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  • Building a News Oasis to end hunger in Puget Sound

    9:14 am on January 12, 2012 | 0 Comment Permalink
    Tags: food deserts, King County Library Services, mobile learning, , USDA

    News Oasis post imageBy now, most people know about the epidemic of hunger. Here in the US, 1 out of 5 kids are going to bed without a solid meal — meaning every student you know is sitting next to someone in class who has to ignore the sound of their empty stomach while trying to concentrate on what the teacher is saying.

    Last year the USDA released a map and downloadable dataset of the 6,501 food deserts in America. These are places marked as “low income” and “low access” where at least a fifth of the population lives at or below the poverty line, and there isn’t a supermarket within a one-mile radius (or within a 10-mile radius in rural areas). There is an estimated 13.5 million people, 6.5 million children, nationwide who have little or no access to stores selling healthful food based on correlation with the 2000 census.

    Local news coverage of the hunger in Puget Sound is not necessarily void, but you don’t see anyone covering the “hunger” beat like they do business, sports, or entertainment. There are interesting pockets, such as Carol Smith’s story for Investigate West, where she profiled our own backyard food desert along South Seattle’s Duwamish River. Smith found that people are resorting to eating out of the river, despite the government warnings of toxic PCBs, heavy metals, and other contaminants that have resulted in a 5 year lower average life expectancy in the area. Due to a partnership with KUOW to do a radio piece, and features in places like Business Insider, her story brought in a significant traffic spike and increase in Twitter followers. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Carol’s work was only made possible by a health journalism fellowship from the California Endowment out of USC Annenberg, and doing the work she did requires a lot of effort and directed intention.

    A vital part of the mission of Journalism that Matters and the Seattle Journalism Commons is to enhance the information needs of our community and help ensure that our important stories are being told. This week our network took a critical first step by holding an all day summit in Issaquah with the aim of creating a “news oasis” that fosters vital information around hunger in Puget sound.

    Valuable local stakeholders were present in four key groups:

    Community organizers, journalists, researchers, and business modelers

    The participants:
    Linda Benson, Vice President, Community Initiatives, Hopelink | Karma Ruder, Director of Community Collaboration, Center for Ethical Leadership | Anne Stadler, Independent Civic & Social Organization Professional, Producer, KING TV (ret.) | James Whitfield, President, Leadership Eastside | Jan La Fond, Convener, Redmond Nourishing Network | Marsha Iverson, King County Library System, Public Relations Specialist | Jo Anderson Cavinta — Diversity program coordinator. Outreach Services. King County Library System | Parker Lindner — Freelance @newmediamatters.com | Ann Zavitkovsky — community enthusiast | Carole Carmichael, Assistant Managing Editor, Seattle Times | Mike Fancher, Executive editor, Seattle Times (ret.), co-founder Seattle Journalism Commons, Journalism That Matters board member | Michelle Ferrier, Associate Professor, Elon University, North Carolina, Journalism That Matters board member. Founder of locallygrownnews.com | Sheetal Agarwal, Doctoral student studying political communication and technology, Research Assistant, Instructor at University of Washington, Department of Communication | Cori Benson, UW Bothell, intern with Nourishing Networks. | Jacob Caggiano, digital strategist and co-founder Seattle Journalism Commons | Rae Levine, Rae Levine Consulting, Co-op consultant. Northwest Cooperative Development | Erin MacDougall, Program Manager Healthy Eating and Active Living, Public Health – Seattle & King County | Dave Ortiz, Cascadia Community College | Peggy Holman, Co-founder, Journalism That Matters, co-founder Seattle Journalism Commons

    Using conversational practices that support productive self-directed co-mingling, many diverse stakeholders with common goals and interested were introduced and immediately started bubbling with ideas and determination. We were sure to make it known who was absent from the room, mainly those affected by hunger, as well as young people, who were identified as potential leaders that are critical for a movement like this to succeed. It was pointed out that there are still silos that exist where community organizations and non-profits who work directly with the hungry are not interacting enough with the “good food movement” — that is supporters of policies aimed in bringing more local organic food to the dinner table.

