A Snapshot of International Women’s Day in Tokyo and Serbia

By Sruthi, Mika, Dijana, and Maddie

What began as a 15,000-person protest against oppression and inequality in New York in 1908 is now a global event, with thousands of people from around the world  marching, walking out, and demonstrate for women’s rights.

On March 8th, women and men in small towns and large cities participated in International Women’s Day. Despite the shared goal among the protestors, each  community celebrated the event in its own way. Below are snapshots of how International Women’s Day was celebrated, discussed, and, in some cases, questioned.


Typically, there is not much protesting or marching in Japan, as people tend to avoid engaging in public discourse about politics or issues about women, especially in public spaces.

But at 2:30 PM on March 8th in Tokyo, marchers took to the street. The event was organized bythe Women’s March Tokyo Organizing Committee and took place between Aoyama and Shibuya in the center of Tokyo. Though the 300 people who participated did not match the thousands who marched in New York, Dublin, or other large cities, the protesters were passionate and drew attention of the press.

Translation:  “My first ever march!”

Translation: “Thank you! All the rage, concerns, and frustrations which I had experienced in the past… Thanks to everyone, I now realize that I am no longer alone and am energized by all of you. Let’s voice our anger together, and make Japan and the rest of the world a better place!”

Though may news organizations covered the protest, including a livestream from Huffington Post Japan, the national public broadcaster NHK chose not to. Many expressed their frustration with the decision:

Translation: “NHK sucks! They showed marches abroad, no mention about Japan!”


Serbians also held a march for International Women’s Day, with news outlets estimating that as many as 600 people attended, though the Facebook post shows only 45 publicly said they attended:

In Serbia, many popular singers turned to social media to comment on women’s equality:

Jelena Rozga

Natasa Bekvalac

 But not all Serbians agreed with the meaning behind International Women’s Day and the march. For some, gender equality was not an issue worth protesting:

Translation: (comment 1)“What right do we lack??? If I am, as a woman, fed up from these feministic things, I wonder how men feel when they sleep with women with silicones but eat normal food only on Sundays at their mom’s’ house!!!…”

(comment 3) “Foolishness. You can vote, you have jobs, you can chose your careers, what do you want more? Stop bothering people.”

The value of a human life

For this week’s curation assignment, I created mine on Storify, link here: https://storify.com/aileen_h/not-just-us-the-world-is-falling-apart

A quick note on using Storify: Overall, I found Storify to be easy to use as long as I didn’t need anything other than what their tools strictly allowed. But, simple things like including an image were unnecessarily difficult or not supported. Its integration with Twitter also only supported recent tweets, which I had to find a work around to since I was including tweets from over a month back. The URL also couldn’t be manually updated, hence why the URL doesn’t tie with my actual story. I would only recommend Storify for breaking or recent news stories and curation.

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How we tried to build a video tree

Instead of going out there to source YouTube videos and Twitter posts, we decided to create a new tool to source content that helps people better understand others in all parts of the world.

Before online news and social media (yes, there was a ‘before’—weird right?) people stayed updated by reading print copies of local or national newspapers. The newspapers had editors who curated material and aimed to show a diversity of content. Readers would stumble upon whatever news stories were included.

Now, readers are able to seek out news. News websites personalize news for the particular readers. Many readers say they ‘get their news’ through social media sites. Personalization and social media lead to often-discussed ‘echo chambers’ or ‘filter bubbles’, e.g. exposing people to repeated articles carrying political views that align with their own.

Attempts have been made to make people care about global news. News editors often want to include more global news, but need to meet the demands of the readers. They are confronted to very tangible barriers, as simple as the language barrier. Global Voices is a site for citizen media reporting from 167 countries, co-founded by Ethan Zuckerman that aims at overcoming the language obstacle by providing translations.

There’s another problem. We argue that we should pay attention to what is happening elsewhere in the world, and particularly in countries that are socioeconomically and culturally different from our own. We also think that it is only by reaching out to people who are different and by trying to understand conflicting points of view that we will be able to foster a news ecosystem within which people can mutually understand one another. Initiatives to increase communication between people holding different political opinions have recently taken place, for example in the state of Washington. A group from a highly Democrat county simply drove down to the most Republican county of the State to have a face to face conversation with the people who voted exactly opposite of what they did. (https://theevergrey.com/took-10-hour-road-trip-cross-political-divide-heres-happened/)

We believe that these face to face interactions are important to create empathy and a deeper understanding of issues. However, face to face interactions are not always possible, for geographical reasons for example. Or simply because sometimes our circles of friends are people who share similar views and daily experiences. How might we encourage people to reach out to others in a way that encourages asking questions and listening? How might we engage all parties, so that rather than passively reading news about an event at a distant location, people are reaching out to those locations and asking questions?

We propose a new kind of community—one where community members answer any question that someone else has asked previously, and then contribute by asking a new question. Responses are submitted as videos, because, as we just stated, videos are human and induce empathy. Over time, the sequence of videos constitutes a tree, spanning responses from all around the world. This is the tree of global connection.

