Innovation Review

The Knight News Challenge winners have an insight into news and the processes of what it means to get the public and news community what it needs to survive the current climate. There were many projects that I think will definitely help citizens understand what is happening in their neighborhood and perhaps find parts of their community that did not know was available before.

The themes that I see for a lot of these winners are that they seem to be extremely specific/hyperlocal. For example 2007 winner Adrian Holovaty created Everyblock, which is a database that collects information (crime reports, restaurant inspections) for large cities. It has a limited amount of cities that it covers; however, it does have an option to email them on the first page with a suggestion for your home city. For Holovaty’s project, Everyblock, it is very useful for someone that lives in that city, but it appears to be too hyperlocal. If you are not an inhabitant of that particular city or plan to move to that city, than it is of no used to you. It is an altogether great resource, however, if they are going to do this project and get a million dollars, I think there should be more than eight cities on their web site.

Another theme that I have noticed is for open-sourced sites that allow people to collaborate. 2007 winner Richard Anderson’s project VillageSoup to have open sourced community news software. It is combining what is in the community offline to online. I think this is convenient for the people of the community and is good for promotion within that one place. For Anderson’s project, VillageSoup, it seems to be very cluttered. It covers news and communities by counties, and each the layouts look the same to me. It can be confusing when the pages are so similar to each other.

A very important theme that the majority of the winners have is reaching particular audiences and progressing with the technology as it comes. 2008 winners Chris Cslkszentmihalyi, Mitchel Resnik, Henry Jenkins created a Center for Future Civic Media built a very intuitive Web site to involve the community in news experiments and new technologies. For the project on the Future Civic Media, I really like their idea and web site. I do not see any apparent weaknesses because they have encompassed a lot of trends that is necessary to reach out to the community. I do think that they could branch off more to advertise their campaign.

2009 winner Scott Rosenberg is promoting transparency in journalism through his MediaBugs project, which is extremely relevant. It is very timely in this day and age to have a new way for people to find a way to trust the news again. This is necessary for people to know that they can trust news, whether it is in print or online. MediaBugs project is very relevant and something that I think is necessary today, however the only weakness is that Rosenberg does not seem to update his blog too often and does not have his web site up yet. I understand because he just recently won, he is still working on the project and still has those things in the developing project. I do think that he should have more things available more steadily.

Originally, my idea was sparked when we were talking about journalists not being able to use twitter because of the lack of objectivity. I thought it would be good to have an outlet for journalists. However, looking over these other projects threw that out the window because it did not have the same themes and objectives of current winners and the road that journalism is leading. We do not need to think about what would make our lives better but for what makes it better for the audience. So, I have been thinking about doing a project that will involve the Rio Grande Valley. Although they do have a major newspaper that has recently gone through a development, they do not have enough investigative reporting. I also feel like people do not really have a voice or involved in the news. I want to create something that will get those people more involved with their community first hand and to have something they could go to get more involved.

Published in: on October 1, 2009 at 9:22 am  Leave a Comment  

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