Tag Archives: Center for Independent Media

Connecting the world and strengthening international reporting, through an online journalism class

Classmates Richard Smart (@Tokyorich) and Rick Martin (@1rick) collaborated on multimedia coverage of a protest in Shinjuku, Japan, against U.S. military bases on the Fourth of July. The work was part of an assignment in online journalism for a class at Peer 2 Peer University.

As the United States celebrated its birthday with parades, fireworks and the honoring of fallen soldiers, seeing a protest against U.S. military presence in other sovereign countries added rich perspective.

I would have had no idea about the protest without the classmates’ coverage. In that respect, the power of a global journalism class is remarkable.

Building an open Carolina news network

Chip Oglesby's Publish2 links for Boeing

Chip Oglesby's Publish2 links for Boeing

Warning: News geek alert. I hope this post will be of great interest to a small group of people, but I’m throwing out ideas that might be filled with jargon.

The recent rains that paralyzed Atlanta taught a lesson: Building a network before critical need arrives can make the sharing of news and information faster, more powerful and effective.

In the case of the Atlanta flood, local leaders in the Twitter community brought together people by advocating the use of a tag on Twitter that was easily searchable.

But we have more network tools than just Twitter, and the principles of networking apply across social networks.

One emerging news tool is Publish2, which is a for-profit company that allows journalists to bookmark links and tweets and share on their websites with widgets. The company also has widgets that allow website managers to add a request for tips from readers.

The New York Times uses Publish2 to aggregate “What we’re reading” posts. The (Columbia) State’s Chip Oglesby used Publish2 to aggregate stories about the Boeing move from Seattle to South Carolina, including posts from Seattle that gave a different perspective on the move. The screenshot above shows his work.

But Publish2 also has the ability to let journalists collaborate across newsrooms, building lists of links about a particular topic in newsgroups. Then different newsrooms (or blogs) can share the crowdsourced links with widgets on their own websites.

That’s a powerful tool, as illustrated with the crowdsourced use of hashtags on Twitter during emergencies and breaking news. And in the Publish2 case, the crowdsourcers are all pre-approved, theoretically “reliable sources.”

Another example: The hearings about former N.C. Gov. Mike Easley have generated widespread coverage, and interest, across the state. Mark Binker of Greensboro is generating amazing quick coverage on Twitter, and the Greensboro News and Record is using Cover it Live to aggregate those tweets. Raleigh is taking a different approach, using live video, live blogging and comments on the News and Observer site.

News organizations across the state have interest in the hearings but can’t always afford to staff them. Publish2 could help them work together to aggregate coverage and link out to original sources from their own websites.

Admittedly, Publish2 is a for-profit company. Where this goes, I’m unsure. Perhaps Google Wave will make this collaboration easier in a different form in the future. But not yet, and hey, Google is a for-profit company too, just like Twitter (some day).

It’s past time to try out Publish2 collaboratively and learn some broad principles that can apply to networking the news. Let’s build a North Carolina network and a Carolinas network before we get hit with a hurricane or some other big news event that will need all our resources, collaboratively.

Perhaps some day, we’ll find similar tools that are open source and free.

Let’s experiment and iterate now. I’ve created the groups and seeded them with some Carolinas journalists on Publish2.

I have to acknowledge this: I’m throwing out this idea from outside any legacy newsroom, and I understand the heavy competitive pressure within those newsrooms. Perhaps this idea won’t fly in those newsrooms. But then, it might fly among the growing ranks of independent journalists. And as we experiment, other projects like the J-Lab Networking the News effort are encouraging cooperation among independents and legacy newsrooms in two N.C. cities, Asheville and Charlotte.

Ryan Sholin and Greg Linch of Publish2 are behind this idea and willing to help.

If you’ve already used Publish2 and want to join the North Carolina or Carolinas networks, let me know. If you want to be an administrator, let me know. If you think it’s a dumb, stupid idea, let me know.

Update from comments: If you’re not already on Publish2, send the email address you want to use to sign up in a direct message to Underoak on Twitter (me), or email it to me at akrewson45cATmacDOTcom. It looks like that method will automagically put you in the newsgroup or groups.

Try. Try again. Repeat.

Antidotes to ennui

“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.”
–T.H. White, “The Once and Future King”

So learn from Ken Doctor about the business of newspapers just ahead of the big annual conference in New York.

Learn from The Center for Independent Media and Colorado Confidential how to build bridges among many organizations on a political polling project together. (But do the organizations all lean left? Would the group be stronger if it didn’t lean at all?)

Each one teach one: six online resources

(Some of these sites might have been listed in my original research proposal; some are new.)

1. American Journalism Review’s article by Paul Farhi, titled “Under Siege,” from March 2006. As a longer, broader look, this magazine has written in depth about media organizations for some time. The national magazine is published by the University of Maryland Foundation with offices in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. Its archives are open, and illuminating, showing that uncertainty and churn in staffing have affected journalism organizations since the early 1990s, at least.
2. The Center for Independent Media, a nonprofit organization that seeks to foster diversity of ideas by training people on the use of new communications technologies as an alternative publishing and distribution system. The site links to local sites like Minnesota Monitor, leading by example and also providing news that might not be found elsewhere.
3. Doc Searls’ weblog, an odd mix of media analysis, travel blog and introspection, by the write of “The Cluetrain Manifesto” in 1999, a book with recommendations about how businesses needed to respond to the new wired world. Searls includes interesting links and “rabbit-trail” ruminations.
4. MediaShift Idea Lab, a group weblog by people working to reinvent community news. Each author won a grant in the Knight News Challenge to help fund a startup idea or to blog on a topic related to reshaping community news. The site will continue to get deeper as the experiments continue; of particular note are postings by Chris O’Brien, who is working to reinvent student reporting at Duke’s newspaper and who is finding similar attitudes among students to those that Amanda Toler has posted about in class. Another “Don’t miss:” Dianne Lynch, working with journalism educators at several schools to reinvent journalism education.
5. Local Journalism: Grassroots Journalism Sharing, a forum and grouping of blogs to discuss how to be sustainable in local online journalism, created by K. Paul Mallasch, who started the Muncie Free Press a couple of years ago and has kept it alive. The forums seem small at the moment, but we’ll see what time holds.
6. Paul Saffo’s website. Saffo is a “futurist,” one who envisions the future, with over two decades experience exploring long-term technological change. He teaches at Stanford University. He has served as an adviser and Forum Fellow to the World Economic Forum, and is a Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. His essays have appeared in The Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Wired, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, The New York Times and the Washington Post. He holds degrees from Harvard College, Cambridge University, and Stanford University. He wrote this essay in 2002, with a great many parallels to today’s business climate.