    Ideas and Examples

    It was clear that the best thing we can do is amplify efforts that are already successful, and use those lessons to spawn new ideas that are more likely to succeed. Some existing models mentioned were:

    The 10 Percent Campaign — Hosted by North Carolina State University, a campaign to encourage farmers, businesses and communities to pledge to spend 10% of their food budgets locally. Their surveys indicate they have 4516 people and 500 businesses who have spent $12,248,980 locally since they began.

    South Whidbey — Strong community networks like The Whidbey Institute, South Whidbey Commons, South Whidbey Tilth, and an upcoming Thriving Communities conference are alive and well in that part of the region.

    The Seattle Happiness Initiative — a project of Sustainable Seattle, inspired by Gross National Happiness index used in Bhutan, and the desire to base economic decisions on not just GDP, but overall well-being. The SHI has been endorsed by The Seattle City Council and is now spreading nationally at happycounts.org.

    New ideas that we could experiment with:

    Mobile News Oasis — We were lucky to have Jo Anderson Cavinta, the Diversity Program coordinator for King County Library Systems attend a session and talk about their new mobile library vans that will deliver free computer access to areas in need. Why not take advantage of the parking lot space at churches and food banks and bring computer access to where people who need them are getting their meals? There could also be a student or community reporter on site that conducts interviews / training / publishing on the spot, as well as nutrition advice, snacking tips etc. At the Greensboro Create or Die 2 Unconference, Journalism that Matters helped incubate the Wake Up Tour, a bio-diesel powered van which provides on the ground mobile media literacy training.

    Food Moving Technology — During the 3rd Random Hacks of Kindness there were teams who set out to make apps that allow establishments who throw out food to put out a call for pickup instead. Three groups started a prototype, Bring the Food, Moving Food (Seattle based), and FoodMovr. I’m hoping there’s potential in jumpstarting this back up again, with the help of organizations like Nourishing Networks who can adopt it in their workflow. It appears Bring the Food is the furthest along on development while the other two haven’t shown much activity since June, but maybe that can change with a few emails 🙂

    SeedBombs — This came from Michelle Ferrier who was visiting us from North Carolina’s research triangle. Her locallygrownnews.com startup has a guerrilla marketing tactic of placing little plantable mud balls with seeds in them that are wrapped with business cards that advertise her “locally grown news” site. The idea of packaging food and leaving it for others to enjoy as a random act of kindness kind of rings a similar tune to the Ben’s Bells project. You could weave a community narrative together by leaving a number code that publishes a tweet or blog post via text message from the random food package recipient.

    No Rooftop Left Behind — I brought up my frustration that so many rooftops are being underutilized as potential gardens or places to install solar panels, and feel there should be a campaign to make use of every naked rooftop in the country.

    Stockbox Outreach — A team of business leaders are trying to tackle the the food desert situation by starting up a chain of “mini mini marts” that serve fresh food out of empty shipping containers. Stockbox Grocers raised over $20,000 on Kickstarter to prototype a popup store in Deldridge, which was open September – November 2011. They are now working to launch a permanent store in Spring 2012, and it would be great to load up and disseminate good information as well as good food.

    Challenges and opportunities

    Some folks in the room wanted to see more work done reporting and addressing underlying policy issues that affect the state of hunger (food prices, tariffs, corporate farm subsidies, etc.) as well as the quality of food available to those in need (healthy, organic, local), and ensuring the support of sustainable farming practices into the future. There are also questions of structural bias when you have large agricultural giants (i.e. The ConAgra Foods Foundation) contributing to programs like Feeding America.

    This led to two key discussions: 1. When you’re hungry, your first order of business is to eat, and that is the priority.   2. Focusing too much on policy and pointy headed experts alienates people and makes them feel less welcome or able to participate in the movement. As noted by James Whitfield of Leadership Eastside, “It’s really really big, and also really really small” and it’s important to focus on the emotional stories while also keeping sight on the broader overlapping issues.

