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JA Network Profile: The Breaking News Network explores new ways of expressing media

February 22, 2013 in Blog, Experiments

Breaking News Network 

Started in 2009, the Breaking News Network curates the media and blog feeds in 350-plus cities worldwide to create a real-time ticker tape of social-media-sourced news in each city. The noncommercial network is unique in supporting each city’s civic groups, arts organizations and causes by providing them with a free media voice to connect with their community.

Journalism Accelerator

The JA had the opportunity to participate in the recent Street Fight Summit in New York City. While there, Breaking News Network (BNN) founder Patrick Kitano introduced himself.

When BNN was launched three years ago to give voice to community causes, Kitano brought a unique knowledge from early experiments using Twitter (2006 – 2009) and social media to develop hyperlocal community information networks for the real estate market. Focusing on social at the outset, Kitano was “cobbling together” segmented lists on Twitter before Twitter had even created “lists.” (For context, Twitter launched in July of 2006.) This early social community development revealed new ways that Kitano found effectively enabled an active, community-sourced and locally driven information network.

Kitano sees BNN providing a shared social channel – one community, one voice, one cause at a time – with promise of doing good for others by supporting civic groups, local causes and arts organizations. Read the rest of this entry →

JA Resource Q&A: The Civic Commons draws a line from online engagement to policy impact

September 19, 2012 in Blog, Community, Experiments

Civic Commons
The Civic Commons is designed as a social media environment for civil conversation and action, where the expertise of non-experts contributes to public knowledge. Moulthrop says it’s a form of journalism. “What we’re doing is bringing the public into the conversation in a way that is sophisticated, civil and productive.”

Journalism Accelerator

The Civic Commons was conceived as a “social media environment designed explicitly for public good.” Physically based in Ohio, it is an online home for conversation that intersects with news that affects people’s lives. Recent discussions have tackled parental support for public education, gas and oil development, including fracking, civility in public discourse, and drawing new boundaries in a county with 59 municipalities!

The Civic Commons partners with local media organizations to go deeper on stories and tap into a wealth of community knowledge. The JA is also partnering with The Civic Commons, Poynter and Kent State University to put on a series of discussions that will lead to a new ethics guide to best practices in political coverage. We chose The Civic Commons for our series of chats about resources listed on the JA to learn more about how civic conversation can contribute to journalism and deepen reporting on the issues that matter to local communities. Read the rest of this entry →

JA Revisits: Ashoka and The Christian Science Monitor find “resonance”

September 14, 2012 in Blog, Experiments, Revenue

Make Change / Christian Science Monitor

Checking in on an experiment: Ashoka and The Christian Science Monitor co-brand.

Journalism Accelerator

In the rich JA conversations earlier this year on collaboration in the news business, Keith Hammonds, director of Ashoka’s Knowledge Initiative, sketched out a “new sort of collaboration.” Soon after, Ashoka, an institution dedicated to innovative social change, and The Christian Science Monitor, a news organization committed to thoughtful, contextualized coverage, launched the project: a two week trial run of a cooperative effort designed to give Monitor readers the chance to actively respond to stories in ways that might change them. Or possibly the world.

So how did it turn out? Read the rest of this entry →

JA publisher profile with ProPublica’s Stephen Engelberg: “This may shake out to be a Golden Age of investigative reporting.”

August 10, 2012 in Blog, Community, Craft, Distribution, Education, Experiments, Policy, Revenue, Technology

Stephen Engelberg

ProPublica managing editor Stephen Engelberg at the University of Oregon’s Turnbull Center. Image: Lisa Skube.

Journalism Accelerator

Raising money, gaining audience, having impact. Despite a ten million dollar annual budget, 34 reporters and partnerships with multiple major news organizations, ProPublica faces similar sustainability issues as many startup publishers. ProPublica’s managing editor (set to become editor-in-chief early next year) Stephen Engelberg spoke with a couple dozen journalists at the University of Oregon’s Turnbull Center in Portland this week. Here are his views on some of the major challenges investigative, nonprofit news organizations face today.

Stephen Engelberg had never done any fundraising before becoming second-in-command at ProPublica, the high-profile, nonprofit, investigative news organization set up in 2007. He didn’t have to right away; for the first three years ProPublica received ten million dollars a year from a foundation set up by Herb and Marion Sandler with their earnings from the savings and loan industry. ProPublica’s budget has remained the same, but the Sandler Foundation share fell to half last year. As Engelberg prepares to lead the first online-only news organization to win a Pulitzer Prize, money, branding, the expectations of donors and making an impact are on his mind. Read the rest of this entry →

JA Use Case: Five steps to pave the way toward collaborative revenue

June 25, 2012 in Blog, Craft, Distribution, Experiments, Revenue

Collaborative growth: Working together to find your own way to sustainability and scale. Image: Pics of Trees

Journalism Accelerator

The JA/Collab Central forum on collaboration and revenue held earlier this spring surfaced more than two dozen examples of collaboration in action. This post examines one, an investigative report on deportations from the U.S. to Haiti, as a detailed use case of a collaboration yielding a high return.

Originally commissioned by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting (FCIR) with a grant from The Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund, the project deepened the budding relationship between FCIR and Florida public radio station WLRN. It also provided early experience in content sharing for members of the Investigative News Network. Eventually, more than 30 news organizations, both commercial and nonprofit, published an online or print version of the piece.

