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Center for News Literacy

July 27, 2012 in Education, Resources

Critical thinking. Citizenship. The importance of the press. These are some of the tenets of The Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism. Faculty members train the next generation of news consumers to think critically about what they read, watch, and hear.

The Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University is committed to teaching students how to use critical thinking skills to judge the reliability and credibility of news reports and news sources. It is the only such center in the United States.

Funded by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the center currently is committed to teaching News Literacy to 10,000 undergraduates—from across all academic disciplines.

The Center also is at work developing innovative curriculum materials for high schools and the general public.” Source: Center for News Literacy

100 Reporters

June 27, 2012 in Community, Craft, Experiments, Resources

100Reporters is a revolutionary news organization, dedicated to forging new frontiers in responsible journalism. It joins scores of the planet’s finest professional reporters with whistle-blowers and citizen journalists across the globe, to report on corruption in all its forms. The organization, spearheaded by veteran correspondents of top-tier news outlets, aims to raise the caliber, impact and visibility of citizen-driven investigative journalism, as a means of promoting transparency and good government.

Thanks to advances in technology and heightened transparency among international institutions, we are in an unprecedented position to know and report more than ever before on both the flow of illicit cash, and on the spending habits of government officials and their friends….

Our goal is to embrace technology’s potential to build new forms of journalism around a towering, intractable global issue. We’re working with citizens–the first victims of graft and cronyism–to expose the corruption around them, and bringing these citizens into the reporting of stories where possible.

With initial backing from The Ford Foundation, we are building a multiplatform site where sources can submit—anonymously, if necessary—news tips and evidence of corruption. These will become the raw material for stories to be reported and written by our professional journalists, and presented in hard-hitting news reports available to a worldwide audience. Where feasible, our 100 reporters will work hand-in-hand with citizen journalists, sharing bylines and payment.” Source: 100 Reporters

Mobile Media Toolkit

February 8, 2012 in Craft, Distribution, Education, Resources, Technology

Mobile phones are everywhere in today’s world, and they have many applications for those in media. Most journalists already use mobiles phones, but the sheer number of tools and applications available makes it difficult to know the most effective way to use them. The proliferation of mobiles has greatly increased the number and capabilities of citizen reporters, but questions remain about the role of citizen reporting. The public is consuming more and more information on mobile phones, but media organizations need to learn how best to disseminate their content and reach out to the mobile market.

This is where the Mobile Media Toolkit comes in. There are many media projects that use mobiles effectively. There are also many tools and resources that can serve the potential needs of journalists, citizen reporters, and media organizations. The Mobile Media Toolkit is a collection of these tools and resources, as well as examples of how mobile phones can be and are being used in the media industry.The simple fact is that using mobile phones in media production isn’t always as easy as it seems.

Finding the right tool and using it correctly to reach the broadest possible audience requires knowledge of the mobile landscape. The need for guidance in the industry is apparent.

The Mobile Media Toolkit provides guidance on tools, resources, and case studies of how mobiles can be used for reporting, news broadcasting, and citizen media participation on a variety of platforms and in a variety of circumstances.” Source: Mobile Media Toolkit

SeeClickFix

November 23, 2011 in Community, Experiments, Resources, Technology

SeeClickFix is a free mobile phone and web tool that allows citizens to report and document non-emergency issues to communicate them to those accountable for the public space. Issues that are reported through the website are recorded on a map for everyone to see and interact with. Anyone can receive email alerts on the issues based on a filter by geographical area and keyword…We believe in the power of technology to promote:

  • Transparency – Governments and most organizations work best when they conduct their business in plain view. We’ll do our best to do the same.
  • Collaboration – Four brains are better than one. And millions of brains are better than three. Our goal is to give everyone else the tools to accomplish what we never could ourselves. Open source software and wikis are good models for us.
  • Scale – We could have created a site that focused on our home town. Using the internet and all the tools others have created, we want to reach as many people as possible around the globe. Massive scale, please.
  • Efficiency – Although paper has its place, there is a lot more room for the web and the mobile phone. Rather than re-invent the wheel, our site is built on open source software and Google maps.” Source: SeeClickFix

“Local governments and media outlets across the country are using SeeClickFix to stay up-to-date on the issues that have the most immediate impact on the health of our communities.

