I enjoyed the chance to present the Center's interim work of mapping the development of publics around public media projects at the annual ICA conference two weeks in San Francisco.
We highlighted the following conclusions in our look at Global Voices (www.globalvoicesonline.org) an exciting new site of public media:
- Open Internet environments are creating vital new kinds of public media, although conversations seem to be local, or at least regional.
- Such public media need resources from nonprofit and commercial sectors, as well as depending upon the enthusiasm of volunteers as new publics
- Individuals and local communities need aggregators and transnational platforms to be able to act as global/glocal publics.
Afterwards, one of the leading German commununications scholars, Prof. Barbara Pfetsch, discussed with us similarities of our findings with ongoing research about the European political public sphere.
Other side conversations showed that other people at ICA thought that our work was interesting and relevant to them, not only at this conference but also for the future: The Center will sponsor another preconference dedicated to the topic of how to map the emerging global public sphere at the next 2008 ICA convening – and: the formerly international/development division of ICA is considering renaming itself into global communication and social change division. It seems as if we are right in the middle of an exciting new focal point of communications research!