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Constitutional Law

MediaShift Idea Lab MediaShift Idea Lab

Reinventing community news for the Digital Age.
By Knight News Challenge winners

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Last Entry: July 19, 2010 at 14:16:51

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South African Paper Uses Mobile Services to Engage Readers

Posted on July 19, 2010
In Grahamstown, South Africa, getting and sharing news is a mobile experience. Grocott's Mail, a local paper, incorporates mobile phones into many aspects of its news service -- from disseminating headlines via SMS, to encouraging readers to text in their opinions and making it a part of a Knight News Challenge-winning citizen journalist training program...

Councilpedia In Private Pilot, Overcoming Tech Challenges

Posted on July 16, 2010
Over the last several months, Gotham Gazette has made major strides on its Councilpedia project, which will help New Yorkers keep tabs on their local officials and share their knowledge with others. Over the last year, the project has evolved and -- we think -- improved from our original plan...

Help MediaBugs Make News Sites Track, Correct Errors

Posted on July 14, 2010
Imagine you're sitting at the back of a classroom. The lecture is on a fascinating topic -- the American Civil War, say. The professor has started a riveting back-and-forth with students in the front about the Union's initial motivations for fighting...

When It Comes to Corrections, Most News Sites Fail

Posted on July 13, 2010
Because web pages are just computer files, news stories on the web can be altered at will after publication. That makes corrections on the web a little more complex than corrections in print -- but it also makes them potentially much more effective. Unlike in print or broadcast, you can fix the original...

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Ushahidi Racking up Downloads, Available in New Languages

Posted on July 12, 2010
The Ushahidi platform's growing use has been astounding to say the least. The platform has been download almost 4,000 times. On top of that, our mobile applications (including the Android Oil Spill reporter by Henry Addo) have been downloaded more than 3,700 times...

Where Did We Go Right? How to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

Posted on July 09, 2010
Imagine a well-known Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Wanting to repeat his success, he scrutinizes all his articles and discovers they contain the letters "E" and "R" 10 times more frequently than any other letters. In his next article, he focuses on increasing the use of these letters, and then plans on teaching his new-found secret during his journalism seminar next fall...

News Organizations Must Innovate or Die

Posted on July 08, 2010
People in news don't generally think of innovation as their job. It's that old CP Snow thing of the two cultures, where innovation sits on the science not the arts side. I had my own experience of this at the American Society of Newspaper Editors conference in Washington a couple of months ago...

Highlights and Pitfalls of Virtual Street Corners Project

Posted on July 07, 2010
We're just winding down my Knight News Challenge project, Virtual Street Corners, and haven't had time to sort through all the recorded materials and debrief the participants, but I wanted to share some initial thoughts and reactions. The most encouraging takeaway from the project was the enthusiastic response it received...

Great Citizen Media Projects That Use Radio, Audio and Mobile

Posted on July 06, 2010
Over at the Mobile Media Toolkit, we recently have been looking at voice- and radio-based citizen media projects that incorporate mobile phones. In an Idea Lab post last fall, I collected a series of examples that primarily used the voice functionality of mobile phones; however, this new set of projects integrate voice and radio with data-based services like SMS and web...

VIDI Toolkit Makes Data Visualization Easy

Posted on July 02, 2010
You will love our powerful, intuitive Knight-funded data visualization toolkit: VIDI. Go to the website and try it out! The site includes Drupal modules and a playground where you can work with pre-loaded data or upload your own data and generate embed code to place the visualizations you create on your blogs or websites...

Serving as Media Innovator in Residence at University of Nebraska

Posted on June 30, 2010
Education content on MediaShift is sponsored by Carnegie-Knight News21, an alliance of 12 journalism schools in which top students tell complex stories in inventive ways. See tips for spurring innovation and digital learning at Learn.News21.com. Flying over Lincoln, Nebraska, aboard a Delta jet, I peered down at the gently rolling meadows, farmlands and the statue on the peak of the high-rise state capitol, which is situated the heart of this cute town...

Crafting a Simple Elevator Pitch for the Public and Investors

Posted on June 28, 2010
A Knight Foundation grant is a wonderful gift, but in our case at CityCircles (and for many projects), the grant only lasts for one year. Because most of that year may be spent on programming, this gives winners very little time to craft a pitch. By "pitch" I mean: How do you explain this to your audience in 10 seconds or less (i...

Gathering Examples of Collaboration in Investigative Reporting

Posted on June 23, 2010
I recently attended the Investigative Reporters and Editors 2010 conference and ended up talking with Astrid Gynnild, a post doctoral research associate in the Department of Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen in Norway. She's researching collaborations in investigative journalism...

Newsroom Collaborations: The New Culture of Sharing vs. Competing

Posted on June 22, 2010
At last week's Future Civic Media conference at MIT there was a barcamp session on "collaborations in the newsroom" led by Josh Stearns from Save The News. (See his excellent list of journalism collaborations.) In many ways, this was a continuation of a conversation in San Francisco where Josh took fantastic notes...

FeedBrewer Pays It Forward to Knight Media Innovation Fund

Posted on June 21, 2010
Last week at MIT's annual Future of News and Civic Media conference, I stood on the stage with Knight Foundation CEO Alberto IbargŁen and made an announcement. FeedBrewer Inc., a new company I co-founded with two other Printcasting team members, is donating 6 percent of its corporate stock to a brand new Knight Media Innovation Fund...

