Tag: openrural

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

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

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 »

by Eliza Kern

Storing paper records in the attic of a police station might sound like a practice from the distant past, but that’s what I learned happens in at least one rural North Carolina county. In fact, good old-fashioned paper copies of public records are still common in rural parts of North Carolina. Part of our job [...] more »

by Ryan Thornburg

Since the OpenRural project started in November, one of my primary efforts has been to lift the hood on the OpenBlock application itself and find the “unknown unknowns,” as a former defense secretary once said. We saw data go in, and maps and lists come out. But what happens inside the belly of the beast? [...] more »

by Ryan Thornburg

A few months ago, my kids hit an inevitable, but still terrifying, milestone — they began asking for a pet. Being a complete Scrooge, I quickly set to work explaining that pets are hard work and expensive. Showing a strong knack for journalism, they demanded proof of my assertions, so we set off to the [...] more »

by Ryan Thornburg

A visit to one of America’s small, rural communities that are called home by more than 60 million of us is sometimes like a step back in time. Cars downtown still park parallel to the curb, and not too far beyond downtown are fields and maybe even a factory or two still. Go to a [...] more »