CMS News Archives
Lisa Song, a 2009 alumna of the Graduate Program and Science Writing, as just been announced as a Pulitzer Prize winner for national reporting, as part of team that authored "The Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You've Never Heard Of. The reporting itself began as a seven-month investigation into a 2010 spill of Canadian tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River.
It was originally published with InsideClimateNews. From their announcement:
The Pulitzer-winning entry included a three-part narrative by McGowan and Song, who described the unfolding of the Michigan oil spill from the point of view of those directly involved--residents; state, local and EPA officials at the scene; scientists; and spokesmen with Enbridge Inc., the company responsible for the spill. As the three-year anniversary of the spill approaches, oil is still being removed from the Kalamazoo River.
Song followed up with articles that revealed critical gaps in federal pipeline safety regulations, while Hasemyer focused on how Enbridge's rebuilding of the ruptured pipeline is affecting the lives of people along the route.
You know what's a good deal? $100,000 a year for five years, to do with as you please.
That's what Junot Díaz just just found out via a phone call from the MacArthur Foundation, informing him he'd just won a coveted MacArthur Fellowship, better known as a "genius grant".
But what's better...that, or the Atlantic letting you know you're actually just 31 years old instead of 43?
Depends on what was going on at 31. Either way, congratulations, Junot.
The genius grant follows Díaz's 2008 Pulitzer Prize for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
"The Snowfield", a game developed at our Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab last summer to explore making narrative games without complex artificial intelligence, has been announced as one of eight winners of the student showcase at the Independent Games Festival.
In total, this year's Student Competition took in nearly 300 game entries across all platforms -- PC, console and mobile -- from a wide diversity of the world's most prestigious universities and games programs making the Student IGF one of the world's largest showcases of student talent.>
All of the Student Showcase winners announced today will be playable on the Expo show floor at the 26th Game Developers Conference, to be held in San Francisco starting March 5th, 2012. Each team will receive a $500 prize for being selected into the Showcase, and are finalists for an additional $3,000 prize for Best Student Game, to be revealed during the Independent Games Festival Awards on March 7th.
The full list of Student Showcase winners for the 2012 Independent Games Festival, along with 'honorable mentions' to those top-quality games that didn't quite make it to finalist status, are as follows:
- The Bridge (Case Western Reserve University)
- Dust (Art Institute of Phoenix)
- The Floor Is Jelly (Kansas City Art Institute)
- Nous (DigiPen Institute of Technology)
- One and One Story (Liceo Scientifico G.B. Morgagni)
- Pixi (DigiPen Institute of Technology - Singapore)
- The Snowfield (Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab)
- Way (Carnegie Mellon University, Entertainment Technology Center)
"2012 Independent Games Festival Announces Student Showcase Winners"
Harvard University Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society has announced its fellows for 2011-12, a list that includes CMS professor Beth Coleman.
Coleman's research there this year will look at the impact of networked social media platforms on collective action. She plans to investigate qualitative and quantitative data on the developing role of the mobile Internet in regard to social and political movements.
In particular, Coleman says, she will focus on spheres of activism, where personal risk (bodily or otherwise) is the condition of participation.
Her forthcoming paper -- Tweeting the Revolution -- part of this research project, will be delivered at the Oxford Internet Institute in the fall.
Fellows this year also include other good friends of CMS, particularly through the Center for Future Civic Media, including Benjamin Mako Hill, Andres Monroy-Hernandez, Intisar Rabb, and Zeynep Tufekci.
"Berkman Center Announces 2011-2012 Fellows" via Berkman Center for Internet and Society
We're so proud to share the news that Education Arcade research director Scot Osterweil was recently presented with an MIT Excellence Award.
Scot received an award in the "Bringing Out the Best" category. His CMS colleagues were there to cheer him on (see the video below):
Bringing Out the Best
Department of Urban Studies, School of Architecture & Planning
"Well-known in his field for helping to create the Logical Journey of the Zoombinis, our next awardee is an inspiration to game developers everywhere. But for those who work in MIT's Education Arcade, he is also a selfless mentor--the go-to guy for assistance of all kinds. He remains close enough to projects to provide influence, while giving others space to grow. As one nominator said, 'His faith in my abilities as a manager... have enabled me to tackle tasks and produce results I wouldn't have dreamed of under other leadership.'
"While exceptionally busy, he always makes time to help others--even assisting one staffer with design work to ensure her project met deadline. He has a wealth of experience, a brilliant mind, and a generous character.
"This award for Bringing out the Best goes to Scot Osterweil."
