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May 15 2013

10:57

4 Lessons for Journalism Students from the Digital Edge

This past semester, I flew a drone. I helped set up a virtual reality environment. And I helped print a cup out of thin air.

Nice work if you can get it.

Working as a research assistant to Dan Pacheco at the Peter A. Horvitz Endowed Chair for Journalism Innovation at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, I helped run the Digital Edge Journalism Series in the spring semester. We held a series of four programs that highlighted the cutting edge of journalism technology. Pacheco ran a session about drones in media; we had Dan Schultz from the MIT Media Lab talk about hacking journalism; we hosted Nonny de la Peña and her immersive journalism experience, and we had a 3D printer in our office, on loan from the Syracuse University ITS department, showing what can be made.

For someone who spent 10 years in traditional media as a newspaper reporter, it was an eye-opening semester. Here are some of the lessons I learned after spending a semester on the digital edge. Maybe they can be useful for you as you navigate the new media waters.

1. The future is here

During our 3D printer session, as we watched a small globe and base print from almost out of thin air, I turned to Pacheco and said, "This is the Jetsons. We're living the Jetsons."

photo.JPG

This stuff is all real. It sounds obvious to say, but in a way, it's an important thing to remember. Drones, virtual reality, 3D printing all sound like stuff straight out of science fiction. But they're here. And they're being used. More saliently, the barrier to entry of these technologies is not as low as you'd think. You can fly a drone using an iPad. The coding used to create real-time fact-checking programs is accessible. 3D printers are becoming cheaper and more commercially available. And while creating a full-room 3D immersive experience still takes a whole lot of time, money and know-how (we spent the better part of two days putting the experience together, during which I added "using a glowing wand to calibrate a $100,000 PhaseSpace Motion Capture system, then guided students through an immersive 3D documentary experience" to my skill set), you can create your own 3D world using Unity 3D software, which has a free version.

The most important thing I learned is to get into the mindset that the future is here. The tools are here, they're accessible, they can be easy and fun to learn. Instead of thinking of the future as something out there that's going to happen to you, our seminar series showed me that the future is happening right now, and it's something that we can create ourselves.

2. Get it first, ask questions later

One of the first questions we'd always get, whether it was from students, professors or professionals, was: "This is neat, but what application does it have for journalism?" It's a natural question to ask of a new technology, and one that sparked a lot of good discussions. What would a news organization use a drone for? What would a journalist do with the coding capabilities Schultz showed us? What kind of stories could be told in an immersive, virtual-reality environment? What journalistic use can a 3D printer have?

These are great questions. But questions become problems when they are used as impediments to change. The notion that a technology is only useful if there's a fully formed and tested journalistic use already in place for it is misguided. The smart strategy moving forward may be to get the new technologies and see what you can use them for. You won't know how you can use a drone in news coverage until you have one. You won't know how a 3D printer can be used in news coverage until you try it out.

There are potential uses. I worked in Binghamton, N.Y, for several years, and the city had several devastating floods. Instead of paying for an expensive helicopter to take overhead photos of the damage, maybe a drone could have been used more inexpensively and effectively (and locally). Maybe a newsroom could use a 3D printer to build models of buildings and landmarks that could be used in online videos. So when news breaks at, say, the local high school, instead of a 2D drawing, a 3D model could be used to walk the audience through the story. One student suggested that 3D printers could be made for storyboards for entertainment media. Another suggested advertising uses, particularly at trade shows. The possibilities aren't endless, but they sure feel like it.

Like I said above, these things are already here. Media organizations can either wait to figure it out (which hasn't exactly worked out for them so far in the digital age) or they can start now. Journalism organizations have never been hubs for research and development. Maybe this is a good time to start.

