The Boston Globe and the MIT Center for Civic Media announced today the launch of a new collaboration to introduce experimental ideas from the university to the large audience of the Globe’s websites, Boston.com and BostonGlobe.com. The collaboration is funded with $250,000 in support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, allowing the MIT and the Globe to work continuously together to share ideas and bring projects to life through the two-way communication of a university outreach coordinator and a creative technologist. Four Civic Media research fellowships will also be available in the Globe Lab, an innovation center within The Boston Globe. The fellows will work at the Globe during academic breaks, with two working for a month in January and two working three months in the summer. Knight Foundation plans to announce the collaboration on Sept. 22 at the 2012 Online News Association conference in San Francisco. ONA’s annual conference represents the country’s premier gathering for the nation’s leading digital journalists. Scheduled to launch in the fall of 2012, the Globe/MIT collaboration will represent a bold proving ground for how media organizations can work closely and productively with university thinkers. The hope is that this initiative with MIT will set a pattern for collaboration by the Globe with other universities in the Boston area as they and their students explore new ways of engaging citizens in the digital arena. “This collaboration will apply academic research at the forefront of new media technologies to one of the country’s strongest newsrooms,” said Michael Maness, vice president for journalism and media innovation at Knight Foundation. “We’re excited to see what these creative organizations build together.” Just 20 minutes from each other on the MBTA Red Line, The Boston Globe and MIT’s Center for Civic Media already work in complementary ways to explore the evolving news and information needs of communities. This initiative is aimed at taking advantage of many natural and promising opportunities for melding the cutting-edge thinking about media at MIT and the large digital audience that visits Boston.com and BostonGlobe.com every day for news, features, community conversations, and accountability journalism.
“The relationships today between universities and media organizations in the same communities remain underdeveloped,” said Martin Baron, editor of The Boston Globe. “We see great promise in building strong bridges between these institutions. The collaboration with MIT is an important, exciting step forward, but over time we envision a broad array of relationships with universities.”The collaboration will be overseen by Jeff Moriarty, vice president of digital initiatives at The Boston Globe, Chris Marstall, creative technologist for the Globe, and Ethan Zuckerman, director of the MIT Center for Civic Media. About The Boston Globe The Boston Globe is wholly owned by the New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT), a leading, global multimedia news and information company with 2011 revenues of $2.3 billion, that includes The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, The Boston Globe, NYTimes.com, BostonGlobe.com, Boston.com, About.com and related properties. The Company's core purpose is to enhance society by creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news and information. About the MIT Center for Civic Media The MIT Center for Civic Media works hand in hand with diverse communities to collaboratively create, design, deploy, and assess civic media tools and practices. We are inventors of new technologies that support and foster civic media and political action, we are a hub for the study of these technologies, and we coordinate community-based design processes locally in the Boston area, across the United States, and around the world. Bridging two established programs at MIT—one known for inventing alternate technical futures, the other for identifying the cultural and social potential of media change—the Center for Civic Media is a joint effort between the MIT Media Lab and the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program. It is made possible by funding from the Knight Foundation. About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org.