The Chicago Challenge!

July 19. Hey Chicago, let’s get civic media going before the lurkers accessing us fromclout city Palo Alto and Seattle try to run off with the idea! (On 2nd thought, let ’em. Civic media is public domain in the first place. Like a good folksong, it belongs to everyone. But no one does it as well as us.) The Chicago Civic Media Project (CCMP) is looking for a few good people to help launch a Chicago-based online/onair/inprint CIVIC MEDIA site:

  • A WEBSITE DESIGNER with technical site promotion skills (to social networks, RSS feeds, other sites). The artist who designed yr site would be great, but need a designer who has time also to be a promoter, audience expander.
  • A MARKETER to interact online, by phone & in person with all kinds of local people, businesses and groups (schools, universities, political groups right center and left) to build audience, generate contestant participation, link up with other media and attract advertisers. (I have developed strategies for all four tasks).

This is a ground-floor opportunity for talented individuals who share three core convictions:

  • THE FUTURE OF DEMOCRACY Essential to the future of American democracy is the judicious use of modern interactive communications technologies to give ordinary citizens an informed voice in the political decisions that affect their lives and to make citizens and government responsive and accountable to each other at local, state and national levels .
  • THE INEVITABILITY OF CIVIC MEDIA. American politics is today in the very early stages of being transformed and reinvented by the same massive demand for interactive media experiences that has fueled the growth of all modern communications technologies and that has already transformed American business, culture and personal life.
  • THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTESTS: INFORMATION ACTED ON, NOT MERELY ABSORBED. The interactive politically-themed media experiences that most successfully engage the largest – that engage the largest segment of the Market of the Whole of all members of a community – will be those that most most productively replicate the great game of voter-driven democracy.   Voter-driven reality TV is in many ways a viable model for politically themed interactive media experiences.

CCMP proposes to launch a non-partisan, citizen-participatory CIVIC MEDIA here in ART - Chicago city sealChicago as soon as early 2010. Designed initially to engage several dozen contestants and several thousand viewers and voters in the great game of democracy, this interactive media will grow by stages until it ultimately engages hundreds of contestant teams and serves all 2.5 million Chicagoans. By definition, CIVIC MEDIA is a large-audience decision making process that helps distribute the making of government decisions throughout a community of any size. In a political context, for instance, a nonpartisan, issue-centered, outcome-directed CIVIC MEDIA gives citizens and governments at local, state, national and international levels the interactive platforms they need in order to complete two tasks: define and solve problems and maximize growth opportunities.

Volunteers are welcome. For those seeking compensation: for proven co-workers, I will offer a percentage of ownership of the local Chicago site and, as relationships develop, in the nationwide civic media project.

My name is Steve Sewall. I’ve developed and implemented civic media prototypes here in Chicago over the past 20 years. I am a career educator, businessman and media entrepreneur. I hold degrees in English from Harvard (A.B. ’64), Yale (M.A.T. ’66) and the University of California at Berkeley (Ph.D., 1991).

Email Steve Sewall

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