Data is a buzzword nowadays. Whether it’s sifting Big Data to influence business, or the promise of Open Data to transform government, or Data Analytics winning elections, data is constantly in the news. But one thing that gets glossed over in all the buzz is that data is hard. Really, really hard. One of the hardest parts is cleaning, standardizing, and formatting data in a way that journalists and others can start to work with. These are real challenges faced by newsrooms, and we’re hoping to make some of that a little easier with two new Code Sprints we’re...more »
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Back at the Hacks/Hackers Media Party in Buenos Aires, I announced the creation of Code Sprints -- funding opportunities to build open-sourced tools for journalism. We used Code Sprints to fund a collaboration between WNYC in New York and KPCC in Southern California to build a parser for election night XML data that ended up used on well over 100 sites -- it was a great collaboration to kick off the Code Sprint concept. Originally, Code Sprints were designed to work like the XML parser project: driven in concept and execution by newsrooms. While that proved great for working with...more »
I'm still reeling from the amazingness that was the 2013 Knight-Mozilla Fellowship Onramping we held at the MIT Media Lab three weeks ago. Our fellowships are different than many because our fellows spend most of their time apart -- they're embedded in their host news organizations, working alongside reporters and newsroom developers -- so we wanted to make sure that before they got swept up in the hustle of the newsroom, that they first learned more about each other and start to etch pathways of collaboration that will deepen over the course of the year. We decided on the Media...more »
When talking about the OpenNews project, I describe it as an ecosystem. All of our programs are interdependent: Hack Days and Code Sprints and Source -- they all work together to build, implement and document new experiments at the intersection of journalism and code. But the living, breathing heart at the center of it all is our fellowship program. Much of our game plan for 2013 is more, more, more. We have plenty more Code Sprints and Hack Days to fund, and we've just announced the names of the eight fellows we're placing in newsrooms around the globe. When the...more »
I sent an e-mail from a hotel room in Berlin in September of last year, while completely blitzed out from jet lag. In it, I mentioned the idea of putting together a site that could serve as a center-point for a lot of the amazing code being written in the journalism community. The response I got from the couple people I ran the idea by was, "Yeah, that sounds great, but who's going to do it?" Earlier this year I decided the answer was Knight-Mozilla OpenNews, and I assembled a team to build it. And now, after many months of...more »
2012 has been a pretty incredible year for the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews project. We received 165 applications for our 2013 Fellowships (we were expecting around 80) and are now actively interviewing semifinalists. By the end of the year, we will have sponsored at least 20 hack days around the world. Our website Source, a destination for information about the code being written in journalism, is almost out of development (and being updated regularly while still in dev). By every measure, it has been a hell of a year. And now we're adding something new to the OpenNews project: Code Sprint Grants....more »
Four news partners that will host 2013 Knight-Mozilla Fellows recently made their pitch for why they're involved with the Knight-Mozilla Fellowship program, what they're hoping to do with their fellows, and why applying to become one may be the best thing you do this week. Aron Pilhofer outlines an ambitious vision for the New York Times' Knight-Mozilla Fellow. He hopes the fellow will help to devise new methods for measuring the impact a news story has. As he puts it: We are awash in metrics, and we have the ability to engage with readers at scale in ways that would...more »
As the deadline to apply to become a 2013 Knight-Mozilla Fellow approaches, there’s one question often comes up: Why would I want to work as a developer in the newsroom? There are all sorts of reasons—from being in the room when news breaks, to working with a community of people creating the future of an industry, to helping move civic dialogues into new directions. But the most compelling answers come from the very people doing it. So when I was in New York a few weeks ago, I visited our news partners at the New York Times and ProPublica and...more »
Way back in November, as the ideas that led to Knight-Mozilla's OpenNews relaunch were starting to be articulated, I wrote about the need for something to "shine a spotlight" on the code being written in journalism: I think that there's real work to be done in advocating for, shining a spotlight on, and helping to generate community around the code that's being written in journalism. Because the more community that can be built, the better the code is and the better off journalism is because of it. Well, since earlier this year, that's what we've been working on: a website...more »
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...more »
It's only the start of April, and already it's been a big year for the Knight-Mozilla Partnership. We've placed four fellows at the BBC, the Guardian, Zeit Online, and Al Jazeera. (A fifth fellow, at the Boston Globe, will be starting a little later this spring.) We've renamed and refocused the partnership under the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews name. We've begun sponsoring hack days around the world. (In fact, two are coming up this weekend!) And we've started having biweekly open conference calls with the larger journo-code community. (One is happening this Wednesday.) And we're only getting started -- there is a...more »
I spent a rapid-fire 23 hours in St. Louis this weekend at the NICAR 12 conference. For those who don't know, NICAR stands for "National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting," and, as the slightly antiquated name might suggest, was founded long before the commercial Internet, back in 1989. Traditionally, the organization (which is run by IRE, Investigative Reporters and Editors), has been about helping reporters use computers to comb through data, but over the years, it has become the de facto organization and conference for news apps developers. And this year, it felt like the journo-coders in attendance took to it...more »
Change is awesome -- it's a necessary component to anything remaining vital and a required ingredient to facilitate organic growth. And so it's with real excitement that today I'm announcing changes to the Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership. Before we get to the changes, some quick background: Conversations around the original partnership began in 2010, with the program launching at the start of 2011. That means that the program design, by necessity, reflected 2010's problem sets. Two years is an eternity on the Internet -- it was time to rethink and retool for today. The community around code in journalism is...more »
This week on MediaShift, we're exploring the moving target that is teaching journalism. Stay tuned as we offer tips, tools and insights on educating tomorrow's journalists. "Beyond J-School 2011" is sponsored by the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, which offers an intensive, cutting edge, three semester Master of Arts in Journalism; a unique one semester Advanced Certificate in Entrepreneurial Journalism; and the CUNY J-Camp series of Continuing Professional Development workshops focused on emerging trends and skill sets in the industry. I had a brief exchange on Twitter recently with ProPublica's Scott Klein about how high school poets end up as...more »
This week I've spent a lot of time writing about the opportunities that lie at the intersection of open-source philosophies and journalism. Today the "thinking out loud" stops, and the "making it happen" begins. And that begins with the announcement of the 2011/12 Knight-Mozilla fellows. But before I get to that, a quick background: In 2011, the Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership's pilot year, the goal was to place five technologists in partner newsrooms through a selection process that included an open-call design challenge that received over 300 applicants, a 60-person learning lab, and a 20-person hackfest in Berlin. At each...more »
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...more »
I think newspapers, blogs, and magazines should all be doing audio versions. I grew up enjoying and listening to audiobooks and now I don't have the same option for the short form content that I prefer to consume.
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