SochiReporter Helps Transform Sochi in Preparation for Olympics

Posted on May 27, 2010
I recently spoke with a friend of mine here in Sochi, Russia. She is a specialist in modernizing the technological infrastructure of sanatoriums, which were the places where lucky Soviet working class heroes would be sent to rest and relax. (Think of them as health spas...

South African Paper's Mobile Site Focuses on 'Nowness'

Posted on May 24, 2010
There are no magic wands in the digital transition. Everything has to be built slowly and surely, as with legacy media. And failure is as likely, maybe even more likely, than in the analog world. But you have to keep trying because cell phones, the first true mass digital channel in Africa, are getting faster and smarter; if you don't exploit the power of the new channel, you're toast because others will and are...

The (Unrealized) Potential of Mobile Phones in Citizen Media

Posted on May 21, 2010
I had the pleasure of attending the Global Voices Citizen Media Summit in Santiago, Chile earlier this month. The summit brought together bloggers, activists, and thinkers working to advance citizen media all around the world. While the discussions that took place were informative, most presentations and panels fell short in recognizing the role mobile phones have played and exploring the potential mobile phones can play in citizen media...

Balloon Mapping the Oil Spill Proves Responsive, Open Source

Posted on May 19, 2010
In a recent Idea Lab post from the Center for Future Civic Media, Jeff Warren wrote about using inexpensive balloons and cheap cameras to make pseudo-satellite imagery of a given area. He had been using it to help people in poor areas establish title to their land (Google Maps satellites don't map poor areas as fast as these areas actually grow)...

Virtual Street Corners Adds Journalists, Places Ads for Launch

Posted on May 18, 2010
We are just two weeks out from the install date of Virtual Street Corners and our publicity campaign is gaining momentum. The project will connect two neighborhoods in Boston via live video connection in public places. We've been picked up a lot on the blogosphere, on CBC radio in Canada, and The Atlantic magazine came out today with a feature that put Virtual Street Corners on the front page of its website...

Meet 'India Unheard' Producer Zulekha Sayyed

Posted on May 17, 2010
As Video Volunteers' second program, India Unheard is gathering steam, with some wonderful stories by our new community correspondents, we can't help but think about all the wonderful and dedicated community producers we have worked with in the past - and are still working with...

MediaBugs Helps Correct Errors Ignored in Comments

Posted on May 13, 2010
Our public beta of MediaBugs.org has been open for about three weeks now. We're still tinkering with our interface, coping with problems at our Internet service provider, and working on plans to increase participation. But we've already got some fascinating results from our experiment...

DIY Mappers Offer Remarkable Images of Gulf Coast Oil Spill

Posted on May 12, 2010
Last week, as the mainstream press reported on the worsening environmental and economic crisis that is the British Petroleum spill in the Gulf Coast, I and a small group of DIY mappers flew down to New Orleans to coordinate a grassroots, citizen effort to map the spill...

Ushahidi-Based Voice of Kibera Aims to Map Kenyan Slum

Posted on May 05, 2010
Melissa Tully is a PhD student at UW-Madison who is researching the use of social/new media in social justice work in Kenya. She has been volunteering with Ushahidi for the past two and a half years. In this post, she highlights a workshop that she organized in Kibera...

Freedom Fone Answers Questions on Zimbabwe Constitution

Posted on May 04, 2010
Two weeks ago the latest version of Freedom Fone, affectionately known to his handlers as "Fred," was set loose. Inspired by the cockney rhyming slang "dog and bone" (meaning phone), the Freedom Fone dog logo and quirky character of Fred was born a few years ago...

Programming Language for Kids Banned from Apple App Store

Posted on May 03, 2010
The MIT News Office recently interviewed one of our colleagues at the MIT Center for Future Civic Media, Mitch Resnick. Resnick is a long-time Media Lab professor best known for helping develop and deploy Scratch, a programming language for kids. But this month Apple rejected an app that would allow kids to view Scratch programs on iPhones and iPads...

In Need of a DocumentCloud for Video, Data

Posted on April 30, 2010
Brainstorming the next brilliant News Challenge project? I've got two for you, and you've got until fall to noodle over them. As the program director for DocumentCloud I spend a lot of time talking to journalists, writers and researchers about what DocumentCloud is and, often, what it isn't...

How 'This American Life' Attracted Donors with Mobile Giving

Posted on April 29, 2010
Those of us at MobileActive have written before about mobile giving during disasters, and the dramatic results these campaigns can have. But mobile giving can also be used for non disaster-related fundraising drives, and the popular public radio show "This American Life" is one of the latest organizations to embrace this trend...

Volcano Disrupts Plans, But SochiReporter Soldiers On

Posted on April 28, 2010
The eruption of a volcano in Iceland affected the travel plans of thousands, and inspired an outpouring of Iceland- and ash-themed jokes ("Dear Iceland, we want your cash, not your ash. Thanks, Europe") -- almost enough to fill a separate post. But I wasn't laughing about the fact that there was no way -- except for a 38-hour train expedition -- to get to London this week to attend a lecture by Andy Miah, a well known Olympics scholar and professor of the University of the West of Scotland...

Community Journalists to Push Neglected Rural Stories in India

Posted on April 26, 2010
A big question that we deal with when thinking about the future of locally produced media is how will it ever become financially sustainable? As of right now, Video Volunteers has been supporting local media units in India and Brazil whose basic job is to make video stories about their local issues and then screen them locally -- so locally that most videos are seen in between 25 and 50 neighboring villages...

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