    Another interesting challenge is coming up with strategies to address cultural barriers, not just structural ones. A survey in Redmond was mentioned where police found that teens would rather be arrested for stealing than face the stigma of admitting reliance on social services to get by. Many people who actually qualify for food assistance don’t even use it because of the shame that comes with it. To overcome this, it was suggested that the news oasis we are trying to build is one which transforms the community story (narrative) about food and hunger from consuming & unequal distribution (lack) to the gift exchanges happening in:

    •    the food system

    •    human capacity building initiatives for change that are linked to needed policy changes

    •    the evolution of community interdependence

    Commitments and future development

    The day ended with positive aspirations and each person writing down a single commitment to take back and start working on. On the support side, Nourishing Networks (@nourishnetworks) has launched several community chapters and is enthusiastic about bringing in more entrepreneurs into the scene. On the policy side, Erin MacDougall, was there on behalf of the Healthy Eating and Active Living Program for Seattle & King County, and is quite passionate about taking on the systemic challenges that lead to difficulty accessing good healthy food. Our agreed focus for the news oasis is to connect community and journalists around issues of community need/civic importance to:
    •    Tell stories that matter because they link to felt need in community.
    •    Support community members to tell their own stories (create, disseminate and use their own stories) and link them to the “big” stories about the whole system.
    •    Reach out to professional journalists to ampl

  • Big Questions from #SIC2011 - The Seattle Interactive Conference

    1:53 pm on November 11, 2011 | 0 Comment Permalink
    Tags: Good Housekeeping, John SanGiovanni, Motor Trend, MSNBC, Popular Science, , The Week, Zumobi

    In my first post on the Seattle Interactive Conference, I went over some locally developed tools designed to make information more relevant and insightful. Mobile apps like Trover, which allows geo-discovery through photos, and Evri, which organizes ~15,000 news feeds into a friendly iPad interface, are useful on an individual level. But my concern is:

    How can they scale to community heights when it comes to breaking, spreading, and contextualizing important public information?

    This is not an easy question. To help answer it, I needed to figure out how the mobile sausage is made. So at SIC, I tracked down John SanGiovanni, co-founder of and product design VP for the Zumobi mobile network. It would be wrong to call Zumobi an “ad network,” because while they do serve ads to mobile devices, they also design and build the apps on which the ads run. Right now its “co-publishing network” is being used by some of the biggest heavy hitters in the content world, with clients that range from MSNBC and The Week magazine, to Popular Science, Good Housekeeping, Parenting Magazine, and Motor Trend.

    The good news is that SanGiovanni happily reported financial success on the journalism side of their business. He said their MSNBC app is “a whale” (very profitable) and both the advertisers and the publisher (MSNBC) are happy with the model they’ve set up. It’d be hard not to be, because Zumobi designs and builds the app absolutely free of charge to publishers whom they choose to work with. The company also helps with some of the ad sales, but as a co-publishing network, they expect the publisher to already have a drawer full of dedicated advertisers.

    The not-so-good news is that Zumobi only works with top tier clients and doesn’t have plans to scale down their model to independent and hyperlocal publishers. SanGiovanni assured me he’s a big fan of Maple Leaf Life and cares about supporting grassroots journalism, but it’s just not in the cards for Zumobi right now. The company prefers to swim with bigger fish.

    The reason why this is not-so-good news, rather than bad news completely, is that it means there are still entrepreneurial possibilities for co-publishing networks within the mobile hyperlocal space.

    [Read More on the Journalism Accelerator]

  • Report back from the #SIC2011 - The Seattle Interactive Conference

    1:53 pm on November 11, 2011 | 0 Comment Permalink
    Tags: Jason Karas, Location Based Marketing Association, , Trover

    Journalists have always covered the tech industry as a section of the newspaper, but now, due to the personal media explosion, the very existence of the trade is dependent on conversations and decisions that happen at events like this year’s Seattle Interactive Conference.

    #SIC2011 had many of the same trimmings as the now messianic #SXSWi (South By Southwest Interactive). The obligatory cute cartoon logos, fancy afterparties, overt corporate sponsorship, installation exhibits, free marketing schwag, and custom smartphone app were all part of the $300+ ticket, a tad steep for your average journalist trying to get a bite on how to stay alive.

    So how does this deliver in terms of fulfilling the “information needs of a community?”