What might a tree of global connection look like? Well, we went ahead and created a prototype.


Landing page

Submitting a video 


Okay, so taking aside some of the fluff:  We have a thing that lets people submit YouTube links and then displays them on a website.

We had fun making the website (aside: we had quite a laugh when writing “gray” with a green font), but the website now does not communicate the vision that we have articulated in this blog post. These are some steps to improve the website to better meet its purpose:

  1. Certainly:  
    1. Instead of listing the videos one by one in a row, display the videos in a tree graph to show how questions and answers are connected.
    2. Determine a name, slogan, and symbol.
    3. Tag each video, enable browsing by tag, each tag having its own tree graph
    4. Miscellaneous:  Additional effort for users to upload video to YouTube; There’s no verification that users submit YouTube videos that they have personally uploaded; We’re currently using an MIT video for the banner; We’re using a heroku domain
  2. Maybe:  Implement geolocation and a map view, and show the trail of the question-answer “ball” being passed around touching different areas of the world.

Further, while we tried to post a link to the website on Reddit and, we need to gauge interest from a wider audience and engage with people who might potentially use this tool.

In the end, to more properly reconnect our project to the assignment, we think this tool could be used for people to ask questions about world events they cannot witness in person, and that they have trouble understanding. Through these short videos, users could create question chains on all issues going around the world and create a deeper understanding of news events that can tend to be stripped from personality.

The tree layout would enable users to have an overall view on each issue, and to quickly find answers to the questions they are asking themselves and respond to what they feel they can add knowledge to.


— Katrine and Marie.

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Inside Smash Summit – Spring 2017

In a house somewhere in Los Angeles, 16 people took turns fighting each other from March 2 to March 5, 2017.

It was the fourth “Smash Summit,” an invitational video game tournament of the top competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee players.  Although much of the event was livestreamed on Twitch, the event was closed to the general public.  The following is a collection of videos and reactions curated mostly from Twitter to try to capture the feel of the event (and also attempt to figure out what they do when they’re competing on stream).

As warm-up for the real tournament, apparently there’s a practice room packed with top Melee players:

To keep their energy up, the gamers have a stash of Monster energy drinks and string cheese.



Most people play video games for fun.  But what do professional gamers do for fun to relax after a day of competition?

There’s some cornhole:

And every night ends with a game of Mafia:

Back to gameplay, this is what it looks like behind the match as players are on stream.

At the end of the weekend, Swedish player Armada (Adam Lindgren) won 3-1 in the Grand Final to seal his fourth Smash Summit championship for $18,006.80 in winnings.

This stream viewer is going to have to eat some plastic:

Some viewers appeared a little disgruntled with Armada winning all four Smash Summits thus far:

And others seem to accept Armada’s win as part of Summit and congratulated him:

Here’s the Twitter reaction from Hungrybox (Juan Debiedma), who won 2nd place after losing to Armada:


And Armada goes home with this trophy on top of the $18K+:

Feminist activists take on the Kremlin

by Drew and Arthur

On March 8, International Women’s Day, a group of Russian feminist activists protested outside the Kremlin.

Their banner said, “200 years men in power, out with them!”
Ekaterina Nenasheva’s post accompanying the video reads:

“Moscow and St. Petersburg feminists, #CapturedKremlin, congratulate you on March 8
UPD: Tishchenko, Orlova and a photographer from Nova already in the Police Station – China Town
UPD: at 14:20 – released all detainees”

Meanwhile, Putin was congratulating the staff at the new perinatal centre in Bryansk. After all, the history of International Women’s day is rooted in Russia.

The feminists gathered in a prominent location, Alexander Garden, right at the edge of the Kremlin’s walls:

News of the demonstration spread quickly on social media, with over 43k people watching Nenasheva’s video.

Some declared the protesters heroines.

One person wrote on Facebook in Russian: “You are still bathing in a bath with champagne, and your revolutionary friends have already taken the Kremlin.”

Not all coverage of the demonstration was positive, though.

A photo of protesters appearing to have breached the Kremlin walls turned out to be Photoshopped.

The fake photo was quickly denounced, even by the organizers, in a Facebook post that has since been deleted (but was reported on by Buzzfeed).

In that deleted post, Ekaterina Nenasheva says:

“I’m hurting right now for Russian art activism and the feminist collective, because the picture of the Arsenal tower really did turn out to be photoshop. Only a few participants knew about it, and now I know too.
I deeply respect all participants of the protest and don’t want to devalue their actions. All the other photos and videos are real. Thank you, girls!
But I also consider it absolutely unprofessional and unacceptable to have such an approach to work, in any case, the use of photoshop was not part of the original concept.”

Others used it as an opportunity to discuss the much talked about “fake news”.

