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Decoding Collaboration Part 3: Collective impact deconstructed

September 23, 2013 in Blog, Distribution

“The expectation that collaboration can occur without a supporting infrastructure is one of the most frequent reasons why it fails.” –Fay Hanley Brown, John Kania and Mark Kramer, Stanford Social Review


Occupy New York staged in the financial district, directly across from the World Trade Center’s reconstruction effort. Credit Lisa Skube

Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, who leads The Media Consortium, has been going deep on collaboration in her work. Here, she generously offers a number of insights, with this the third of her three-part series:

News Collaborations:
Part I:
What do we mean by the word “collaboration”?
Part II:
How does collaboration create impact?
Part III: How might collaboration shape the future of journalism? (see below)

There is a reason why the virtues of editorial collaboration have been championed by any number of media watchers in publications like Mediashift, NiemanLabs, J-Lab, and Journalism Accelerator. Collaboration is seen as the best way to leverage scarce resources in order to create more impact than any of the participants could do individually.

To innovate around impact, the journalism world will need philanthropists who understand that collaboration also requires resources, not only for the outlets that collaborate, but for the backbone organizations that support these collaborations.

In this post, I’ll detail the Media Consortium’s 2012 May Day collaboration to demonstrate how one type of high-impact collaboration can be organized, the investment ours required, and the return it offers. Read the rest of this entry →

JA Interview: Fresh ideas for publishers from beyond the usual suspects. The promise of real-time storytelling to up community donation and profitability

July 25, 2012 in Blog, Community, Revenue

AJ LeonAJ Leon, co-founder of the creative marketing company Misfit, Inc., opens up to the possibilities in Kaniche, Malawi.
Courtesy Misfit, Inc.

Journalism Accelerator

Last week, Robert Burns Nixon, CFO of the San Francisco Fashion and Merchants Alliance, highlighted here several fashion industry best practices that might work well in publishing too. For example, getting direct feedback on concepts before going into full production, and holding trademarked events.

For more business insights from beyond the usual suspects, we invited AJ Leon, co-founder of Misfit, Inc. to, as Robert did, read the JA forums on local and niche news held earlier this year and respond. AJ offers insights where he sees promise for publishers to gain greater revenue, deepen connections and capitalize on the power of immediacy. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Misfit, Inc., started because it fulfilled a dream. AJ and Melissa Leon wanted to travel. They also wanted to do creative work for causes they support. So AJ left banking and Melissa left teaching. Slowly but steadily, they built a business that develops creative media campaigns all over the world. They are dipping into publishing now too, with a planned e-guide to renting out your home using Air BNB and a new multimedia arts journal. Before offering thoughts on business approaches he’s taken that might be useful to publishers, AJ found plenty to learn in the JA conversations on sustaining local and niche news. Read the rest of this entry →


April 19, 2012 in Community, Resources, Technology

Data can be a powerful tool for change. Tracking the right metrics in the right context can help us gain a deeper understanding of the communities we serve, so we can make a lasting impact.

Sparkwise is designed to put data to good use. By collecting and comparing all kinds of metrics in all kinds of ways–and combining those raw numbers with video, audio, text feeds and PDFs–your data becomes a moving story. One you can use to promote your purpose and ignite your audience.

Sparkwise was created by a team of world-class technologists, data visualization experts and social impact strategists. It is free, open source and available to anybody with a story to tell.” Source: Sparkwise


April 19, 2012 in Community, Craft, Distribution, Resources, Technology

Storify lets you curate social networks to build social stories, bringing together media scattered across the Web into a coherent narrative. We are building the story layer above social networks, to amplify the voices that matter and create a new media format that is interactive, dynamic and social.

In the Storify editor, you can search social media networks to find media elements about the topic you want to Storify. Look through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram and more to gather material for your stories.

Drag and drop status updates, photos or videos to bring together the social media elements that will best illustrate your story. You can always reorder elements in your story, or delete them if you find something better. And you can always add more items later on. Your story is always editable, so you can pull in the latest from the social web.
A Storify story is more than just a collection of elements from social media. It’s also your opportunity to make sense of what you’ve pulled together. You can write a headline, introduction and insert text anywhere inside your story. You can add headers, hyperlinks and styled text. Build a narrative and give context to your readers.