    First let’s talk mobile. “Social/Local/Mobile” #SoLoMo was the expression I picked up from Jason Karas of Seattle startup Trover, who put up some interesting stats on rapid mobile adoption:

    • 350 million people are using Facebook through their phones
    • 4 billionTwitter posts come from phones each month (maybe not all through smartphones)
    • 1 billion photos are shared through phones each month (not clear if this is the entire web, or just social media)
    • 1 billion Foursquare checkins have been logged to date

    What’s more interesting is the motivation behind the SoLoMo phenomenon. The Location Based Marketing Association has research that breaks down the motivations of early adopters:

    • 54% want Discounts/Coupons
    • 33% want to meet friends
    • 32% want to learn about the location
    • 30% want to promote the location
    • 38% want to participate in games/contests/receive badges, e.g. become a “Mayor”

    The premise behind Trover is to tap into the human desire to discover and share discoveries, not by means of text reviews and pins on a map (Yelp and Foursquare), but through a rich photographic experience.

    My question to Jason was, how can Trover enable journalists and citizens alike to break stories and receive critical information in their communities?

    [Read More on the Journalism Accelerator]

  • KING5 gives away $10,000 check at #HackingNews

    6:00 am on October 17, 2011 | 0 Comment Permalink
    Tags: Adam Loving, Becker IV, , , , hackathon, , Leon Wong, Lewis Lin, , Mike Davidson, Mohammad Almalkawi, Shauna Causey, Startup Weekend, Vanessa Fox

    UPDATE: Mini Doc video from KING5 at bottom and criticism of the licensing agreement from open source developer Jeff Reifman (via Geekwire)

    King 5 Hackathon whiteboardHackathons are getting trendy. Not just in journalism, but health care, education, entrepreneurism, crisis management, mobile tech, government, and other arenas. Yes, it’s another technology buzz word, but one that hopefully sticks around and evolves into a combustible formula. Bringing together software experts and social leaders who sprint together to solve big challenges is a remarkable thing, especially when there’s a $10,000 prize attached to it.

    That’s the ante that KING 5 TV put up over the weekend, in the first ever hackathon run by the broadcast industry. The NBC affiliate’s digital media director, Mark Briggs, laid out his vision of unearthing quality news in the same way that one would find the right place to eat brunch in New York City. Describing his recent trip to the Big Apple, Briggs pointed out that finding a delicious spot could take hours, or it could take five minutes; the difference being whether you know someone who already lives there.

    Other information challenges were presented by co-organizer Shauna Causey and local meme expert Ben Huh, who both had different ways of expressing a similar need for relevant information served up in a dynamic, user friendly environment. Mr. Huh shared a mockup of his recently announced Moby Dick Project, which generated a warm current of ideas through the room, leading 12 people to step forward and pitch their solution in under two minutes.

    After punching away through the 48 hour weekend, “Dimensions” came out on top. Cooked up by Leon Wong and a team of four others (Mohammad Almalkawi, Lewis Lin, Adam Loving, Becker IV), Dimensions takes its own spin on on news filtration/curation. Based on the premise that even personalized RSS tools like Google Reader are still a dumping ground of too much information, Dimensions allows users to filter through their news feeds based on location, timeline, and friends’ interest. It has both a personalized element of delivering custom news that can be drilled down into various “dimensions,” as well as a social element, where you can view the different news feeds of your friends and other prominent users. The team managed to put up a live demo what was pretty impressive considering it manifested in 48 hours from start to finish.

    You can also check out the nine other projects that were demoed over the weekend by looking at the notes I jotted here (and feel free to fill in any details I may have missed).

    The other contenders also had some pretty nifty hacks to share. There were projects designed to break stories and publish audio through your phone, serve up personalized news based on similarities to others, and collaboratively curate tweets based on importance as well as chronology.

    The Crowd

    Grinding around the clock is not for the faint of heart. Roughly one half of the 65 people who signed up actually made it out to the Friday night kickoff, followed by a 30% evaporation of people by the start of the first working day. Part of the dissipation was due to another mobile hackathon hosted by AT&T the same weekend.

    Participants could sign up as a designer (8), news geek (30), technologist (21), or developer (11).

    As is typical in tech situations, the demographic was skewed heavily male. In fact, you could count the number female competitors on your nose (two). However, some have worked to change that with a ladies-only hackathon.

    Based on a show of hands, half the crowd reported that they had already been to a hackathon before. Some were graduates of Startup Weekend (which began in Seattle), others had helped with Random Hacks of Kindness and Crisis Commons.