3. Real questions, real issues

This new technology is exciting, and empowering. But these technologies also raise some real, serious questions that call for real, serious discussion. The use of drones is something that sounds scary to people, and understandably so. (This is why the phrase "unmanned aerial vehicle" (UAV) is being used more often. It may not be elegant, but it does avoid some of the negative connotation the word "drone" has.) It's not just the paparazzi question. With a drone, where's the line between private and public life? How invasive will the drones be? And there is something undeniably unsettling about seeing an unmanned flying object hovering near you. 3D printers raise concerns, especially now that the first 3D printed guns have been made and fired.

To ignore these questions would be to put our heads in the sand, to ignore the real-world concerns. There aren't easy answers. They're going to require an honest dialogue among users, media organizations, and the academy.

4. Reporting still rules

Technology may get the headlines. But the technology is worthless without what the old-school journalists call shoe-leather reporting. At the heart of all these projects and all these technologies is the same kind of reporting that has been at the heart of journalism for decades.

Drones can provide video we can't get anywhere else, but the pictures are meaningless without context. The heart of "hacking journalism" is truth telling, going past the spin and delivering real-time facts to our audience. An immersive journalism experience is pointless if the story, the details, and the message aren't meticulously reported. Without a deeper purpose to inform the public, a 3D printer is just a cool gadget.

It's the marriage of the two -- of old-school reporting and new-school technology -- that makes the digital edge such a powerful place to be.

newhouse.jpgBrian Moritz is a Ph.D. student at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and co-editor of the Journovation Journal. A former award-winning sports reporter in Binghamton, N.Y. and Olean, N.Y., his research focuses on the evolution of journalists' routines. His writing has appeared on the Huffington Post and in the Boston Globe, Boston Herald and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He has a masters' degree from Syracuse University and a bachelor's degree from St. Bonaventure.

April 24 2012

14:00

Knight-Mozilla OpenNews Sponsors Dual Journalism Hack Days

There's no better example of the global scale of the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews project than the dualing hack days we recently sponsored in New York City and Buenos Aires.

In New York, we gave money for travel scholarships to bring top-notch developers to town to take part in the Wall Street Journal's Data Transparency Weekend, which brought more than 100 developers and privacy experts to town to create tools to help people see and control their personal data online. The "hackathon" grew out of the Wall Street Journal's excellent ongoing series that looks at how your online footprint is being used by corporations.

The three-day event (documented extensively here, here, and here) resulted in code for almost 30 different projects with winners in "Scanning," "Education," and "Control" tracks.

hacks.jpeg

Five-thousand miles to the south, we sponsored the Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires ShowTimeLine Hackathon, which brought 45 developers together to work on making new timeline-based visualization tools. The OpenNews sponsorship went to hosting the hack day, as well as a small amount of seed money to keep projects going afterward.

The team of developers and journalists in Buenos Aires took a series of different approaches to displaying data over time, from automatic data-and-date extraction from documents, to translating pre-existing timeline libraries into Spanish, and more.

These are exactly the kind of topic-driven code-based events that we're looking to help sponsor at OpenNews. If you've got an idea brewing for a journalism hack day, we'd love to hear about it. Let's work together to make this year the year of journalism code.

A version of this post first appeared here.

January 17 2012

17:05

Daily Must Reads, Jan. 17, 2012

The best stories across the web on media and technology, curated by Lily Leung.


1. If Twitter is anti-SOPA, should it blackout like Wikipedia? (gov20.govfresh)

2. Phone hacking possible at Daily Mirror during Piers Morgan's tenure (Huffington Post)

3. Beta testing part of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's web makeover (Poynter)

4. Will original, web-only shows win over TV viewers? (ReadWriteWeb)


Subscribe to our daily Must Reads email newsletter and get the links in your in-box every weekday!



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December 10 2011

22:03

Russian protesters get Twitter-bombed

Discovery News :: As the protests in Russia demanding new parliamentary elections mount, Twitter-based chatter about them is being drowned out by PCs hijacked by hackers, say security experts. The pro-government messages were generated by thousands of Twitter accounts that had little activity beforehand. The hashtag is #триумфальная (Triumfalnaya), the name of the square where many protesters gathered.

