capable of performing this job adequately is likely to listen to $48k a year – not even twice that.

    I’d say the quality of the report is even more pre-determined than the content.

  3. #3 Brock Meeks
    on Aug 8th, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    You know, I’ve had a difference of opinion with Mr. Finkelstein from time to time; however, I have to say he nailed it with his comments above. Better, he’s done so in a devastatingly concise manner.

    I don’t hold his opinion of the likely outcome of the report; however, there’s no guarantee that the whole thing couldn’t go sideways big time.

    And Dan, if you’re reading this and have any input on the hiring process, I’m available. Seriously. But as Mr. Zekas says, it would take a lot more than 48k to get me on board, but it sounds like a fascinating opportunity with the caveat that researcher is given luxury of being brutally honest about the findings, one way or another.