    As expected, there was clear presence of Seattle’s tech industry amongst the room. The event took place on Adobe’s Fremont campus, who donated their shiny space and helped purchase some of the food. Amazon gave away a $50 of free AWS Cloud hosting to all participants who showed up and also footed the pizza bill. The winning team had a current Microsoft employee on board, as well as a former one who had recently walked away from his job a few weeks earlier to start up his own company. Most people were locals, though one pair came up from Portland, and one fellow even flew in from San Francisco to bust his chops for both the KING5 and AT&T hackathons. There were at least a few startups that were represented amongst the crowd as well, the ones I met with were from Timber Software and DocuSign..

    Also interesting were two Microsoft employees hovering the room who were evangelizing the Open Data Protocol (Odata), which they happily develop during their day jobs. They were very helpful in providing general information not just about their product, but all things big data, and even let me pick their brains about various pet peeves and challenges across tech in general. Although they were very candid and unbiased in their opinions, it’s worth mentioning that employees of big companies like Microsoft sign a contract that they cannot participate in certain activities outside of the job (i.e. hackathons) that may conflict with the business interests of their employer. They chose to forfeit their odds of competing for the $10,000 in order to avoid brushing up against any sort of dispute, but were pleasantly willing to donate their time to help others succeed.

    So what’s next…

    Even a $10,000 prize will have a tough time answering a few million dollar questions.

    If you build it, will they come?

    As evidenced by the lackluster adoption and later abandonment of Google Wave, even really cool tools have to be picked up by a fair amount of people in order to stay healthy and remain useful. It’s easy to forget how wide the digital divide really is, and difficult to predict what kind of new habits people are willing to adopt. Are there enough news junkies out there who will want to add yet another tool into their consumption diet?

    If you build it, will it stand?

    Similar to other high energy gatherings, hackathons still have a “post-conference blues” effect. Many projects with good intentions undergo silent decay once the creators step back into the vortex of life’s routines. It was good to hear that local disaster expert Pascal Schuback is still working tirelessly to get the MadPub framework deployed on a national scale (built in Seattle during Random Hacks of Kindness 2.0), and he reported feeling optimistic about its eventual adoption by FEMA and other government agencies. However he told me that it’s rare to see hackathon projects evolve into live deployable applications.

    It is undetermined if KING 5 will find a way to integrate Dimensions into their news product, but Briggs spoke of his intention to be a liaison for the project and see what happens. It would be interesting to see KING 5 reporters themselves using the app to share the “dimensions” of stories that they both report, as well as consume.

    Regardless of the tangible outcomes, there is still a feeling of accomplishment that pervades the hackathon spirit. Professional networking is inevitable when working under a time crunch with a room full of strangers, and everyone walks away having learned a little bit more about what it takes to make technology work for the rest of us.

    Image credit by Lucas Anderson

    (More …)

  • InfoCamp Seattle – Oct. 8th

    9:54 am on October 9, 2011 | 0 Comment Permalink
    Tags: information architecture, library science

    Saturday, October 08, 2011 at 8:00 AM – Sunday, October 09, 2011 at 5:00 PM (PT)

    tickets & info on Eventbrite (sold out!)

    Follow #infocampseattle for live updates

    Join us at InfoCamp Seattle 2011 for an exciting weekend of talking & learning about:

    – user experience
    – information architecture
    – user-centered design
    – interaction design
    – library & information science
    – online search
    – information management
    – informatics
    – anything relating to the intersection of information, people and/or technology!

    An invited speaker will kick off each day before we leap into multiple tracks of participant-led sessions & discussions. We’ll provide a light breakfast, lunch, coffee, and snacks to keep the energy up.

    The environment is informal, fluid and dynamic, utilizing tried and true structures along with fresh new ideas to encouraging engagement and collaboration. Everyone who attends is a participant.  Participants are just as likely to break out markers and whiteboards, as much as projectors. As always, it will be you, the participants, talking amongst yourselves, driving the content of InfoCamp.

    Want to learn more?

    – For more info check out InfoCamp Seattle
    – Follow Twitter for updates
    – Join our mailing list or contact seattle@infocamp.org

    Can’t wait to see you this October at the University of Washington!

