Monday, July 18, 2011

The evolution of my Knight-Mozilla learning lab idea

Ideas have strange and interesting lives.

My idea has ultimately been boiled down to a single goal/statement -- Make information-based storytelling (aka journalism, the kind that happens in newsrooms) more collaborative.

To reach that goal, we have to encourage openness and transparency in the journalism process. So how can I do that without practicing openness and transparency in my idea development process? Um, I can't.

So, here's a rough outline of my idea process thus far, which I hope to update throughout the learning lab.

1. MoJo Challenge Submission - The Infinite Story

2. I work with data storytelling every day, and that produces tons of ideas. Ideas like...
  • A GitHub for data projects -- what if you could take datasets that people have already worked on, cleaned, queried, manipulated, etc., and build off of that work? Data work is a huge task. It could be made more collaborative.
  • Tools for data storytelling -- things that take the awesome data viz resources out there (Many Eyes, Tableau,, etc.) and add content and storytelling elements. What if you could annotate data visualizations? Tie in social media feeds? Write a story around a data viz?
3. I've read a lot about collaboration. I'm obsessed with it. Enthralled. Projects like FLOSS Manuals get me really excited. How can we bring things like book sprints and collaborative authorship tools to traditional newsrooms?

4. One lesson I learned -- over and over and over -- as a journalism student is that only 10% of the reporting you do on any given story makes it to the "final" version. How can we tap the other 90%? How can we extend and nurture the lives of stories?

And all that led me to GitHub for storytelling. I don't know what it is. I don't know what it will look like. But I know I want to try it.

1 comment:

Engin Erdogan said...

I don't know what GitHub for storytelling is, but sounds provocative. Looking forward to finding out more.