Researching the Indymedia: Developing Tools and Methodologies to Build a Movement


The IMC movement is at a critical crossroads. We need to develop the research tools and methodologies necessary to understand the ways in which the movement is growing, how the application of radical democratic principles are impacting our work, how people are using the network, the effectiveness of our outreach etc. This panel will include presentations by several researchers examining these and other questions about the IMC movement and a discussion about how we can work together to create a more coherent, comprehensive research program.

see also: ImcATXConferenceQuestionAire2

IMC & RESEARCH WORKSHOP - February 20, 2005 Austin Indymedia Conference Rough notes by Sheri - audio will also be made available.

3 BRIEF RESEARCH PRESENTATIONS:

1st presenter - Andy Opel

(1) sees IMC as part of the \x93media reform movement\x94 there are other wings of the movement which goes by different names, but he prefers the term \x93media activism\x94 rather than media reform or media democracy because it is about creating new information. (2) we should connect with our allies more; we can see we have allies with different skillsets - podcasting, bloggers, LPFM, media policy. How we relate to these groups is a critical question for us.

2nd presenter - Lisa B. Brooten

(1) we need to break down the academia and activist binary because it sets up a social hierarchy; let\x92s talk about coproduction and coscholarship; (2) there are gender problems in the movement - accountability issues in the movement and internal network problems. (3) hierarchies are constructed in multiple ways; what solutions are there? ex: Edward Said - emasculation of the Arab male; (4) project - do a textual analysis pre-Iraq of Indymedia coverage. By paying attention to gender, we see how hierarchies are constructed.

3rd presenter - Rich Templin

(1) looking at server statistics; how much traffic on the Tallahassee IMC site; people got excited about how many people were using independent media; (2) they recognized the security issues around logging ip addresses, but they have a workaround - Tallahassee IMC techie; (3) what they discovered from the responses they got from the network regarding their study: (a) security (b) many IMCs did not have access to their own servers - this seemed to be a social and digital network disconnect; (4) the whole question \x93what is indymedia?\x94 raises alot of questions: \x93If it\x92s a public sphere, what does it look like?\x94; (5) there seems to be a problem with the \x93contact us\x94 on many imc sites - you can\x92t get to the people behind the website; (6) maybe we could do a census of the u.s. imc network.

DISCUSSION

Regarding the NYC traffic, there was a drop off in April 2003 - brings up the question of the continuity in our audience.

We need ways for the network to talk about itself and aski ourselves whether we\x92re achieving our goals. We need to be thinking strategically and with reflection. This kind of thinking and discussion leads to increased collective intelligence.

Website discussion: Several years ago, several people throughout the network (activists, media makers and academics) discussed a website for compiling all the research that had been done on Indymedia. We wanted a place where people within and without the network could discuss the topics that were being raised and written about. Increase participation of indymedia participants in current and ongoing research. there\x92s a disconnect often between researchers and indymedia. we wanted to bridge that gap. We started to compile research in english and portuguese but never got further. We talked about the first steps being a wiki.

In light of the need for internal reflection, what about reflection.indymedia.org rather than research.indymedia.org? Some thought it would be confusing to people; it should be clear that it is about researching indymedia vs. academia.

Goals of this kind of work, whether a website or a working group/list would be to enable each other and put ideas together more synergistically.

There\x92s been a failure in terms of archiving - could a researcher help with that?

The wiki from the conference could lead to research.indymedia.org.

Indybook project discussed - how to put together a book about indymedia with as much input as possible from all nodes of the network.

Some people view this as being class-based - intellectuals and academics.

perhaps we need to hybridize academic and indymedia so it\x92s a new space.

How can we stop the use of our information from being used against us - i.e., Rand, Cointelpro.

In all this discussion, we are forgetting the important piece of teaching. Not everyone who is doing \x93research\x94 wants to publish a paper, some people want to spread the ideas of indymedia and participatory media and journalism to their students. Turn people on to the possibilities.

Discussion about people wanting to see research ON indymedia PUBLISHEd on indymedia. Some people shared that it was difficult if you wanted to publish original work it couldn\x92t be published on a newswire. One idea was to publish a draft or remove noncritical paragraphs and publish it. This seemed important to many people in the workshop and outside.

Possible solutions - open source publishing.

ACTION STEPS

1. Work on research site - short and long term steps for creating a working space for sharing information 2. Set up imc-research email list for continuing the conversation 3. Link up with people like Lessig, Benkler and Eben Moglen to push the academic and publishing world boundaries over copyright. Connect up with Future of Music community re open source publishing.

-- AaronCouch - 16 Feb 2005

-- JeffLazar - 21 Feb 2005 - added questionaire

-- AaronCouch - 04 Apr 2005 - added notes taken by Sheri
Topic revision: r4 - 04 Apr 2005, AaronCouch
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