Continue to read Jesse Emspak, news.discovery.com

October 05 2011

12:05

3 Key Reflections From Knight-Mozilla's Hacktoberfest in Berlin

Last week, the Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership invited 20 developers, designers, and journalists to take part in a week of hacking and making in Berlin. I forget at what point in the planning one of the participants jokingly called it "Hacktoberfest," but the name stuck. And so now that the jet lag has worn off for the most part, I thought I'd reflect on three of my standout moments of Hacktoberfest and how they're influencing my thinking moving forward on the Knight-Mozilla project.

Working in the open

Sitting in a meeting with our news partners, I got to witness a great moment. At the start of that meeting, a discussion cropped up around the Partnership's core belief that code produced by Knight-Mozilla fellows should be open-sourced. There was hesitation on the part of some partners, worried that open-source code would reveal too much. An hour or so later, there was a discussion about possible collaborations among partners' newsrooms, but it wasn't making much headway, as collaboration with possible competitors is not the normal order of business.

But then it dawned on everyone: Open source made that a non-issue. By working in the open, fellows won't simply be producing things for their host organizations, but for any news organization that wants to use the code. You could see people linking back to the earlier conversation about open source and realizing that it meant far more than just code -- it meant a new way of working, of embracing collaboration, and of blazing a real way forward.

Quit yakking and start hacking

Sitting in the back of our main hackspace at Betahaus, watching team after team get up and present their work, it dawned on me how awesome it was to spend four days seeing people with disparate skill sets truly collaborate around building something.

Too often we orient getting people together around having a drink or listening to a speaker. "Quit yakking and start hacking" was the order of the day, and it worked. Multiple projects went from just an idea to a functioning demo in a matter of days. It's gratifying to me that there is a GitHub repo full of code from the week. Even more so that it was built through open collaboration among so many different types of people.

hacktoberfest.jpg

A new community

After dinner one evening, we took both the Hacktoberfest participants and representatives from our news partners to Cbase, a storied (and slightly ramshackle) hacker space in Berlin. Standing at the bar next to a guy with a huge beard and a leather kilt, I looked out over the main room and was genuinely moved as I watched many from our group moving a table strewn with their laptops over to join in with a table full of German hackers. My eyes adjusted to the blacklight, and I saw hackers, journalists, developers and news partners all sitting around together, socializing and drinking and making. It was awesome -- a real lasting image of a new community built in Berlin.

So what does all this mean for the Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership moving forward? Well, in the short term, Hacktoberfest was the last step in a lengthy process to arrive at our 2011 fellows -- expect an announcement in a few weeks. But longer term, I think there are some real lessons to be learned from the event in Berlin, and some real ways those lessons will help to shape the Partnership in 2012:

  • I think the news partners really enjoyed feeling a part of the process, of meeting people and being engaged in the ideas being bandied about. Definitely getting the news partners to be partners throughout the year, instead of simply hosts for fellows at the end is a key step.
  • Additionally great: More opportunities to make code. The paths blazed by the Partnership in 2011 centered around design challenges and learning labs, which I think were both successful and should be replicated, but there wasn't anywhere near enough hacking going on, so more code in 2012 I think is a great goal.
  • Finally, building community is important. It's easy to get focused on process and look inwardly for community, but figuring out ways to intersect with the community around news innovation and making, as well as with the many other developer, design and open gov communities and others that very much intersect with journalism, is crucial.

Three moments, three lessons learned. Let's hear it for a successful Hacktoberfest!

A version of this story first appeared here.

July 11 2011

13:19

Readers are our regulators

Here’s a post I put up on the Guardian’s Comment is Free (comment there).

Please resist the temptation to impose government regulation on journalism in the aftermath of phone-hacking. Oh, I know, it would be sweet justice for Murdoch pere et fils to be the cause of expanding government authority. But danger lies there. Regulation requires teeth and teeth carry power.

