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Lindsay Brown

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    Above: Day 2 at the National Immigrant Integration Conference, via YouTube Last week the sixth annual National Immigrant Integration Conference attracted hundreds of immigrant rights supporters, elected officials, businesspeople and others to Miami to brainstorm ideas and plans of action for better immigrant integration in the United States. The conference, held Nov. 17-19 at the Hilton Downtown Miami, featured a diverse lineup of speakers, including Miami author Edwidge Danticat, a 2009 winner of a MacArthur Fellowship; Joshua Hoyt, chief strategy executive for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights; Florida state Rep. David Richardson; Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation, vice president of community and national initiatives; and Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibargüen. RELATED LINKS  "Attracting immigrant talent essential to city economies, Coletta says" by Andrew Sherry on KnightBlog "Why Knight helps green card holders become citizens" by Marc Fest on KnightBlog The conference, which is supported by Knight, included five workshop tracks: maximizing citizenship, developing talent, promoting welcoming communities, building organizational capacity, and protecting rights and freedoms. Specific workshops focused on topics such as educational challenges, health care access, using data for successful naturalization, reducing barriers through advocacy, and much more. Coletta, who opened a session on “Welcoming Cities and Metropolitan Innovation,” focused on attracting and retaining talent as being essential to the economic strategies of communities.  
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    Developer Jake A. Smith leads a joint Code for Miami and Hacks/Hackers meet-up on "Getting Started With Github" at The LAB Miami in August. Photo credit: Rebekah Monson. Two groups in Miami’s emerging technology scene are working to bring journalists, developers, innovators and residents together to create solutions that benefit the community. Code for Miami, a Code for America brigade, and Hack/Hackers Miami are inventing new ways to make civic life more functional, coding new programs and promoting access to government data. They even share some of the same members. Rebekah Monson, a journalist and designer, is an organizer for both groups. Hacks/Hackers, which has chapters all over the world, strives to bridge the gap between journalism (the world of “hacks”) and technology (the world of “hackers”). By bringing journalists, designers and developers together, Monson said, they hope to learn from one another, develop and innovate new ideas, and change how people see the future of news and information. “Half the battle in learning something new is meeting people who can help you when you're stuck, and that’s what Hack/Hackers tries to help. It’s an opportunity for journalists and technologists to make connections, build community and help each other,” said Monson, communications manager at the University of Miami School of Communication.
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    Miami Mini Maker Faire, a Flickr set by Michael Bolden Creativity, technology and innovation overflowed The LAB Miami co-working space in Wynwood recently during Miami’s first Mini Maker Faire. The event, supported by Knight Foundation, offered the opportunity for South Florida makers and do-it-yourself innovators to showcase their products and ideas. The Faire attracted throngs of people of all ages and backgrounds, showing the growing interest in Miami as a place where ideas are built. The turnout of more than 1,700 thrilled organizers. “This is hugely successful,” said Mike Greenberg, a producer of the Faire, as crowds gathered for product demonstrations, to play games and to see the creations from dozens of exhibitors. “I can tell you that there [are] going to be Maker Faires more often in the area.” Maker Faires have been held all over the world since the first one debuted in California in 2006. The largest faires, held in cities from Tokyo to Rome and New York, bring tens of thousands of people together to show off and appreciate technological and artisanal creations. Independent Mini Maker Faires, such as the one held Nov. 16 in Miami, are more community-based.
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    Above: Arianna Huffington. Photo credit: Anusha Alikhan.  Arianna Huffington kicked of the 2013 abc* Foundation Continuity Forum Wednesday at Miami Beach’s New World Center with some “straight talk” on the future of media. The two-day forum brings together high-profile speakers and social entrepreneurs to present their ideas and use their influence to address social challenges across the Americas. Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, started the discussion by focusing on the importance of gatherings like the Continuity Forum that bring together innovators around issues of economy, politics, the environment and media. “They all connect,” she said. “Both for the future of media and for the future of our world.” She then launched into her topic, sharing her vision of the future of media and how to be successful in a rapidly changing environment. Three important insights emerged from her talk for both journalists and those investing in media to keep in mind: 1. Shining a light on the “good news” pays off First, she said that media companies have a responsibility to spotlight the good news and not just the bad.  She pointed out that journalists tend to live by the motto, “If it bleeds, it leads,” focusing on the dysfunctional. “At the Huffington Post we do plenty of coverage on what’s not working,” she said. “But increasingly if we look at the future of media it is important to realize that we need to focus on what is working, on what is succeeding and how we can scale the good things that are happening.” This shift is necessary, she said, not only “to give people a fuller picture of the world,” but also to spark innovation and inspire them. A desire to inspire was the impetus behind creation of the successful Huffington Post section titled “HuffPost Good News,” which focuses on positive developments in health, innovation and job creation. Huffington equated the power of positive news coverage with a small business that is given attention, money and mentoring to scale.  “People, believe it or not, prefer to share good news, and prefer to share advice and information about how to lead their life in ways that are more productive, healthier and happier, then to share news about the latest burglary or murder,” she said. “So what I’m saying here, for those who are in the media making decisions, it’s not just good for the world; it’s good for business.”