Continue reading "Scot Osterweil receives MIT Excellence Award" »
GAMBIT director Philip Tan announced the great news over the weekend:
Congratulations to ZZZ Games! The 2010 GAMBIT summer team was responsible for developing Symon, which just won the Kongregate Award for Best Browser Game at the Indie Game Challenge, part of the D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas. Kyle Orland from Gamasutra reported from the award ceremony, "Kongregate's Jim Greer came on stage during the ceremony to present a special award to Symon, a procedurally generated puzzle game set in the dreams of a paralyzed man. The award comes with prominent placement on the Flash game portal and one million sponsored views provided by the site."
We covered Symon in Game of the Week recently, so be sure to check out how the game was conceived and brought to life. Of course, you can play the game on our website, and stay tuned for more news about Symon in the coming months... we haven't let it lie fallow!
The Mediabistro AgencySpy blog breaks the news:
Big Spaceship director of strategy, Ivan Askwith, has left the Brooklyn-based digital shop for a position at Lucasfilm (a BS client, actually). Askwith had spent three-and-a-half years at BS, moving up the ranks from senior strategist to his aforementioned post. For now, the strategy team at Big Spaceship is reporting directly to CEO, Michael Lebowitz. An MIT alum, Askwith spearheaded strategic efforts and project launches for clients including Wrigley (Skittles, Starburst, Altoids, Life Savers and Orbit) as well as Google, USA, A&E, Adobe and Corona during his time at BS.
Askwith, who wrote his thesis on "Turning Television into an Engagement Medium", graduated from our master's program in 2007.
It was a 2008 Dream-Build-Play challenge winner and an IGF finalist...and now CarneyVale: Showtime is featured on the Games for Windows homepage:
CarneyVale: Showtime is a vertical ragdoll platform game for Xbox LIVE Community Games. In the game, you play as Slinky, a circus acrobat trying to rise up the ranks by performing acrobatic tricks and death-defying stunts through increasingly complex arenas.
You can manipulate a wide variety of props to get Slinky through the arena:
- Catch and fling the ragdoll Slinky around using trapeze-like Grabbers
- Make Slinky grab onto flying Rockets and ride them through a maze of obstacles
- Avoid electrical and flaming hazards which cause Slinky to lose lives
- Dash in mid-air and burst trails of balloons along the way
- Perform special acrobatic tricks to gain more fans
...And much, much more!
CMS alum Ivan Askwith, who is director of strategy at the digital creative agency Big Spaceship, tweeted some stellar news yesterday. Big Spaceship landed a deal to do the digital creative work for Lucasfilm. From Ad Age:
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Lucasfilm, the entertainment production company behind the "Star Wars" franchise, has picked a shop with a fitting name, Big Spaceship, as its new digital agency of record.
The New York-based independent agency beat out a handful of undisclosed digital shops pitching the business, according to people familiar with the matter. It will handle websites, social media and mobile for Lucas Online, which also includes work for film franchises such as "Star Wars."
Lucasfilm confirmed the relationship, though declined to elaborate. Kantar Media does not have ad spending data for the movie production company. Big Spaceship also declined comment for this story.
Over the last 10 years, Big Spaceship grew up largely handling digital production work, building websites for traditional ad agencies on a contract basis. These days the agency, which is run by CEO-founder Michael Lebowitz, says it only works with clients directly, with no agency middlemen.
The agency also counts General Electric, Wrigley, Microsoft and Google as clients.
Big Spaceship had $8 million in U.S. revenue in 2009, up 33% from the year prior, according to Ad Age DataCenter. The 50-person shop was also one of Ad Age's Best Places to Work in 2010.
Askwith is also an adviser at CMS's Convergence Culture Consortium.
AdAge -- "Big Spaceship Lands Lucasfilm Digital Business"
As we celebrate the 10th year of Comparative Media Studies, we continue to feature great items from our archives. This week: a feature piece by alum/researcher Sam Ford interviewing comics great Frank Espinosa.
Read it: Comics Creator Frank Espinosa Gets Graphic, November 2006
A nice stat and a nice moment: since approval of its permanent major in 2008, Comparative Media Studies has grown to become the second-largest major in MIT's School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.
While still a far cry from Economics' 90 students, Comparative Media Studies has become a clear choice of major at a time when more humanities undergraduates demand ways to apply knowledge to the challenges right in front of them.
Kudos to Dean Fitzgerald, director William Uricchio, associate director Ian Condry, academic coordinator Becky Shepardson, and groundwork-layer/former director Henry Jenkins for such great success.