Let me begin by posing four questions:

What activities are to be regulated? Activities that are already criminal, like News Corp.’s, should be prosecuted as crimes. Then does speech itself become the target? In the United States, we grapple with this question in the one exception to our First Amendment, which is about to be tested in the Supreme Court. That loophole to the Bill of Rights gives the Federal Communications Commission authority to regulate and fine mere words on TV and radio. I have argued in the pages of the Guardian that “bullshit” is political speech but we are forbidden to speak it on our air — even about this regulation itself — under threat of a regulator’s chill and penalty. What we need today is more speech, not less.

What should a regulator do in the case of violations? Fine the offender into submission? Close the publication? Does that not give your government the same weapon used by dictators elsewhere against journalists? Doesn’t this return the UK to a regime of licensing the press? Remember that he who grants licenses may also not grant them or revoke them.

Who is the proper regulator? Clearly, it is not the industry. The Press Complaints Commission has proven to be nothing more than a diaphanous gown for the devil. But government? Is government the proper body to supervise the press, to set and oversee its standards? How could it be? The watched become the watchers’ watchers. Certainly government has shown itself to be incompetent and mightily conflicted in this case, as alleged overseers of the crimes at hand end up in high places and the police themselves are reported to be beneficiaries of corruption.

Finally, who is to be regulated? In other words, who is the press? That’s the key question raised here. Alan Rusbridger posed it in his forceful soliloquy on this amazing week: Is Huffington Post the press? Guido Fawkes? By extension, is any blogging citizen? Any YouTube commentator or Twitter witness-cum-reporter? Yes, we wrangle with this same question in the United States, but in the context of who should receive the rights and protections of the press — namely, shield laws — rather than who should be under the thumb of a government agency.

The goal must not be to further solidify the hegemony of the media-government complex but instead to bust it open. We have the tools at hand to do that: journalists, the public they serve, and their new tool of publicness, the internet.

As Rusbridger also said in that video, this was a week marked by the worst of journalism and the best of journalism. Reporting is wot did the bastards in. Nick Davies is the Woodward and Bernstein of the age though it’s a pity that his Nixon built his nearly absolute power — and nearly inevitable corruption — in our profession. The first and most important protection we will have against the likes of him is a business model for the Guardian to sustain Davies and support future generations like him. The second most important thing the Guardian can do is set an example for other journalists.

I was talking with Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist, just yesterday about his cause and favorite obsession: fact-checking. There are scattered organizations that endeavor to check politicians’ and journalists mistakes and lies. But no organization can do it all. How do we scale fact-checking? My thought is that we should see every news organization place a box next to all its reports inviting fact-checking: readers flagging dubious assertions and journalists and readers picking up the challenge to investigate. The Washington Post and the Torrington (Connecticut) Register Citizen have them.

That small addition raises the standards and expectations for journalists’ work and, more importantly, opens the process of journalism to the public, inviting them to act as both watchers and collaborators.

I also think we must increase our diligence to all but eliminate the scourge of the anonymous source. Note that I left an opening for whistleblowers and victims and the too-rare true investigators like Davies. But if we had as an expectation that the News of the World should have told us where and how it learned what it learned about its 4,000 victims, it would have been less able to perpetrate its crimes of hacking and bribery.

The Guardian is making openness its hallmark and this is what it must mean: Rather than closing down journalism to some legislative definition of who may practice the craft, we must open its functions to all. Rather than enabling government and media to become even more entwined, we must explode their bonds and open up the business of both for all to see. Regulators, bureaucrats, politicians, and titans of a dying industry are not the ones to do that.

