I am involved in the Knight News Challenge, which has committed $25 million over five years to funding news innovation. The winners were announced in June 2010 at the MIT Future of News and Civic Media conference.
I help organize Hacks/Hackers, a journo-geek organization.
I’m very interested in any local-to-local (Internet-enabled) commerce model, whether advertising, promotions, or mobile. I’m hoping to help these technologies pairÂ with news sites. Among them are the Groupon and a burst of others in that space (Tippr, Buywithme.com, LivingSocial, Scoop Street). In addition, there is a push for white-label Groupon-type sites like Closely and Chompon. Â If you know of any noteworthy programs or pilots, I’d love to hear about them.
I think about how traditional news organizations can take advantage of the platforms like Twitter, Scribd, and Posterous. I’ve been known to write a memo or share a best practice here and there.
I have helped out Spot.us, a San Francisco-based start-up which provides infrastructure for crowd-funded journalism (and a Knight News Challenge winner).
I chime in a bit at Nieman Lab, a Harvard project which covers the evolving journalism industry with an eye towards what is working.
On the agenda:
I am intrigued by all the energy around visualization, specifically data visualization, and would love to figure out a way to get data folks and journalists to pool their strengths — number crunching and storytelling. The New York Times team has won accolades for setting the standard. I like WNYC’s crowdsourced milk price map, which asked radio listeners to report prices of groceries. Stamen Design in San Francisco has done some high-profile work on incident-level crime maps. And Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Viegas have built the ground-breaking Many Eyes tool. Tableau, a Seattle-based company known for its desktop visualization software, has recently released a consumer-friendly tool targeted at bloggers and journalists that is embeddable. I think their tool could do for data visualization what spreadsheets did for number-crunching. I’ve been trying to figure out how to get all these moving pieces together.
I think schools and teachers can nurture civic engagement among kids via writing, reporting and news consumption. This is an important skill set, especially as journalism becomes more distributed and two-way. One great example is Alan Jacobson’s TweenTribune.com which is curated for the younger set and allows kids to upload their own news stories. Another part of this effort may be to push curriculum changes. Esther Wojcicki, a high school journalism teacher and chairperson of Creative Commons, is writing a curriculum.
I am concerned about the diversity in the emerging areas of journalism. If you are working on this or have thoughts, I’d love to hear from you.
The Peabody Award-winning team behind King Corn, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, and I are partnering on a documentary about Chinese food in America, based in part on the research in my book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles. The tentative name is “The Search for General Tso.” (The original name of my book is “The Long March of General Tso,” so it was a total mind-meld). We got a development grant fron the National Endowment for the Humanities. It is a non-profit project and they are currently applying for grants and funding.
I help out with the Harvard Asian American Alumni Association. When I was in college, I was on the Asian American Association executive board and worked on a campaign for ethnic studies. The Harvard faculty recently approved ethnic studies as a minor (but what they call a secondary field).
I am trying to learn more about the education of girls in developing nations. As Kofi A. Annan has said, “There is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls.â€ The United Nations has issued an 160-page report [pdf]. If you don’t want to download that, there is also an html-friendly summary. The Council for Foreign Relations also has an excellent publication called “What Works in Girls’ Education,” which is a 2004 summary of all know academic work at that time by Barbara Herz and Gene Sperling.
The Population Council also has a 2009 report called “News Lessons: The Power of Educating Adolescent Girls” [pdf], that lays out a roadmap of what needs to be done by Cynthia Lloyd. We’re trying to find people who are also thinking hard about this area.