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Elon student team travels to Washington to document major tech policy event - IGF-USA 2016

The documentary journalism project is part of the activities of the School of Communications' Imagining the Internet Center.

A journalism team including Elon University students, faculty and staff covered the Internet Governance Forum-USA in Washington, D.C., for the School of Communications’ Imagining the Internet Center.

A 21-member journalism team including Elon University students, faculty and staff provided documentary coverage of 14 major technology policy events July 14 at the Internet Governance Forum-USA in Washington, D.C., for the School of Communications’ Imagining the Internet Center.

Among the stories covered exclusively by Elon’s journalism team was a formal public statement by the United States National Telecommunications and Information Administration about its final approval ICANN’s transition plan for fully taking over the operations of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. The NTIA and U.S. Department of Commerce have, up to this point, maintained oversight of IANA. The transition would remove any government involvement by any nation-state over the Internet root zone, number resources and other important functions. An IGF-USA session immediately after the NTIA announcement became heated as those who oppose the transition made their case. It is opposed by several members of the U.S. Congress and many conservative organizations but supported by most U.S. and global Internet governance organizations.

Reporting of this event and more than a dozen others was published minute-by-minute throughout the day on the Imagining the Internet website, Twitter and Flickr and it will become part of the ongoing documentation of the evolution of communications by Imagining the Internet. Find the team's coverage online via these sources:

IGF-USA is an annual gathering of members of civil society, business, government, academia and the technology sector who meet to discuss key issues, share concerns and best practices and cultivate constructive relationships that can lead to a better future. Discussions there are carried over to the Global Internet Governance Forum, where people come together to share hopes and concerns and work toward global Internet connectivity.

Maya Eaglin  documents  the Opening Plenary during IGF-USA in Washington, D.C., on July 14, 2016.

The Elon team’s coverage will also become part of the official documentation of the event that is reported to the United Nations Secretariat for the Global Internet Governance Forum.

Colin Donohue, Bryan Baker and Janna Anderson of the School of Communications staff and faculty supervised the written and visual reporting conducted by the following 18 undergraduate students at the events: Bryan Anderson, Elizabeth Bilka, Ashley Bohle, Courtney Campbell, Melissa Douglas, Mackenzie Dunn, Maya Eaglin, Christina Elias, Rachel Ellis, Caroline Hartshorn, Paul LeBlanc, Emmanuel Morgan, Joey Nappa, Diego Pineda Davila, Alyssa Potter, Kailey Tracy, Andrew Steinitz and Anna Zwingelberg.

Anderson, a professor in the School of Communications, is a founding member of the IGF-USA Steering Group, and helped plan the conference.

Among the other 2016 IGF-USA events were discussions of: emerging issues tied to the ongoing evolution and impact of the Internet of Things and Big Data; enhancing Internet connectivity and bringing the next billion online; broadband competition as a lever toward progress; privacy and security online; countering violent extremism while promoting human rights online; expanding digital literacy; and a discussion of trade policy strengths, weaknesses and potential reforms.

Among the featured speakers at IGF-USA 2016 were the following:

  • Internet Hall of Famer David Farber, distinguished professor at Carnegie Mellon
  • Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda and Undersecretary Cathy Novelli of the U.S. State Department
  • Kevin Martin, former FCC chair now vice president for mobile and global access policy for Facebook
  • Robert Pepper, Aspen Fellow and former vice president for global technology policy for Cisco
  • Blair Levin, the Brookings Institution
  • Jeff Blum, vice president with DISH Network
  • Madura Wijewardena, director global public policy for Comcast
  • Nonabah Lane of Indigenous Communities
  • Namema Amendi, policy fellow with Microsoft
  • Courtney Radsch of the Committee to Protect Journalists
  • Doug Palmer, senior trade reporter for Politico
  • Burcu Kilic, legal and policy director for Public Citizen
  • Kate Gage, Office of Science and Technology Policy, The White House
  • Nitin Rao, TED Fellow and strategist at CloudFlare
  • Larry Strickling, administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration
  • Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center
  • Carolina Rossini, a vice president with Public Knowledge
  • Alan Davidson, director of digital economy at the U.S. Commerce Department
  • Jeff Brueggeman, vice president for public policy at AT&T
  • Michelle De Mooy of the Privacy and Data Project of the Center for Democracy & Technology
  • Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Internet, Technology and Science Project, a member of Elon’s School of Communications National Advisory Board.
Dan Anderson,
7/15/2016 8:15 AM