In researching my next book, Public Parts, I dared to read Jürgen Habermas and his theory of the public sphere. Habermas says the public sphere first emerged as a counterweight to the power of government in the rational, critical debate of the coffeehouses and salons of the 18th century. But almost as soon as this public sphere formed, Habermas laments, it was corrupted and overtaken by mass media. Now, at last, is our opportunity to reverse that flow and to recapture our public sphere.

There’s where this tale’s sweet irony lies: It’s Murdoch & Co. who set the charges to blow apart the very institutional power and cozy relationships they built.

February 10 2011

18:45

Sorry, hackers! Google now offers layered account security

Attention, journalists who keep your lives inside your smartphones: Starting today, Google Account users with mobile devices have the option of adding an extra layer of security to the Google sign-in process. Google has added a second verification step — the kind you might see, for example, with online banking and other sites that facilitate sensitive web transactions — to access Gmail, Google Docs, and other Google services. (It’s an expansion of the two-factor authentication system Google rolled out to its Google Apps users back in September.) 

Two-step verification requires you to provide two separate passwords, rather than just the one, before you can access your account: your self-generated password, plus a Google-generated code that’s obtained using your phone. The idea is to tie information security to a physical, mobile device — so that, even if your account gets hacked, your info will stay secure.

Particularly for Google account-using journalists, who trade in sensitive information even more than your average user, investing in the extra security layer could prove especially important. Journos, here and abroad, don’t just have their own info to protect; they have their sources’. As Sean Carlson, Google’s manager of news industry relations, told me in an email: “We hope this feature helps journalists better protect their private information.”

For those of you who still use passwords like, you know, “password” — or who, more likely, reuse the same password across various accounts (or who, for that matter, have commented on Gawker) — the extra security option could be invaluable. As Google engineer Matt Cutts put it in a tweet this afternoon: “*Everyone* should do this.”

December 13 2010

11:21

Google hides mathematical puzzle in Cr-48 video, rewards its solver with a laptop

Watching Google destroy Cr-48 laptops for fun can't have been easy for any of you, but it turns out that the wily geeks of Mountain View had a clandestine purpose to their malevolence after all. An equation, scribbled out in old school chalk in the background of one scene, attracted the attention of a Sylvain Zimmer, who, together with a group of like-minded geeks, set about trying to solve it and discover its meaning. A full day's worth of cryptographic work later, Sylvain was left with a set of numbers he was able to convert into letters, which in turned spelled out "speed and destroy." Appending goo.gl, Google's URL shortener, to the front of those words got him to a screen congratulating him for being "first to figure out our MENSA-certified puzzle" and promising to send him a Cr-48 laptop as his prize. Kudos to Sylvain... and to Google for being such irrepressible geeks.

Continue reading Google hides mathematical puzzle in Cr-48 video, rewards its solver with a laptop

Google hides mathematical puzzle in Cr-48 video, rewards its solver with a laptop originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 13 Dec 2010 07:21:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Geek.com  |  sourceSylvain Zimmer  | Email this | Comments

October 07 2010

13:54

Can hacks and hackers work together? A new ‘living experiment’ looks to find out

Can hacks and hackers work together in the new online news world? This is the question posed by Open Journalism And The Open Web, a free online course being run by the online educational community site p2pu.org in conjunction with Hacks/Hackers, the Mozilla Foundation, the Medill School Of Journalism and the Media Consortium.

The course’s aim is to bring developers, journalists and those relatively uncommon people with a foot in both camps together to answer that question.

As I posted here back in May, I was involved in the early Ruby In The Pub meetings, which have now evolved into the UK arm of Hacks/Hackers. The last meeting attracted over 50 people with talks from a representative of Google as well as hacks and hackers from The Times. It’s a testament to the power of collaboration and the seeking spirit of those that find themselves in this digital space. So when I discovered this experimental course I jumped at the chance to apply, and to my delight was accepted along with forty other people.