Publicly documented SeeClickFix issues quickly become the seeds for news stories, investigative reports, and citizen advocacy pieces. Our platform gives you a window into the public debate and organizes the issues in a way that makes it easy to discern which are most pressing and likely to generate immediate attention.

SeeClickFix has media partnerships with hundreds of media outlets around the country. Besides helping to source local stories, our Text and Map Widgets help to enhance the user experience on your website. Our widgets display the most important issues that have been reported in your area and allow users to report issues of their own right on your site. Generating a widget takes only a few clicks, and will help make your site more interactive and more relevant to the day-to-day concerns of your readership.

Our partnerships with media outlets are mutually beneficial. We drive traffic to local news sites, while our community of users grows and develops in new locations. These collaborations create new space for public dialogue, connect civically engaged members of the community, and help citizens hold local governments accountable.” SourceSeeClickFix

PBS MediaShift

November 1, 2011 in Community, Distribution, Experiments, Resources, Technology

Since January 2006, MediaShift has been tracking how social media, weblogs, podcasting, citizen journalism, wikis, news aggregators and online video are changing our media world. MediaShift includes commentary and reporting to tell stories of how the shifting media landscape is changing the way we get our news and information, while also providing a place for public participation and feedback.

MediaShift correspondents help tell the story of how people who are working in traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, music and movies are dealing with digital disruption and adapting their business models for a more mobile, networked world. Not only is this a story of technology, but a story of changing mindset for journalists who must adjust to the increasing power of the “people formerly known as the audience.”

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation provided a grant to MediaShift to produce its sister blog, Idea Lab and to upgrade MediaShift. Since 1950 the foundation has granted more than $300 million to advance journalism quality and freedom of expression. Knight Foundation supports ideas and projects that create transformational change.” Source: PBS MediaShift

Special MediaShift Series: Beyond J-School

[A]nother in-depth special series on MediaShift. This time the series will look at “Beyond J-School,” chronicling how journalism education and training are changing, and how journalists need more than traditional j-school. They need multimedia skills, social media knowledge, community management chops, and must learn to collaborate with their audience. It’s more than just learning the basics of journalism: They also need more background in business, entrepreneurship, technology and even programming. The entire series is linked below. Source: PBS MediaShift

The Economist Future of News Series

September 26, 2011 in Community, Resources, Revenue, Technology

Clearly something dramatic has happened to the news business. That something is, of course, the internet, which has disrupted this industry just as it has disrupted so many others. By undermining advertising revenue, making news reports a commodity and blurring the boundaries between previously distinct news organisations, the internet has upended newspapers’ traditional business model. But as well as demolishing old ways of doing things, it has also made new ones possible. As patterns of news consumption shift, much experimentation is under way. The internet may have hurt some newspapers financially, but it has stimulated innovation in journalism…

As well as making Twitter, Facebook and Google part of the news ecosystem, the internet has also made possible entirely new kinds of specialist news organisations. It has allowed WikiLeaks, for example, to accept documents anonymously and publish them to a global audience, while floating in cyberspace above national jurisdictions, operated by a small, nomadic team. Other newcomers include a host of not-for-profit news organisations that rely on philanthropic funding and specialise in particular kinds of journalism. Many of these new outfits collaborate with traditional news organisations, taking advantage of their broad reach and trusted, established brands.

All these new inhabitants of the news ecosystem have brought an unprecedented breadth and diversity of news and opinion to the business. This has cast new light on a long-running debate about the politics of journalism: when there are so many sources, does political objectivity become less important?

This special report will consider all these trends in turn, starting with a look at the state of the industry and the new business models that are emerging. It will argue that as news becomes more social, participatory, diverse and partisan, it is in many ways returning to the more chaotic, freewheeling and politically charged environment of the era before the emergence of mass media in the 19th century. And although the internet has proved hugely disruptive to journalists, for consumers—who now have a wider choice than ever of news sources and ways of accessing them—it has proved an almost unqualified blessing.” Source: Bulletins from the future, The Economist

 

Public Insight Network

September 16, 2011 in Community, Craft, Experiments, Resources

The Public Insight Network (PIN) is a powerful database of over 85,000 people who help to shape and deepen local and national public radio news coverage by volunteering their personal knowledge, experience, and opinions. Members of the network provide basic information about themselves and their areas of expertise, and receive periodic emails from their local newsroom soliciting their thoughts on issues that the station plans to cover. As Public Insight Network editor Andrew Haeg explains, reporter working on a series or piece on healthcare, could reach out into the network and find nurses and patients and doctors and administrators, sifting through responses to “see what themes and patterns emerge.”

