Social coding events have become more popular in recent years due to the increasing open civic data movement in the United States and around the world. This week we take a look into what it takes for a nonprofit news organization to implement its own social coding event.
Many public-media entrepreneurs believe the abandonment of print, broadcast and other traditional media is premature. In the hallways at journalism conferences, a number of members of the Investigative News Network have told me they need to do more to raise their profiles locally, reach new audiences and give their operations a “cool factor.”
INN member ProPublica made waves last year with its Free the Files document crowdsourcing project, and now its developers have released an open-source tool called Transcribable to help other newsrooms set up similar projects.
Collaboration has become the norm in many newsrooms today. Here are some digital tools that can help facilitate collaboration in the newsroom whether you are an editor, designer, coder or reporter in the news organization.
The broad swath of newsrooms that published Carnegie-Knight News21’s package on Voter fraud and ID laws across America is surely a sign that the taboo of one newsroom publishing another’s investigation is certainly waning, if not dead.
Cohesion can be difficult in any project — but it’s especially challenging in long-distance collaborations among newsrooms, the kind of journalism the Investigative News Network tries to foster among our growing consortium of 62 members. How do you get a group of journalists scattered around the country to coalesce around an idea? There are many different approaches, but one we’ve taken recently is running story workshops at journalism conferences. We first tried this approach in April, at the Collab/Space event the day before the Logan Symposium. Borrowing from recent computer developer “hack-a-thons,” we brought together experts and editors and reporters from member newsrooms to discuss ideas.
Reporter Jacob Kushner had found a good story. The recent University of Wisconsin graduate was freelancing in post-earthquake Haiti, a place he knew from studies and visits while in college. Kushner had learned that one out of two Haitians being deported by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency were taken straight to Haitian jails, although they had not been convicted of violating Haitian law. Many had only minor convictions in the United States. Jail conditions were bad enough that at least one deportee died.
This summer, INN member California Watch announced that two of its staffers would be working in an unusual place: the newsroom of the Orange County Register. Mark Katches, editorial director for California Watch and CIR, has for some time wanted to have a presence in Southern California and he had a connection with the Register–he was Investigations Editor there until 2006. For a newspaper in a competitive market to agree to such an arrangement would have been unheard of 10 years ago. The Register’s receptiveness speaks to the changing nature of the news business and the increasing acceptance of partnerships with enterprising nonprofits. INN caught up with Ken Brusic, Editor of the Orange County Register, to talk about his trail-blazing move.
Editorial collaborations may be the key to a brighter future for investigative journalism organizations, according to Sandy Rowe, a Knight Fellow at Harvard Kenedy’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy in her paper Partners of Necessity: The Case for Collaboration in Local Investigative Reporting. Rowe’s paper explores the benefits and inevitability of collaboration, citing models of effective collaboration strategies, identifying challenges and offering advice for editors who want to pursue partnerships. Her objective is clear: “Leaders of local investigative reporting…who can form effective and independent partnerships for the most complex journalistic work… will be the winners.”
Sandy Rowe is the former editor of The Oregonian. She currently chairs the Board of Visitors of The Knight Fellowships at Stanford University, and is a board member of the Committee to Protect Journalists.