Archives for posts with tag: online anthro

As part of my ongoing attempt to get out of Cornell and into the field, I’ve been in the process of honing my proposed PhD research. Based on the productive interactions I’ve had with people at events like NewsFoo, and drawing upon some really wonderful work that’s already been done in this area by a number of anthropologists, I’m proposing to study interactions between “hacks” (aka journalists) and hackers (including, but not restricted to programmers, DB folks, visualization experts, etc).

This, the second of two documents, is a broad outline of how I hope to structure my fieldwork. The other document, found here, is my attempt at defining the larger (still too large) scope of my project.

BTW, if you’re with a start-up or Newspaper in the US who’d be interested in working with a young (career-wise at least) anthropologist please feel free to contact me. Likewise, if you’re from a Foundation or Center interested in supporting or otherwise collaborating on this project, please drop me a note as well.

Outline of scope and approach for ethnographic fieldwork

This project is conceived, following the work of George Marcus and others, as a multi-sited ethnography. While the majority of my fieldwork will be anchored within a US City, the nature of this study requires me to follow my interlocutors as they, and their words and works, circulate within a broader network of individuals and institutions collaborating to “dream” the future of news.

The choice of city is based on weighing four primary factors. First, the ability to conduct research within and around existing, “legacy” news institutions engaged in news R&D. The second factor is the presence of start-up news enterprises. These range from community media outlets to start-up organizations specifically working to develop new “news” applications. The third factor is the presence and activity level of industry networking groups such as “Hacks/Hackers,” which work to foster conversation and collaborations between journalists and technologists. Finally, I am also looking for cities in which there are academic centers which are actively involved in the study of the future of the news.

As part of this research involves mapping the terrain of this collaborative space of dreaming, in addition to local research, I also plan to conduct supplemental research at a number of extra-local sites, in particular, trade meetings and conferences. Because the size, scope, format, and influence of these events can vary greatly, the choice of which ones to attend will be largely shaped by the priorities of my interlocutors. In addition to these sites, it’s my hope to conduct brief in-person research sessions at one or two of the non-profit institutions, like the John and James L. Knight Foundation, which are helping set and shape these discussions at a national level.

Additionally, I also plan to follow my interlocutors on-line, as social networking tools have become a critical part of the day-to-day productions efforts that I hope to track. In addition to staying abreast of discussions carried out via blogging platforms, I plan to conduct participant observation around various news related “tweet-ups”, regularly scheduled chat sessions in which groups of journalists hold guided open, public discussions about a specific “news topic.” My research methodology for this aspect of the project will draw upon the tools of linguistic and media anthropology to consider the interaction of individuals, culture, and mediating software, while, at the same time maintaining attention to the embodied grounding of all interactions.

realitiesofsocialnetworkingI’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my current lack of web-2.0ing and thought I’d try and visualize it based on previous experience. So chances are I’ll be posting a bit more soon — though who knows if it will be for good or bad reasons. I have two homework papers due and also an article for the Journal of Electronic Publishing… oy!

My Debate Command Station

My Debate Command Station

Some might be asking “What’s up with this post….” My PhD work is in the area of Journalism and live blogging debates is something that amateurs and pros alike have been doing this US Presidential Cycle. So, livin’ the anthropologist’s life, I thought I’d give it a try.

It’s not as easy as it looks. In fact, Twittering is much easier that trying to write anything substantive. This, believe it or not, was better than my first, unpublished attempt during the VP debate. Balancing watching, thinking, typing, and keeping watching is a lot harder than it seems. So without further adieu, my rather weak ramblings on the proceedings:

  • 10.34 pm — Gotta love what happens when the candidates block the teleprompter. And we go to hand shaking…
  • 10.24 pm — So much for yes or no. McCain’s “maybe” was the perfect response on that one. And we heard the audience on that one.
  • 10.17 pm — For an interesting view on the debate, check out Intrade’s tracking page for the debate.
  • 10.13 pm — Whelp, it’s official Brokaw should just get up and leave at this point.
  • 10.11 pm — Twitter looks to be down from the traffic
  • 10.03 pm — I want a doctrine! The Bernius Doctrine…
  • 10.00 pm — Ok, Brokaw is absolutely toothless.
  • 9.54 pm — I wonder if the audience is miked? McCain, whose cracked more jokes so far… But if there isn’t the sound of chuckles from the audience, it just sounds like the jokes are dying on the floor.
  • 9.49 pm — Brokaw really needs to start cutting these guys off…
  • 9.37 pm — Ballston Spa NY — Central NY Represents!
  • 9.29 pm — Interesting production note — is it me or are both candidates wearing lapel mics? If so then why the hand helds? Are they even on? Or is it just for the look?
  • 9.27 pm — The Hack the Vote live twittering is lagging way too far behind the debate. It’s interesting, especially since there’s a healthy amount of tweets from both sides of the aisle. But I think I’ve seen enough… let’s try some live blogging…

Play Money by Julian DibbellJulian Dibbell is going to be speaking at RIT this Wednesday. Julian, an associate editor at Wired, is an awesome guy and someone whose been involved in, and writing about, cyberculture for years. His latest work, Play Money, is an exploration of the various economic systems that have developed in various virtual spaces. At RIT he’ll be speaking on “Ludocapitalism – A few ways of making real money from a virtual economy, and what they mean.”

I first met while at the University of Chicago. Julian’s input was really helpful for me while writing my thesis. We touched base again late last year at the American Anthropological Association Conference. Again, I got a lot out of the conversation. So if you’ve got the chance, come out and hear him speak.

Here are the official details:

    Julian Dibbell

  • Topic: Ludocapitalism – A few ways of making real money from a virtual economy, and what they mean
  • Time: 7:30pm (the talk will be followed by open q&a time from 8:30-9)
  • Location: Liberal Arts (Bld 6), Room A205

So I haven’t been able to update the site on any consistent base in a while. Life’s been really busy. Unfortunately, as of late, it seems like I only have time to blog around major, and often tragic, events. So, quickly (with RIT’s quarter drawing to its close, I have a mountain of grading to do) here’s some good things:

  • My presentation at the American Anthropological Association’s national conference went well. It looks like I’ll get a journal publication out of it.
  • The quarter itself has gone pretty well, in particular a lot of strides have been made at setting up a publishing research lab here at the school. More on that soon.
  • Our (boy) cat Lewis, has made a full recovery after having two toes amputated because of a cancerous growth.
  • I got a new phone/pocket pc, which has helped me get organized.
  • I was a judge in a national variable data print competition.
  • The blog helped me reconnect with an old friend.
  • Dre and I are succeeding in getting out (and traveling) to see friends and family. At this rate, who knows, we might actually go on our Honeymoon this year.
  • I was awarded my teaching rank (black sash) in Kung Fu.

I’m sure there’s more, but my timer is going off, reminding me that it’s time to get back to grading.