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CIRN 2011: Best Papers


Topics: Methodology, Other, Practice

Keywords: public space, public displays, community interaction

Best PhD Paper and Presentation: Interacting Places - Tools and Interfaces for Facilitating Community Interaction through Public Displays.

Nemanja Memarovic
Faculty of Informatics, University of Lugano, Switzerland

Public spaces connect people in their everyday life and foster the growth of communities by providing a common space for people to bond and interact. However, while different communities or social groups may share the same public space, they may not interact with each other due to perceived differences or prejudices. At the same time, members of the same community or social group might be scattered across physically separated public spaces. Public displays may have the potential to bridge such gaps between and among communities, both within and across public spaces. The significant price drops of large LCD panels have led to a massive proliferation of digital public displays in public spaces: they present special offers in shopping malls, list interesting facts and events at universities, display schedules and news in metro stations, or advertise a brand new product on an entire building facade. In my thesis, I argue that networked public displays can represent an important tool for bridging social and physical distances, i.e., they can improve the 'sense of a community' in public spaces. I plan to develop, deploy, and evaluate what I call "interacting places", i.e., networked public display systems that promote community awareness in public spaces. The outcome of my research will be an architecture and a corresponding set of tools and interfaces that enable the use of public displays as a community tool.


Topics: Methodology, Qualitative Research, Practice

Keywords: citizen journalism, public computing center, studio design, research methods

Best Refereed Conference Paper: Measuring the Impact of Citizen Journalism: A Study of Community Newsrooms in North Champaign and East St. Louis, Illinois

Colin Rhinesmith, Martin Wolske, Adam Kehoe
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States of America

This paper reports findings from a study, entitled "Equipping Citizen Journalists: Establishing Community Newsrooms in North Champaign and East St. Louis." The project leverages past public engagement efforts through collaboration among two research initiatives at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and their partners to equip four public computing centers to serve as community newsrooms. The project incorporates two courses at the University of Illinois bringing together library and information science and journalism students. The study builds on the theoretical framework presented in The Knight Commission Report on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy (2009), which emphasized the need for informed communities. To enable the information ecology to meet people's personal and civic information needs, the Commission urges local communities to pursue three objectives: expand availability of information to everyone; strengthen capacity of individuals to engage with information; and promote individual engagement with information in the public life of our community. The Equipping Citizen Journalists project responds to the recommendations in the Knight report by providing a methodological framework to address the disparity in effective use of technologies for information gathering, reporting, and information and news presentation that currently exists in two marginalized communities in Illinois, north Champaign and East St. Louis. Collection of data throughout the project allows for comparisons between two distinct communities and four distinct agencies in terms of the impact and sustainability of programming.