Fake news. Actual fake news. 😂

Joseph Griffiths 发布于 2017年3月8日

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Incorporating an Interview

This story uses fold to discuss the 2014 Rolling Stones account of sexual assault on the University of Virginia campus. It discusses the long term social impact of the story on the UVA community as well as the effect the story had on a UVA alumna’s perception of media credibility. A Question of Trust

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Taking a pause from his day job to look at the future of data journalism

Photo courtesy of the Nieman Foundation 

After spending much of the past decade reporting on politics and science in his home state of North Carolina, Tyler Dukes became concerned about a glaring gap in the skill sets being taught to the next generation of reporters in journalism schools. As an investigative reporter on the state politics team for the local television station WRAL in Raleigh, Dukes has focused on using data and public records to uncover and tell stories of the problems plaguing mental health care in state prisons and the implementation of protection orders for victims of domestic violence. Yet in his experience teaching at UNC-Chapel Hill’s journalism school and as a researcher at Duke University’s Reporters’ Lab, he saw that data journalism was being addressed in only the most superficial ways, if at all.

“Very few courses are offered,” Dukes said in an interview, speaking of journalism schools across the country, “and when they are, they are far outstripped by courses like how to make pretty graphs and how to do data visualization.  It is not data analysis first. It is not using data as  a source first.  It is not acquiring data through public records and things like that. So it skips this really important step, which is data literacy.”

Hoping to address this problem, Dukes and his wife moved to Cambridge in the fall where Dukes would spend an academic year as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University studying best practices for college journalism programs and newsrooms looking to democratize data-driven reporting for underserved communities. Now more than half way through his fellowship, Dukes acknowledges he is far from discovering a solution to those challenges. Much of the fall semester was spent taking advantage of Harvard’s offerings to address gaps in his own knowledge in areas like statistics, machine learning and artificial intelligence.  These classes, he said, helped to both demystify certain concepts but also offer pedagogical lessons on how to teach things like statistics from a practical, applied perspective to policy makers or journalists who may have limited math backgrounds.

In his remaining months in Cambridge, Dukes plans to continue conversations he began in the fall with students and reporters about how best to move ahead with his idea of creating an extracurricular independent study resource about the various facets of data journalism. He says he envisions some kind of platform, perhaps recorded Google hangouts or Skype calls with experts, that students who do not feel served by their journalism schools could easily access.  While many similar online modules and resources for journalists exist in an ad hoc fashion, he says that dedicated organizations have had difficulties incorporating these models into universities and colleges.

“If we are pretending we are equipping them to be journalists in modern times they have to have basic data literacy,” Dukes said. “And if journalism school aren’t going to do it, someone is going to have to force their hand.”

In the meantime, Dukes and his fellow Niemans are also using their time in Cambridge to reflect on the deeper questions about their role in the journalism ecosystem that have emerged in the politically volatile past few months. He admits he is starting to feel the pull to return back to his newsroom which, despite widespread consternation about the future of local news, is still relatively robust.  While the overall economic climate for journalism is shaky and shifting quickly, Dukes thinks people are too quick to generalize about an industry that is hardly monolithic and varies widely based on platform and location. Though increased coverage and competition from other outlets would be welcome, Dukes has the luxury of returning to a healthy newsroom in a fairly well covered media market that is continuing to aggressively report on post-election dynamics in his absence.

Though he concedes a twinge of regret at not being in the thick of things, he says that “the impact of elections are felt for years…the story is not going away.” And at a moment in which the role of the press in covering politics is being hotly debated, there is a certain “perspective that comes from being forced not to do your job for several months. Hopefully it is going to make our work that much better when we get back.”

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The Next Step: An Exponential Life

This evening, MIT Technology Review hosted a dialogue on the unprecedented technological revolution that we are currently witnessing, debating both the risks and opportunities that lay before us. Making up the panel were:

  • Francisco González, BBVA Group Executive Chairman
  • Dr. Steven M. Lipkin, Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell University
  • Dr. Seán Ó hÉigeartaigh, Centre for the Study of Existential Risk
  • Professor Joseph A. Paradiso, MIT Media Lab
  • Professor Jonathan Rossiter, University of Bristol
  • Jason Pontin, editor and chief and publisher of the MITTR


The guests described how we have found ourselves at the beginning of the 4th Industrial Revolution rooted in both information and economics. They were interested in separating what can be considered pure science fiction from actual risk, with an emphasis on emerging technologies, which have ultimately put humanity at risk. We are changing our climate at a rate that we have not yet seen. We are wiping out species at an unprecedented rate.There have been two dozen near misses involving nuclear technologies.



The nature of technology as a double edged sword was emphasized. It has raised the quality of life, health and education, and a new capacity for happiness globally. The same technology poses an existential risk, however, to humanity.

For example, the biotech intelligence that creates the capacity for bioweapons, will also be the solution to wiping out the next global pandemic. The challenge will be in ensuring that these technologies benefit as many people as possible.hÉigeartaigh and Lipkin cautioned how inequalities will also exacerbate the risks. Whether assessing access to healthcare or affordability of space flight, the economics profoundly change the impact of the historical perspective.



Rosetter asserted that Brexit and Trump’s win are a reflection of a revolt against modernity and a rejection of expertise.

With an entirely white male panel, there was a glaring lack of diversity, particularly given the nature of its content. A conversation on the future narrows drastically with a limited engagement amongst its participants.

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