Like many such initiatives the course is being run freestyle, with input from attendees welcomed and collaboration positively encouraged. There’s even homework. The course is now in it’s third week and so far the lectures have been excellent – lecture 2 included a talk from Burt Herman, co-creator of Hacks/Hackers and the man behind storify.com. We’ve also had a lecture from Rob Puride, agile development experty of the Economist and subjects and questions that have come up so far have involved the nature of collaboration, how to break down technical projects into smaller components and story analysis. The discourse has been vibrant and engaging and I’m sure interesting projects will emerge.

More importantly, this is a living experiment, an embodiment of the questions posed by Hacks/Hackers and their ilk in a more structured format. When the six-week time capsule comes to an end, I’m sure I will have learned a lot about journalism and journalists, the problems they face and their perception of data and information systems. I hope they will feel the same about developers.

Interestingly, the first barrier we came up against was, not surprisingly, language. This hit home with the more technical assignments and discussions, where a lot of us hackers went straight into jargon mode. We require a compressed and succint language as our job is fast-paced and we need to communicate quickly. It serves as shorthand. But, like developers who spend a lot of time talking to the non-technical side of their business, we soon realised that we had some hacks amongst us too and needed to dilute the language a little in order to bridge the gap and freely explore our common interests and problems.

So far that commonality – engagement and curiousity, the desire to stay one step ahead in fast-changing digital arena, a passion for information – seem to be outweighing the differences. Three weeks to go. I’ll try and drop a post once a week with an update on what’s happening and hopefully will be able to interview the P2PU guys at the end. It’s an exciting time to be a hack and a hacker.Similar Posts:



July 16 2010

17:20

Media Consortium Pushes Collaboration to Increase Innovation

Once a week, representatives from liberal publications such as AlterNet, Yes! Magazine, the American Independent News Network, the UpTake, and Ms. Magazine convene to discuss mobile strategies. The call, organized by the Media Consortium, is part of an Incubation and Innovation Lab designed to help members collectively tackle the new realities of journalism -- a landscape where traditional revenue sources are disappearing, new technologies are emerging, and media organizations must innovate to survive.

media consortium logo.jpg

The Media Consortium created the Incubation and Innovation Lab in response to The Big Thaw, a study they commissioned and published in late 2009 on the changing business and editorial structures of journalism. Collaboration, experimentation and engaging communities were key themes in the study.

"We no longer want to talk about the death of journalism. It's thriving," said Tracy Van Slyke, project director of the Media Consortium. "We want to talk about what the future of journalism looks like."

At the same time, the Media Consortium realizes that news outlets are struggling to find the time and resources to invest in the future.

tracyvs.jpg

"For our members and other media organizations, the ability to do this rapid low cost prototyping is challenging," said Van Slyke. "They don't have the space and time to organize it on their own. We want to provide that by pulling organizations together to look at specific topics and research, and work together to implement and experiment."

In order to do that, the Media Consortium is providing organizations with a space to learn, experiment and create. For a nominal fee, members were invited to join one of three Labs. "Moving into Mobile" is the first, and will soon be followed by a Lab on community engagement, and one on revenue generation in the fall.

Jason Barnett, executive director of the UpTake, didn't hesitate to sign up for Moving into Mobile. His organization wants to use mobile to build audience and increase user engagement. He hopes that by participating, he will come away with a better understanding of the trends and requirements for developing mobile applications.

"It is a totally new field, and it is really difficult to learn this information on your own while trying to run a small business," Barnett said. "Having the Media Consortium coordinate and facilitate discussions and the information around this topic has been a real time saver."

Media Groups and Hackers Collaborate

While discussing case studies and best practices is crucial, so too is the implementation of that knowledge to innovate and create. To that end, the Media Consortium will provide $5,000 to $12,000 in seed money for each of the three Labs to develop a shared application.

To jump-start the rapid prototyping phase, the Media Consortium is raising funds to host a hack-a-thon in October. They've already begun outreach to the technology community, including Hacks/Hackers, to generate interest and participation.