Learn about the CMS major requirements.
As Comparative Media Studies faculty, students, and staff return from two weeks of Christmas and New Year's celebrations, we also return to celebrate our program's entering, with not-quite-believable-speed, its 10th year.
2010, as an anniversary year, will not only be a time for lauding the program's accomplishments but also for exploring--as an academic community and with our fans--where Comparative Media Studies as a program and discipline wants to go from here.
CMS at MIT has grown from an idea, nurtured by Henry Jenkins and Dean Philip Khoury, into one of the world's top media studies programs. So we will have a formal anniversary celebration in April, bringing together alumni and scholars, with the public portion being a Communications Forum on April 22 to welcome back Henry Jenkins to discuss the history and future of CMS--to talk about what co-Director William Uricchio described in early planning as, "What worked, what didn't, and why. And Henry being Henry, his talk will have a strong dose of the visionary."
A strong dose of the visionary marked these first ten years and--with our move to the Media Lab building this month, more inspired directorship coming this spring, and continued groundbreaking research from our various projects--doses of the visionary will be the prescription for the next ten.
Come be a part of it.
The Law Librarian Blog beats us to the punch, welcoming Grant McCracken's new book Chief Culture Officer: How to Create a Living, Breathing Corporation.
Grant is a research affiliate here at our Convergence Culture Consortium. His new book shines a light into the hungry maw left largely unfed by consumer businesses: culture. From the description:
Levi-Strauss, the jeans and apparel maker, missed out on the hip-hop trend. They didn't realize that those kids in baggy jeans represented a whole new--and lucrative--market opportunity, one they could have seen coming if they had but been paying attention to the shape of American culture.
Levi Strauss isn't alone. Too many corporations outsource their understanding of culture to trend hunters, cool watchers, marketing experts, consulting firms, and, sometimes, teenage interns. The cost to Levi-Strauss was a billion dollars. The cost to the rest of corporate America is immeasurable.
The lesson? The American corporation needs a new professional. It needs a Chief Culture Officer.
Congrats to Grant on the new title. He not only supports C3 but always manages to put together stellar panels for our annual Futures of Entertainment conferences. So grab his new book today!
Amazon -- Chief Culture Officer: How to Create a Living, Breathing Corporation
In the Fall 2007 issue of the CMS newsletter In Medias Res, we featured a note by friend of the program Cory Doctorow on BoingBoing, praising the truly remarkable thesis projects that had just been published here at cms.mit.edu.
I once spent a mind-blowing day at [the CMS] program, meeting super-smart people seriously unpicking things like pro-wrestling fandom and understanding what makes it tick. Now there's dozens of these online -- I could read this stuff for weeks.
What's particularly impressive is how past thesis work continues to guide research here and elsewhere. The 2007 batch only includes Sam Ford's thesis "As the World Turns in a Convergence Environment," which was influential on the new Convergence Culture Consortium, as well as "Transmedia Storytelling: Business, Aesthetics and Production at the Jim Henson Company" by Geoffrey Long, who now works as a researcher and Communications Director at the Singapore-MIT Gambit Game Lab.
MIT Comparative Media Studies -- Theses
Advertising shops are scouring for creative technologists: a rare breed familiar with technology and conversant with new forms of media, but also able to translate that know-how into compelling digital-branding vehicles.
Look beyond portfolio schools to the growing group of programs that incubate tech-minded talent. Favorites include the Rochester Institute of Technology, the aforementioned Hyper Island, a Swedish digital-ad school, MIT's Comparative Media Studies program and New York University's interactive telecommunications program. Also expected to be a breeding ground for new digital talent is Boulder Digital Works, a new stateside graduate program featuring mini-courses from Hyper Island.
Advertising Age: Where to Find Tech-Focused Advertising Talent
From a press release issued by the Media Development Authority of Singapore:
Since running yearly summer internship programmes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 2007, the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab (GAMBIT) has trained 77 students from various local tertiary institutes in games research and development. Of these, 41 of them have since found employment in the Singapore games and media industries while the remaining is largely still serving national service.
That's a remarkable accomplishment and testament to the GAMBIT program. GAMBIT staff added their thoughts:
We here at the Cambridge office are very excited by this announcement, and look forward to working closely with our partners across the ocean to find more job placements for our highly skilled and talented students.
Via Associated Degree, a clearinghouse for continuing education programs, comes an impressive list of blogs for new media students, including three CMS blogs:
New Media students are on the verge of an exciting and evolving field of study. With topics ranging from social networking to innovative art forms to gaming to Internet policy and politics falling under this umbrella, there is plenty for students to learn about and stay connected with. Adding these blogs to your favorite reader will help you keep current on all that is happening in the world of New Media.