  • J-Day, UofW Seattle - Sept 15th

    9:54 am on August 30, 2011 | 0 Comment Permalink

    Join  800+ high school media students and their advisers for a day on the UofW Seattle campus. Attend two morning sessions presented by media professionals from area print /broadcast/online media (25 sessions on a range of topics.)

    After lunch, attend hear from keynoter Linda Thomas, “The News Chick”

    12 per student/adviser (WJEA member)
    $18 per student/adviser (not WJEA member)

    Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011 | WJEA Journalism Day
    University of Washington, Seattle campus | 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

    (More …)

  • Librarians + Journalists = match made in heaven?

    9:48 am on July 2, 2011 | 0 Comment Permalink

    [vimeo width=”400″ height=”225″]http://vimeo.com/25585289[/vimeo] I remember how it felt to discover that chocolate and strawberries are a little different, but still go amazingly well together. That’s how I’ve been feeling about JTM’s Beyond Books initiative, and we’ve had some exciting stuff happening, with Seattle crew on board.

    Mike Fancher (Commons co-founder, retired Seattle Times Exec. Editor) & Marsha Iverson (King County Libraries) were at the #ALA11 convention in New Orleans last week, and here’s Mike’s takeaway.

    I was on a panel at the American Library Association conference in New Orleans, discussing strategic partnerships between journalists and librarians. The lively discussion lasted two hours, with lots of enthusiasm and ideas from the audience.

    I talked about the report of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy and my just-release policy paper, “Re-Imagining Journalism: Local News for a Networked World.”

    One clear impression from the panel discussion is that people think this is a worthwhile topic at a critical time for both professions. My key takeaways:

    • Librarians see civic engagement as an important element in what they do and how they make their case for public support. Civic engagement helps democracy, but it also has economic benefits to communities.

    • Digital literacy is a core competency of libraries. It needs to be actively advanced and promoted.

    • Institutional inertia could be a barrier in some library systems. Students are being trained for a new library culture, but the needed cultural change may come slowly in some systems. (This is a great topic to explore for libraries and journalism.)

    • People are excited about early results from LibrariUS, a partnership among the American Public Media Public, the ALA and its Public Library Association division. Attendees offered several ideas and examples for extending it.

    • Several people spoke glowing about their experience at the Biblionews conference at MIT in April. Two items stood out: 1) the JTM methodology for bringing together people from different backgrounds and disciplines; 2) the use of information technology to capture the experience immediately and permanently. The librarians were particularly interested in the second item.

    • The library community is ready to move ahead; bringing journalists along may be a tougher challenge. (That’s my view, not the librarians’.)

    • Higher education needs to be a partner.

    The nexus of journalism, libraries and civic engagement is a terrific area for Journalism That Matters to continue to be a catalyst.

  • Seattle Digital Literacy Camp - Underway!

    1:53 pm on June 28, 2011 | 0 Comment Permalink
    Tags: , youth

    The Seattle Digital Literacy Summer Institute is well under way this week for youth age 13-19.

    You can follow updates on the program via the Seattle Digital Literacy Initiative Facebook Page

    Or visit seattledigitalliteracy.com

  • UW Masters of Communication in Digital Media Screen Summit

    10:26 am on June 12, 2011 | 0 Comment Permalink
    Tags: #MCDM, Hanson Hosein, University of Washington

    I’m assuming people around here know the #MCDM acronym by now. The Masters of Communication in Digital Media program, which spawned 10 years ago at the University of Washington, has just announced its largest graduating class (55 people), surpassing that of all other Comm department graduate students proudly deploying their cap and gown this weekend.

    Director Hanson Hosein spoke of the program as more than just a model to address the challenges of the digital disruption, but a model for academia itself. The MCDM was the first non-state funded program at UW and is one of the few currently standing. After hosting the succesful TedxSeattle and TedxRainer events, they ramped up their public interface and introduced the Four Peaks salon speaker series (featured in more detail from Seattle Magazine). Their Flip the Media blog is well received across the web, and their Media Space television program is the most popular on UWTV, reaching 300,000 viewers per month. Hosein is testing a self-publishing model for his write-as-you-go book “Storyteller Uprising” which is available for free online, though I decided to buy myself a $10 hard copy which he slings around with him from place to place. MCDM founder Anthony Giffard has a lifelong track record of being a positive agitator, first as a white South African born journalist covering the dismantlement of apartheid, then as a faculty member of a “whites only” university who ignored resistance from his colleagues when he used an administrative loophole to hand a degree to the first student of color at Rhodes University.

