Active citizens and journalists using open data to innovate the information system. case histories from italy

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Published on February 20, 2014

Author: LaValeShare



Opening of Barcelona Lab "Creativitat internacional a l’esdeveniment BCNLab"

Active citizens and journalists using open data to innovate the information system. Case histories from Italy Barcelona 20th February 2014 BarcelonaLAB Marco Polo Research Grant Hosting Institute: IN3 - UOC Valentina Bazzarin @vbazzarin

Monopoly A new platform called street television emerged, allowing Italians to creatively resist corporate media. Telestreet uses empty frequencies to transmit a signal to regular televisions. Although the practice is not legal, users have evaded penalty by evoking the Italian constitution, which “prohibits censorship,” as it permits citizens “freedom of expression with any means of communication” (p. 174). Ardizzoni emphasizes that street television became a democratic alternative to mainstream media, helping circulate civic, environmental, religious, local, and international issues. (Rice, 2010, IJOC)

Transparency and accountability On 15th February 2013 the Italian Cabinet announced the approval of a Legislative Decree for the Review of the rules concerning the obligations of disclosure, transparency and dissemination of information by public administrations (the so-called “Transparency Decree”). The Decree states an (excessively?) ambitious principle of “total accessibility of information about the organization and the activities of public administrations”, in order to encourage distributed forms of control “on the pursuit of the institutional functions and the use of public resources”. The Decree collates and strengthens several existing obligations concerning the proactive publication of pieces of information which are useful to monitor the activities of public administrations, increase their efficiency and fight corruption. The Decree also defines a right of “civic access”. In fact, this provision enables any citizen to require the publication of pieces of information which should already be public. This is admittedly something different from the right of access under FOIA-like laws (in the Italian case, the existing “FOIA” is law 241/1990 with its demanding requirements and limited scope). See more at:

Open ricostruzione Values: dialogue (resolutions) between citizens and institutions and transparency Mission -creation of new arena for civic literacy where citizens have the opportunity to improve skills and to use tools to monitor as well as to support public bodies. Problems - cognitive cost of participation - digital divide (adults) - digital divide in schools (teachers) Perspectives - new teaching models - link among the 3 main activities of this project - process replicable and scalable

Hacks and Hackers

Journalism as a community Journalism is Community (sharing) Community building is a field of practices directed toward the creation or enhancement of community among individuals within a regional area (such as a neighborhood) or with a common interest. It is sometimes encompassed under the field of community development. A wide variety of practices can be utilized for community building, ranging from simple events like potlucks and small book clubs, to larger–scale efforts such as mass festivals and building construction projects that involve local participants rather than outside contractors. Activists engaged in community building efforts in industrialized nations see the apparent loss of community in these societies as a key cause of social disintegration and the emergence of many harmful behaviors. They may see building community as a means to increase social justice, individual well-being and reduce negative impacts of otherwise disconnected individuals. (source: wikipedia)

Age of disruption Notes on graph 1) Each quadrant is given a label - thinkers (high strategic play, low levels of openness used as a mean to compete), players (high strategic, high open), believers (low strategic, high open) and chancers (low strategic, low open) 2) I've marked two groups in grey, the top group shows high market cap growth and the bottom group shows low levels of market cap growth. 3) Size of bubbles equals volume of companies Source:

DataNinja Values: skills sharing / aware use of data and open data / technological skills literacy Mission: change the persperspective of journalism, learning how to work in a team, in international networks and improving together (both in terms of knowledge and business) Problems: traditional editor are not able to experiment and they do not incubate new experiences but they hope to buy the final product (content). Perspectives: AMAZING!: Dataninja is already sustainable and we are improving. Mission and values: Data-journalism in not a new form of journalism but is empowering traditional journalism that is based on skills and will to tell histories starting from facts and data. Any storytelling includes: - observation - contextualization - interlocking - lining up facts Moreover data-journalism aims to be a platform, a laboratory, for education and training of journalists and the viz part is less relevant than the storytelling. Problems: - Sustainability and remuneration of collaborators; - being an open community but with a selection mechanism of high quality content Perspectives: - could become the platform in which the outputs of hacks/hackers could reach visibility

Not only data but storytelling

Not a single journalist but a community of watchdogs and storytellers “Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital" Journal of Democracy, January 1995, pp. 65-78. For a variety of reasons, life is easier in a community blessed with a substantial stock of social capital. In the first place, networks of civic engagement foster sturdy norms of generalized reciprocity and encourage the emergence of social trust. Such networks facilitate coordination and communication, amplify reputations, and thus allow dilemmas of collective action to be I resolved. When economic and political negotiation is embedded in dense networks of social interaction, incentives for opportunism are reduced. At the same time, networks of civic engagement embody past success at collaboration, which can serve as a cultural template for future collaboration.

Conclusions In Italy data-journalism and data for civic hacking are a way to overcome the problem of the monopoly in the information system, but here, in Spain as well or wherever you are, you can take the chance to use data and digital skills to empower professionals and citizens to promote and discuss the social problems in the public arena Thanks. Twitter: @vbazzarin or mailto:

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