A trio of recent publications from members of the Dot Connector Studio team reveal the potential of participatory media for social impact:

  • In What’s Outside? Public Media 2014, Dot Connector Studio founder and director Jessica Clark collaborates with AIR Executive Editor Sue Schardt to lay out lessons learned from the ambitious and experimental public media production Localore. Clark served as AIR’s media strategist from mid 2011 through early 2014, and continues to consult with this network of 1000+ media makers. What’s Outside? synthesizes the results of the comprehensive impact strategy and analysis that AIR’s team developed for the initiative, which positioned producers at 10 public media stations around the country to create community-driven transmedia projects. In addition to new and traditional metrics, this report includes insights for makers, stations, and the public media field as a whole.
  • In Refining New Forms of Community Engagement, Dot Connector Studio Research Director Katie Donnelly and Clark explore the potential as well the challenges of the Public Media Corps, an initiative from Black Public Media that linked five public media stations with underserved students across the country to create original student video productions. The initiative also included “flash festivals”—short, intense weekend trainings in which students created short videos from start to finish for a national competition—which provided students the structure and focus they needed to create compelling videos.
  • Clark also shares her thoughts on emergent digital platforms in “Participations: Dialogues on the Participatory Promise of Contemporary Culture and Politics,” a special forum from the International Journal of Communication. Featuring leading media scholars and practitioners, this informal discussion contemplates the nature of participation the current media age. In it, Clark argues that it is difficult to form hard-and-fast boundaries about what constitutes a platform, that offline modes of interaction are still crucial, and that both content and context are important to consider since users are likely dividing their attention among several platforms at a time.