Storify stories can be embedded anywhere on the Web by simply pasting an embed code, just like embedding a video. You can also connect Storify to your WordPress or Drupal blog, publish to Tumblr or Posterous, or send an email newsletter through Mailchimp.” Source: Storify


April 6, 2012 in Craft, Distribution, Resources, Technology

Following in the footsteps of Storify, a new free, open-source online timeline tool is innovating storytelling on the web.

Timeline, created by Zach Wise, a multimedia journalist and journalism professor, was developed in partnership with the Knight News Innovation Lab at Northwestern University, where Wise teaches. The interactive tool allows users to generate timelines on the web by curating content fromTwitter, YouTube, Flickr, Vimeo, Google Maps and SoundCloud.

“The tools that already exist on the web are almost all either hard on the eyes or hard to use,” said Wise. “Timeline is an open-source, JavaScript and HTML/HTML 5 based tool that creates elegant timelines.”

Audiences can see the “elegance” Wise is referring to with the examples the folks behind Timeline have created to illustrate its potential… While Timeline is similar to Storify in that it allows users to aggregate media on the web, it differs in its operation. With Storify, users can drag and drop content into a post. With Timeline, users can either embed the code onto their website using JSON, or — if they don’t want to mess with any coding — they can fill in a ready-made Timeline template on Google Docs. The project is currently hosted on GitHub, and users can find specific directions on how to both embed the code and use the Google Doc template there, too.” Source: Mashable


April 13, 2011 in Community, Craft, Experiments, Resources

Intersect is a place to celebrate and share stories of all kinds from throughout our lives – past, present, and future.

Stories are the way we connect with each other, find common ground, and communicate values. At Intersect, we love stories— from the silly and fun to the deeply meaningful. Our goal is to make storytelling on the Web more interesting, engaging and collaborative.

Our goal is to use the power of the Web to make it easier and more fun for people to celebrate and share stories of all kinds. On Intersect, stories are organized into storylines. By bringing storylines together with intersections of time and place, Intersect makes stories more discoverable, interesting, and valuable.

We’re working hard to improve the Intersect experience for our users. Soon Intersect members will be able to create multiple storylines. We’ll make it easy for organizations to tell their stories too.”  Source: Intersect


Intersect’s Monica Guzman on Innovation, Time & Story

March 17, 2011 in Blog, Community, Craft, Interview, Technology

Monica Guzman

Monica Guzman

An Interview with Intersect’s Monica Guzman by JA’s Caitlin Giddings

With so many social media sites popping up these days, it’s hard to imagine there’s any web space left for true innovation. But beta storytelling site Intersect found a way to break through to the fourth dimension, so often neglected in online sharing: time.

Intersect users chart their experiences on a global map and timeline, which meet and overlap with the storylines of others. Whereas reporters scouring Twitter might be limited by a narrow news window, there’s no such limitation that updates might be “too old” to tweet with Intersect—in fact, some user-inputted content goes back as far as the 19th century. As a reporting tool, context is the real innovation here.

Mónica Guzmán Preston, director of the site, says that journalists always recognized that voices need to be heard, but they’re just now realizing those voices need to be put in one place where the reader can discover them.

“While I was a reporter at the (Seattle) P-I, I was really inspired by how naturally journalists gravitated toward and acknowledged that Twitter and Facebook and all these digital tools make it so easy to share the kinds of information that really add to the experience of a news event and enrich the information that’s out there,” she explains. “But that’s not enough; you also need to organize it.”

This emphasis on organization of news events has made Intersect a useful collaborator with other media organizations. In fact, the site has already been used by the Washington Post to aggregate stories and photos for coverage of Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity in October.

Guzman Preston says she first noticed journalists collaborating through new media when she was a reporter at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and saw Seattle-area reporters working together to synchronize Twitter hashtags. She cites the specific example of when four Lakewood, Wash., police officers were shot in 2009.

“What was astonishing about that was the way that all these newsrooms began to really put a lot of stock in what they were communicating on Twitter through the hashtag #washooting,” she says. “Twitter sort of became the common newsroom for the whole city to follow the story… and what that taught us is how rich and valuable it can be when people share part of a story—when personal experiences and a news event are all brought together as a story develops.”

The Lakewood shooting set a precedent for area journalists to work together for the benefit of northwest news consumers. Now with Intersect’s organized means of social sharing, the public can join the collaboration and return the favor.