"We're mostly looking at a hack-a-thon to benefit our members, but we're open to other media organizations joining in," said Van Slyke. "For hackers it's a great way to work with organizations that can potentially use the apps you're building. Hackers have realized the need to help journalists evolve. They bring a lot of creativity and knowledge to the table."

uptakelogo.jpg

In addition to seed money, the Media Consortium is fundraising to further develop the winning prototypes. The resulting applications will be made available to all members.

"We're hoping for projects that are easily skinnable," said Erin Polgreen, senior program associate at the Media Consortium. "Ones that can be used by multiple organizations and for multiple audiences."

Facilitating Collaboration

Before the prototyping phase begins, the group will undertake months of collaborative research and planning. Developing a strategy between five media organizations, with participants across the country, is no small feat. Communication is paramount to success and the Media Consortium ensures that there's plenty of it.

In addition to the Lab's weekly call, participants are in constant contact through Google Wave. Organizations contribute relevant articles, links and resources to the Wave. They also learn from each other's experiences.

"We have organizations with all different levels of technical fluency," said Polgreen. "This increases sharing between organizations: high-tech orgs help lower tech orgs."

In addition to the technical experience that each organization contributes, the Lab benefits from having participants with different job functions. Each organization has two to three people on the call with an expertise in technology, editorial or community engagement. The perspective that each brings could help the Lab create a more nuanced approach to the development of its application, as well as one that has built-in buy-in across departments and organizations.

"We are learning from the other participants," said Barnett. "The dynamics seem very healthy. Tough questions are asked, we all laugh and get along, and we are trying really hard to focus to find the core needs all the organizations share."

While the cost to participate may be low, participation does require dedicated time. Van Slyke estimates that on average participants spend a couple of hours per week on the project.

"When we laid out the criteria for participation, we were very clear that it was a time commitment," said Van Slyke. "People had to agree to that in the contract."

Barnett finds that it is time well spent for the UpTake and its future in mobile.

"Many collaborations I've been involved with are content-based and on a short time frame," said Barnett. "This one has goals of developing core knowledge that can help a diverse group of media organizations for the long term."

While it's tempting to project what that long term might look like, Van Slyke hesitates to speculate.

"We're not putting the answer in front of people before they start talking," she said. "This is an experiment and we'll see what comes of it."

A public relations and social media consultant, Katie Kemple works with public media clients to build community, develop strategic partnerships, and create integrated public relations campaigns. Over the past ten years, she has held positions at WGBH, WETA, Capital News Connection, and Public Media's EconomyStory. You can find her every Monday at 8 p.m. ET on Twitter, as a co-host and organizer for #pubmedia chat.

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February 25 2010

22:31

REAL NEWS WITHOUT ORIGINAL REPORTING? THE CHINA/GOOGLE HACKING CASE

8D2B39E9-5601-4C1E-8752-D74AD01E10C0_w527_s

Jonathan Stray checks for the Nieman Journalism Lab the real sources of the recent breaking-news story about the China/Google hacking case and finds that”

– Out of 121 unique stories, 13 (11 percent) contained some amount of original reporting. I counted a story as containing original reporting if it included at least an original quote. From there, things get fuzzy. Several reports, especially the more technical ones, also brought in information from obscure blogs. In some sense they didn’t publish anything new, but I can’t help feeling that these outlets were doing something worthwhile even so. Meanwhile, many newsrooms diligently called up the Chinese schools to hear exactly the same denial, which may not be adding much value.

- Only seven stories (six percent) were primarily based on original reporting. These were produced by The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Tech News World, Bloomberg, Xinhua (China), and the Global Times (China).

- Of the 13 stories with original reporting, eight were produced by outlets that primarily publish on paper,  four were produced by wire services, and one was produced by a primarily online outlet. For this story, the news really does come from newspapers.

So how are we going co cover real news without original reporting?

And who is going to pay for real reporters?

And real journalism?

Let’s get real.

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