    Mr. Giffard shared his heartfelt story at the podium and delivered two “make the chanage” awards for innovation in digital media.

    The first was received by Adam Brotman of Starbucks, who won the award for its in-store Starbucks Digital Network, a content delivery service launched last year in partnership with Yahoo. Brotman is also a member of the MCDM Advisory Board with other local industry leaders.

    The second award went to Dan Savage, for his “It get’s better” project which became a textbook example of an “around the world in 80 clicks” type viral campaign done right. The famed Stranger editor and columnist was moved to take action after learning about the teen suicides of Justin Aaberg and Billy Lucas, and inspired 20,000+ others to make personal testimony videos like his to remind bullied homosexual youth to stick it out because it gets better later on. He even managed to get a bunch of well known folks like Jewel, Hillary Clinton, President Obama, Sarah Silverman, Perez Hilton, and Tim Gunn to share their own stories. (Read Geekwire’s post to learn about how his campaign turned into an ad for Google Chrome).

    Besides the usual speech and applause routine, we also got to see a full showcase of student projects presented in a walkaround convention style setting. The space was actually a bit too jammed for me to interact face to face with everyone, but I caught some cool portfolios (i.e. Filiz Efe), an online news game for public radio, a “cinema in a backpack” entrepreneurship program launched by Disney in Nicaragua, and a mobile video chat system to help Korean students learn English (also won $25k for placing first at the UW business plan competition).

    Keep your eyes out as MCDM continues to grow and put Seattle based digital media on notice for the rest of the world.

    [original event announcement below]

    Tickets and info via Eventbright page

    “This June, we are hosting the inauguration of a new annual networking event to showcase the amazing work our students have done and continue to do in the MCDM. The first annual MCDM Screen Summit will be held on Friday, June 10, 5:30-7:30pm at the Portage Bay Cafe – South Lake Union location. The event will be bookended with an opening introduction and welcome by Hanson Hosein, current Director of the MCDM, and a closing speech and presentation of the Anthony C. Giffard “Make the Change” Award by Anthony Giffard, creator of the MCDM. Of course, refreshments will be served.

    The bulk of the Screen Summit will be an opportunity for students to present their work on the screen of their choice, be it smart phone, tablet, or laptop. The focus will be on mingling and networking between students, alumni, MCDM Advisory Board members, faculty, and community members, with each student presenter stationed at a table (think poster session with screens instead of posters).”

  • Report – Hacks/Hackers Seattle & Knight-Mozilla News Innovation Challenge

    11:20 am on May 15, 2011 | 5 comments Permalink
    Tags: Al-Jazeera, BBC, hacks/hackers, html5, knight foundation, Marian Liu, mozilla foundation, Sally James, , The Boston Globe

    Mozilla is best known for Firefox, the open source darling loved by millions which showed us that a browser is more than just a way to load websites, it’s a way to customize your experience of the web itself. Under new direction from Mark Surman, Mozilla is growing new legs to go beyond Firefox. They recently launched #Drumbeat as an effort to do more than just build portals, they are now seeking to change the flesh and bones of the internet itself to make it more open, accessible, and free (see project examples from drumbeat.org).

    It was recently announced that Mozilla received a hefty sum of money from the Knight Foundation to bring journalism along for the ride.

    The three year Knight-Mozilla News Challenge dubbed #MoJo (for Mozilla + Journalism) is now in full throttle with five news partners on board (BBC, Al-Jazeera, Boston Globe, Zeit Online, and The Guardian) who will host five fellows with full salary to innovate from inside the newsroom. 10 more fellows will come along the way in the next coming years, but until then, the heat is on and challenge submissions are underway.

    Mozilla asked me to link up with the Seattle chapter of Hacks/Hackers, an organization that shares a similar MoJo hybrid theory of bringing together journalists (hacks) + technologists (hackers) with the goal of changing news for the better. One week later we threw together a sold out Brainstorm 2011 that brought in journalists and technologists throughout the city who came to mash up ideas and enter the challenge. (More …)

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