This use case outlines a successful collaboration that laid the groundwork for a deeper partnership that included revenue. It shows how partners worked together in different ways, explores how they may do things differently in the future, and offers examples to consider as you evaluate the structure and yield of potential or current collaborations. Read the rest of this entry →

JA’s Collab/Space forum yields resources, examples and emerging practices to support journalism collaborations

May 25, 2012 in Blog, Community, Experiments, Revenue

Monkey and Dog

Together stronger, sharing complementary skills enriches collaborative partnerships.

Journalism Accelerator

One of the best parts about getting professional colleagues together to talk is that everyone brings specific resources and examples to the topic at hand. Sometimes these are familiar to you, but a colleague’s experience offers a fresh perspective. At other times, you may discover details about a resource you’d previously only vaguely heard of, or learn about something you were not aware of at all. At last month’s Collab/Space conference and during the extended conversation on the JA afterward, people offered concrete examples of successful collaborative reporting projects and pointed out tools or tips that helped them along the way. We’ve collected many of them here. Feel free to add to this shared base of knowledge. Happy collaborating!

Are you thinking about a collaborative reporting project and want some examples to show your editor? Would you like to work with an organization outside your own so your joint efforts can have a collectively bigger impact? Do you need tools to make collaborating easier?

Find ideas and inspiration in these examples, models, articles and tools that people cited in the JA conversation on collaboration and revenue.

Collaborative reporting: Story examples
Collaborative relationships: Journalism
Collaborative projects: Cross-industry or outside models
Collaborative resources: Articles and tools

Read the rest of this entry →

Storify adds social dimension to live forum: Can collaboration in journalism increase revenue?

April 19, 2012 in Blog, Community, Experiments, Technology

JA Storify

The Collab / Space 2012 event unfolded on the JA in an online conversation. Our storify thread captures its essence.

Journalism Accelerator

 

The extended conversation with live outreach exploring collaboration and revenue wrapped up at the end of April. Some highlights: examples from the trenches of small startups, the view from a highly collaborative foundation, exploration of the up and downsides of working with other news organizations, emerging thinking about framing consumer rights as directly correlated to accurate news, and a debate over whether journalistic collaboration even SHOULD aim to increase revenue. The discussion thread includes three live chats: Co-founder of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting Trevor Aaronson and executive director of San Francisco Public Press Michael Stoll compared their experiencesKeith Hammonds of Ashoka’s News & Knowledge Initiative offered how-tos and examples of collaborations structured with revenue in mind and Michael Skoler, VP of digital for Public Radio International provided a wealth of ideas on to integrate collaboration and revenue. Read the entire thread here or take a shortcut with our Storify thread for an overview of the highlights. Read the rest of this entry →

The JA and Collab/Space 2012 test a new way of extending the conversation

April 10, 2012 in Blog, Community, Experiments, Technology

Journalism Accelerator

When you invest time in a professional conference, the experience of connecting with others can be deeply energizing, leaving you inspired by ideas you hope to explore and people you intend to follow up with. But back in the daily grind we face familiar demands, accountabilities and our regular routine. The great energy and good intentions often dissipate into the ether. How to keep the momentum from fading? Anti-ether – aka the continued conversation that the JA, MediaShift’s Collaboration Central and the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism are testing. We’ll expand the conversation that starts this week in a room in California to a JA online forum for deeper exploration over the next couple of weeks. Read the rest of this entry →

Niche news publishing: “No one shoe fits all.”

February 29, 2012 in Blog, Craft, Experiments, Revenue

Journalism Accelerator

Little shoe big foot -- Journalism Accelerator Forum

Image credit: Lars Christensen - Fotolia

Go deep, not wide, in content and audience. That’s my quick overall takeaway from today, Day Two of our forum on sustainable journalism. Today’s conversation focused on particular opportunities for niche sites.

Let’s start with this question, and a thanks to the Oregonian News Network’s Cornelius Swart for posing it:

Who if any have done or understood the demographics of their audience before they launched their projects. Of those out there in the niche world, who has done a media audit since they launched? Are people just pricing products and seeing if they take off? Do people have a sense of audience/customer base in terms of income and consumer habits/values?”

That’s still open to answer on the forum threadBased on comments throughout the conversation, niche news sites have particular opportunities to build tight relationships with their audiences – and that is key to bringing in revenue. Rusty Coats put it this way: To monetize deep content, own the master narrative.

That is, become the voice of authority (through your coverage, of course) on a subject matter – and work diligently to hone that subject matter so that it isn’t too horizontal. Deep coverage is vertical. Readers and underwriters appreciate the focus – and that helps weed out who is NOT your audience or underwriter community.” Read the rest of this entry →

Local news publishing: What’s needed to earn revenue?

February 28, 2012 in Blog, Community, Distribution, Experiments, Revenue

Journalism Accelerator

A local publishing company

Photo by clemsonunivlibrar on Flickr

Plenty of experience at play in today’s forum on increasing revenue for local news sites. The thread is still open and well worth a read. Here are some highlights:

Of all the themes running through today’s conversation, I pick the word of the day as NEED. Start with this point from Dan Grech, news director of WLRN in Miami, on creating “indispensable” content:

“..indispensable content means providing information and perspectives that address the particular urgent needs of a niche audience.”

Then hear Emily Lowrey, founder of Magic City Post.

“I think if you go at it at that angle of just getting financial support for your journalism, that you’ll struggle. If you find a problem to solve though, you’ll get the support you need and flourish.” Read the rest of this entry →