Ryan Thornburg

by Ryan Thornburg

This post originally appeared on The Future of News. One of the most important attributes of data driven journalism is that it scales, and the primary goal of my OpenRural, Open N.C. and data dashboard projects has been to democratize data so that we start seeing the same types of reporting and presentation in small […] more »

by Ryan Thornburg

A little more than five months after NBC News shut down its hyperlocal product, EveryBlock.com, the original open-source application has been resurrected in Columbia, Mo. But although both products were born of the same Django codebase and Knight Foundation funding, visitors to The Columbia Daily Tribune’s new Neighborhoods site will see a different emphasis and […] more »

by Ryan Thornburg

The key lesson from the first year of our Knight News Challenge grant? The future of data journalism and digital public records at rural newspapers depends on building a product that balances the needs of three key audiences: the consumers, professional reporters and content sponsors. The first year of work on OpenBlock Rural focused on […] more »

by Ryan Thornburg

The least favorite part of my job is grading students, so this semester I decided to outsource some of it. In my Social Media for Reporters class at UNC, 20 percent of each student’s grade will be based on the number of points that his or her Klout score goes up over the course of […] more »

by Ryan Thornburg

The Russian punk band Pussy Riot must have done something really bad to merit a possible seven years in prison, I figured. Finding all descriptions of their behavior to be filled with euphemism, I wanted to see their offensive behavior myself. Who do you turn to when you want to see the world as it […] more »

by Ryan Thornburg

WRAL.com, North Carolina’s most widely read online news site, recently published a tool that allows you to search concealed weapons permits down to the street level. It didn’t use OpenBlock to do so. Why? Or, if you’re like many journalistically and technically savvy people I’ve spoken over the last few months, you could ask why […] more »

by Ryan Thornburg

In my intro news writing class at UNC-Chapel Hill we ding students 50 points for allowing a fact error to creep into a story. If the fire happened at 123 W. Main St. and it really happened at 123 E. Main St., it’s an instant F. But I’ve learned from working on OpenBlock that online […] more »

by Ryan Thornburg

As much as the long-term success of the OpenRural project depends on technology and open records, it also depends on having enough reporters in rural communities who appreciate the journalistic power of data, but also know how to harness it correctly to tell stories and deliver reliable, relevant information to their communities. I’ve just finished […] more »

by Ryan Thornburg

If conversations around digital journalism have been dominated by anything in the first quarter of 2012, it’s probably been about subscriptions, also known as pay walls. Walls are going up at the L.A. Times and Gannett papers, and getting higher at The New York Times. And the editor of The Guardian asked his readers, “What […] more »

by Ryan Thornburg

As Americans turn more to online news sources, a panel at this week’s SXSW Interactive conference will look at the Americans who aren’t going online for news. They are, among other things, often rural and poor. And that’s exactly the audience at which the OpenRural project is aiming. The panel was organized by Fiona Morgan, […] more »