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The MIT Media Lab has awarded its first Disobedience Award to Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha and Prof. Marc Edwards, for their work drawing attention to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, reports Scott Malone for Reuters. "They saw…an actual harm that was occurring and they did what they needed to do to intervene," explains Joi Ito, director of the Media Lab.

New York Times

Avantika Chilkoti of The New York Times assesses news coverage of the health care debate using Media Cloud, a platform that tracks online stories developed in part by researchers from the MIT Center for Civic Media. Since May, news about Russia and former FBI director James Comey “outstripped coverage of the health care bill on 30 of 67 days,” writes Chilkoti.


Wired reporter Andy Greenberg writes that during an MIT Media Lab symposium Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower, and Media Lab affiliate Andrew “bunnie” Huang announced that they are developing a device that could warn journalists about whether they are the target of government surveillance.  

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Hiawatha Bray writes that Media Lab research affiliate Andrew “bunnie” Huang and NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden are developing a device to protect journalists’ smartphones from government surveillance. Bray explains that the device will “detect whether a phone is sending or receiving unauthorized radio signals.”

New York Times

New York Times reporter John Markoff writes that during a Media Lab symposium, whistleblower Edward Snowden announced that he is working with research affiliate Andrew Huang to develop a smartphone to protect journalists concerned about government surveillance. Markoff notes that in addition to computer hacking, the conference focused on “controversial scientific research in areas such as genetic engineering and geoengineering.”


In an article for The Huffington Post, research scientist Matthew Carroll shares his experience working on the Boston Globe team that uncovered decades of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, as recounted in the film Spotlight. “Our original stories in 2002 were a catalyst for helping many survivors get the help they needed,” says Carroll.


Ethan Zuckerman writes for CNN that policymakers should treat gun violence as a public health hazard. “Mass shootings are the secondhand smoke of America's dysfunctional relationship with guns,” writes Zuckerman. “They are the moments where something we know to be dangerous to their owners and those around them become deadly to the public as a whole.”

Fortune- CNN

Principal Research Scientist Ethan Zuckerman writes for Fortune about whether the rise of ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft could portend a revival of hitchhiking. “Social serendipity is too important an activity to be left to the advertising slogans of sharing-economy startups in the hope that they will make it happen as a side benefit,” Zuckerman writes. 

Boston Magazine

Nathan Matias, Ph.D. student at the MIT Center for Civic Media, will lead a discussion at the Mozilla Festival in London on creating better online social interactions, writes Steve Annear for Boston Magazine. “Hopefully we will be able to create a guide to partying on the Internet,” says Matias.

Boston Magazine

Boston Magazine reporter Steve Annear writes about the course being offered at MIT this spring on the complexities of social media and online forums like Reddit. “They are social and political objects shaped by people that then shape the people who use them,” Chris Peterson, an MIT researcher, admissions officer and co-leader of forums like Reddit. 


In a piece for PBS’ Idea Lab, Rodrigo Davies, a researcher at the MIT Center for Civic Media, writes about a new bill in Hawaii that supports civic crowdfunding to raise funds for school maintenance and repair.