The concept of Public Insight Journalism, with the PIN as its centerpiece, was originally pioneered by Minnesota Public Radio in response to what Haeg describes as “a big disconnect between what was going on in the newsroom — the decisions we were making, our editorial meetings — and what was going on out there in the community.” The PIN was designed to bridge that divide, pioneering what the Public Insight Journalism website describes as, “a new model of journalism to meet the needs of today’s open-source society…built on genuine partnership between news media and the public.”

This network-driven structure moves beyond what Haeg calls “Rolodex journalism” — relying on a small and trusted group of sources for news tips and suggestions for coverage. “We all know that people out there in the community have a much better feel for what’s actually going on on-the-ground,” he says, “and if you can include them in the conversation, you’re going to be much better off.”

This method of engaging the community in the process of newsgathering has steadily gained traction in public radio newsrooms since its launch in 2003, and has spread beyond Minnesota Public Radio and its parent organization, American Public Media, to local stations nationwide.” SourceCenter for Social Media

 

An interview with Mike Fancher, author of “Re-Imagining Journalism: Local News for a Networked World”

September 13, 2011 in Blog, Craft, Policy, Revenue

Across the field of journalism we’ve had an “information infusion” from a broad range of sources over the summer. Analysis, review and reporting from the likes of PEW, Knight, the Economist, Clay Shirky, the FCC’s recent 450+ page report furthering the analysis Knight Foundation started two years ago, and CJR’s recent write up “What We Know so Far.” The Chicago Community Trust has released a mother lode of data revealing new insights on the power of linking. The list outlined above is far from exhaustive but a good representation of the depth, breadth and focus on the unfolding of a “news industry interrupted” by some of the brightest minds today.

There is a general consensus that we’re bearing witness to a long-standing community of practice “reimagining” itself, a phrase Mike Fancher refers to in his new report, Local News for a Networked World. Posted  in July, this paper was co-commissioned by the Aspen Institute and the Knight Foundation. As a veteran newsman and community advocate, Fancher brings a unique perspective to this work with a long run as executive editor of one of the finest city paper newsrooms in the nation, The Seattle Times. Noting his career as an editor unfolded in a far less turbulent time in the business lifecycle of news and reporting Fancher retired from the Times in 2008.

The combination of professional experiences Fancher has accrued over the course of his career has expanded further since his retirement. In 2008-2009 he served as a fellow at the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri focusing his study there on journalism ethics evolution in the digital age. Prior to returning to the academy as a fellow, while serving as a city paper editor, Fancher completed his master’s degree in business to better understand news, journalism and the marketplace it lives within, in context. Read the rest of this entry →

Re-Imagining Journalism: Local News for a Networked World

August 31, 2011 in Craft, Education, Experiments, Policy, Resources

Re-Imagining Journalism: Local News for a Networked World, a new policy paper by Michael R. Fancher, identifies five strategic areas and specific ideas for promoting experimentation, collaboration and public engagement that are critical for reforming local journalism. The paper calls upon a variety of stakeholders in business, the nonprofit sector, government and community institutions, and citizens themselves to each play a role in nurturing a revitalized and re-imagined local media ecosystem.

The five key strategies for re-inventing local journalism include:

  1. For-profit media organizations must re-invent themselves to extend the role and values of journalism in interactive ways.
  2. Not-for-profit and non-traditional media must be important sources of local journalism.
  3. Higher education, community and non-profit institutions can be hubs of journalistic activity and other information-sharing for local communities.
  4. Greater urgency must be placed on relevance, research and revenues to support local journalism.
  5. Government at all levels should support policies that create an environment for sustainable, quality local journalism.

In particular, Fancher calls on leaders of local print and broadcast media to spearhead the creation of regional and local collaborative news networks that meet the information needs of their communities. These interactive news networks are part of a broader set of strategies for re-inventing local journalism that are aimed at addressing the need for media policies that foster innovation, competition and support for business models that provide marketplace incentives for quality journalism and envision new roles for universities and community institutions as hubs of journalistic activity.” SourceKnight Foundation