Included were Confessions of an Aca-Fan, former co-director Henry Jenkins' blog; the Project New Media Literacies blog; and Nick Monfort's collaboration on computer and gaming narrative, Grand Text Auto.
Also included was friend-of-CMS David Nieborg's blog Gamespace.nl.
From the MIT News Office:
Five MIT students have received a 2009 Anthony Sun Fellowship Award to pursue international internships this summer through the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI).
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science senior Scot Frank will continue his pioneering work on a low-cost solar cooker in western China. Physics senior Charles Agoos will work with a China Educational Technology Initiative (CETI) team to help expand OpenCourseWare programs in Taiwan and Fuzhou, China.
A sophomore in architecture, Katelyn Snyder, will work on historical preservation in the Old City of Acre (Akko), Israel.
Chris Moses, a brain and cognitive sciences junior and president of STeLA, the Science and Technology Leadership Association, will join a research team at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan.
A graduate student in comparative media studies, Madeline Clare Elish, will explore the intersection of art, science and technology at the Medialab-Prado in Madrid, Spain.
MISTI Director Suzanne Berger, the Raphael Dorman and Helen Starbuck Professor of Political Science, presented the awards on April 29 at an annual gala honoring the more than 360 MIT students who will intern in nine countries this year through MISTI.
Berger also acknowledged the European Club for its contribution to MISTI internships in Europe, and she thanked Josep Maria Cervera of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce for its founding sponsorship of the MIT-Spain Program.
MIT Energy Initiative Director Ernest Moniz, the Cecil and Ida Green Distinguished Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems, discussed the importance of international experience and the global response to climate change in his keynote address.
From the MIT News Office:
An image taken by Eric Schmiedl, a senior in the Comparative Media Studies program, will be included as part of a web gallery for American Photography 25, one of the most prestigious photo competitions in the country. Fewer than 1 percent of the 10,000-plus images submitted were chosen for the honor. Schmiedl's image was originally taken for the cover of a student-driven calendar meant to raise money for an Institute scholarship.
MIT News Office, Awards and Honors: April 29, 2009
CMS Co-Director Henry Jenkins last month joined the likes of Madeleine Albright, Craig Newmark, and Former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson for a panel on how public policy and private initiatives can better meet the public's information needs.
Jenkins participated in a similar panel at Aspen last year on media and values and blogged about the experience:
As I found myself making small talk with everyone from the heads of major media companies to former members of the Bush administration, the one topic which seemed to have captured everyone's interest was Harry Potter. Almost everyone had stories to tell about the experience of reading the final book in the series. In Convergence Culture, I suggested that fan communities might offer us better chances to talk about shared values across the ideological divides that currently shape American politics because they offer us shared fantasies and common reference points. Well, this was a pretty dramatic illustration of that principle at work.
Junot Diaz talks about his Pulitzer Prize winning The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
on The Colbert Report. Click here to watch the interview.
A new computer game developed by MIT and Singaporean students makes it possible for visually impaired people to play the game on a level field with their sighted friends.
Read entire article here.
Eric Klopfer, Scheller Career Development Professor of Science Education and Educational Technology, Director of the Scheller Teacher Education Program (STEP), and Co-Director of CMS research project The Education Arcade, will receive the Education Award on May 12 from the American Institute of Biological Sciences. The award is presented to an individual who has made significant contributions to education in the biological sciences, at any level of formal or informal education.
Following a successful five-year experiment, MIT faculty voted unanimously to make Comparative Media Studies a permanent SB program at their meeting on April 16, 2008.
Read article in The Tech.
Read press release from MIT News Office.
CMS and the MIT Media Lab were awarded $5 million to fund a Center for Future Civic Media where researchers will experiment with new technologies to empower community news. Read the Boston Globe story.
The Education Arcade Project Manager Scot Osterweil's "The Road From Zoombiniville" was the top rated presentation at this year's Serious Games Summit. The Summit was part of the Game Developers Conference held March 5-9 in San Francisco.
Continue reading "Scot Osterweil Gives Highest Rated Presentation at Serious Games Summit" »
Henry Jenkins’s Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide has been awarded the 2007 Katherine Singer Kovacs Book Award by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.
The award selection committee members, Greg Smith (chair), Pam Wojcik, and Daniel Bernardi, reviewed 87 books for this year’s competition. They drafted the following citation for Convergence Culture:
Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide reclaims the new media buzzword ‘convergence’ as a productive but not quite predictable interaction among synergistic corporations, migratory audiences, and multiple technological platforms.
