MIT-Knight conference explores ‘The Open Internet… and Everything After’

Journalism / Article

The Center for Civic Media is part of the MIT Media Lab.

The Internet has become an essential part of everyday life, but it’s changed dramatically since the early days, constantly evolving. What’s next? That will be on the minds of the crowd gathering in Cambridge, Mass., June 22-24 for the 2014 MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference on “The Open Internet… and Everything After.”

The three-day conference brings together a wide range of participants, including from the MIT Center for Civic Media and Knight Foundation, to discuss new ideas, technologies and business approaches related to keeping the Internet open.

During the conference, Knight President Alberto Ibargüen will announce the winners of the first News Challenge of 2014 on Monday, June 23 at 10:45 a.m. ET. His remarks will be followed by brief talks from the winners, who will share how their projects will strengthen the Internet for free expression and innovation. Michael Maness, Knight’s vice president of journalism and media innovation, will also be on hand to talk about Knight’s Prototype Fund, which takes early-stage information projects from idea to demo.

Key sessions get underway Monday morning, with a speech from keynote speaker Harvard University Prof. Susan Crawford, a co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, on how to engage communities through “data-smart governance.”

After lunch, Elise Hu of NPR will lead a conversation with Mozilla Foundation’s Mark Surman and OpenGov Foundation’s Seamus Kraft, where they will discuss how to make the open Web’s principles relevant over the next decade.

Monday afternoon, Tran Ha, Katy Peters, Chris Rudd and Jared Keller will talk with Knight Foundation’s Chris Sopher about millennials, how they consume information, and what they mean to the future of the Internet.

Later, Carolina Rossini, Public Knowledge; Renata Avila, Web We Want; Erhardt Graeff, MIT Media Lab; and the Promise Tracker team will share ways new projects and initiatives aim to overcome the challenges of using the Web to participate in offline social change.

The first full day will close with a discussion moderated by MIT Center for Civic Media Director Ethan Zuckerman on “Surveillance and the Open Internet” in the post-Snowden era. He will be joined by Emily Bell, Columbia University; Becky Hurwitz, MIT Center for Civic Media; and Nathan Freitas, The Guardian Project.

Tuesday, the conference’s final day, will begin with a speech about citizen journalism in Turkey from keynote speaker Zeynep Tufekçi.

This will be followed by a discussion about the world of “Citizen Science, Sensing and Mapping,” with Catherine D’lgnazio, OpenWater Project; Sean Bonner, Safecast; David Manthos, Skytruth; and Shannon Dosemagen, Public Lab.

We will then get to see new work and discoveries made in the past year from MIT Center for Civic Media students and researchers.

After lunch, Knight’s John Bracken, Emi Kolawole of the Stanford and Kristen Titus will lead an interactive session on how to discuss how to put users first.

Director Joi Ito will then drop by to explain the nine principles of the MIT Media Lab and discuss the future of civic media.

The conference will close at 2:30 p.m. ET with a speech from Knight’s Michael Maness.

As always, be sure to check out the winners announcement and the rest of the conference, which will be live-streamed at

By Megan Zimroth, media innovation assistant at Knight Foundation


A 24-hour hack day sponsored by the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews project precedes the conference and kicks off at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday. Join an all-star cast of developers, entrepreneurs, journalists and media thinkers working to build new tools to help us better understand how the open Web works. Stop by the Media Lab at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday to check out the projects from the hack day, or you can follow along by checking in on their wiki page, HackDash or by using the hashtag #owhack on Twitter.