He discusses how this unruly process is redefining public culture through popular culture, and Jenkins's approachable prose reaches out to both media scholars and non-specialized audiences alike. The terms he uses (‘participatory culture,’ ‘collective intelligence,’ ‘affective economics,’ ‘transmedia storytelling’) are already reconfiguring the way we think about the contemporary media environment.
The award will be announced on Thursday evening, March 8 at the SCMS conference in Chicago.
Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture has been nominated as a finalist for the 2006 Edublog Awards for Best Research Paper! The whitepaper is part of a grant by the John and Catherine MacArthur Foundation for use by Project NML (New Media Literacies). The white paper was written by CMS director and NML Primary Investigator Henry Jenkins; Ravi Purushotma, 2006 graduate of MIT Comparative Media Studies; Katherine Clinton, education consultant for NML; Margaret Weigel, Research Manager for NML; and Alice J. Robison, postdoctoral fellow in the Comparative Media Studies program.
Read about the white paper, and the other finalists for the award here.
From GameDaily BIZ:
Late today, David Edery informed us that he will be joining Microsoft's Xbox group. He will fill the role of Worldwide Games Portfolio Planner for Xbox Live Arcade.
David received his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. He then went on to be a consultant in the industry and an affiliate of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program. He has also helped found the Convergence Culture Consortium (C3) at MIT and aided the growth of the CMS program's game design curriculum.
"Xbox Live Arcade is one of the most exciting things happening in the game industry," said an enthusiastic Edery exclusively to GameDaily BIZ. "It offers new opportunities to broaden the gaming market, to try out new gameplay (and business) models, and to entertain people. Suffice to say, I can't wait to join up."
Graduate student Sam Ford (2007) was a member of the panel "The Perils and Promise of Interdisciplinarity" on Friday, April 14, at the National Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Annual Conference in Atlanta.
His presentation, entitled "Break the Walls Down: Trumpeting a Desire to Blur Disciplinary Lines in Academia," was part of a four-member discussion about the current status of interdisciplinary studies in American academic institutions. He was joined by Dr. Ted Hovet, head of the film studies minor and member of the English faculty at Western Kentucky University; Dr. Dale Rigby, writing professor at Western Kentucky University; and Amanda Ford, independent scholar.
The panel members were joined by about 30 audience members who actively participated in the discussion, which turned into a brainstorming session about the place of interdisciplinary studies in the current academic structure. All four panel members and most of the audience members have multiple interests that do not fit clearly into a traditional academic field, making the carving of an academic niche difficult, especially at schools and in programs more tied to a traditional academic structure.
Ford presented MIT's Comparative Media Studies program as a potential alternative, where the department has most of its faculty spread across the university. The discussion included debates about costs of attending graduate school and doctoral programs for students not entirely happy with the structuring of most academic programs; the debate of looking outside academia, where interest in multiple areas may be, in some ways, better received and even celebrated; and a look at the positive moves toward embracing and effectively utilizing interdisciplinary studies. The group also looked at the potential reasons why universities are so invested in guarding against interdisciplinary studies and the misconceptions many people have with blurring or breaking some of the barriers built up between various strands of academia.
Ravi Purushotma ('06) and Dan Roy ('07) flew out to San Jose recently for the Game Developers Conference where they presented their work modding the LucasArts adventure game Grim Fandango to teach Spanish. The original game is an undisputed classic in the industry, and its focus on the Mexican Day of the Dead makes it a good choice for teaching Spanish.
They also showed updates of their Sims 2 project, providing students with a modified version The Sims 2 suited for learning a foreign language.
Purushotma and Roy plan to continue conceptualizing the most effective ways of marrying entertaining technology with the best language learning theory to engage students in a new way around language.
Please bear with us... we're just getting the new version of the CMS Website up and running (which is a major accomplishment in and of itself!), so we're in the process of rounding up announcements, details of past accomplishments, and more historical CMS news items, which will be added into this section as soon as possible.
In the meantime, you can get a better sense of what everyone involved in CMS has been doing by looking at In Medias Res, our official department newsletter.
And, if you know of an accomplishment you think should be mentioned here, please let us know!
The MIT News Office has an article entitled "'BollySpace' melds Indian film traditions with digital media, about an initiative by CMS graduate students Aswin Punathambekar, Zhan Li and Sangita Shresthova.
David Thorburn is among the five professors who have been named as MacVicar Fellows for 2002. (read the article)