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  • 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]

  • Mapping Our Voices for Equality

    11:00 am on October 24, 2011 | 0 Comment Permalink
    Tags: Matt Rosenberg, Northwest, , Public Eye,

    Matt Rosenberg of the Public Data Ferret blogs about another example of emerging media in Greater Seattle.

    MOVE — Mapping Our Voices for Equality — is a government-funded effort to enable people to tell their stories about healthy living. It is another example of providing a journalistic service outside the context of traditional journalistic organizations. MOVE helps people tell their own stories, in their own voices.

  • Seattle Journalism Commons Project Report

    1:30 pm on October 20, 2011 | 0 Comment Permalink

    Thanks to support from The Patterson Foundation, the Seattle Journalism Commons, in partnership with Lisa Skube — creator of the Journalism Accelerator, ran a 6-month experiment in supporting the people in the Puget Sound region’s emergning news and information network.  The executive overview is below.  The full report is attached: SJC Final Project Report



    The intent of the project was to cultivate a robust, collaborative regional network of people in the news and information community by sharing resources, learning from one another, and documenting area activities – doing journalism on journalism.

    What did we do?

    We reached out to understand what the local journalism community wanted.   They told us that they would like:

    • The means to connect in person and online
    • An online space to share resources and learn from each other
    • A simple means to know what’s happening in the area – a shared calendar and reporting on activities

    We organized to meet these needs and took action.  We brought people together face-to-face and online, curated a calendar, and did “journalism on journalism”.  For example, we have original coverage of local journalism activities not found elsewhere:

    We reflected on the experience and made plans for our next steps (see “What’s next” below).

    One team member analyzed the online information flow among food organizations in the Puget Sound region.

    How did it go?

    We took a nebulous concept – a “journalism commons” and gave it form.  We drew people in, formed a great working team, and found wonderful partners – notably Lisa Skube and the Journalism Accelerator.  Our biggest obstacle was technology. The site wasn’t as user friendly as we hoped and our technical support person took a full time job just as we were getting started.

    What did we learn?

    • Fertile soil makes for healthy growth.
    • Partners help!
    • A trusted agent on the team provides access.
    • Diversity is a good thing.
    • Face to face matters.
    • Technical expertise is a precious and essential resource.
    • Dedicate adequate time.
    • Keep evolving.

    What’s next?

    We’re reaching out to the leaders of the local chapters of:

    • Society for Professional Journalists
    • Asian American Journalism Association,
    • Online News Association, and
    • Hacks and Hackers

    We believe that we share goals and expect that partners can help with technology, infrastructure, and funding support.

    We are investigating an alternative technology route: integrating tools people already use, such as Google Groups and Twitter, into the site.

    The mapping of the food network may inform another initiative of Journalism That Matters: identifying and addressing “media deserts” – areas of limited news coverage.

    How does our work connect with others in the field?

    Given a healthy local news and information ecosystem is essential to a healthy community, this project has helped to shed light on how to foster a spirit of collaboration among people of the local news and information ecosystem. 

    What’s our advice to others?

    • Get clear about who your community is and what they need
    • Focus on delivering on a few pivotal needs
    • Seek partners that, together, bring expertise, adequate time, funding, infrastructure, and access to key people in the community
    • Keep experimenting and adjusting as you learn
  • 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

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

  • #NewsNext with Josh Trujillo, staff photographer at the Seattle P-I

    1:33 pm on October 1, 2011 | 0 Comment Permalink
    Tags: , , , , ,

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011, 7:00 PM

    From the #NewsNext ONA SPJ(Online News Association & Society of Professional Journalists) collaboration. More info on

    This is our fifth in a series of the #Newsnext meetups, where we’re talking to interesting locals working in the digital space. If you’re interested in gathering with writers, editors, photographers, producers, developers, designers, engineers and anyone else with an interest in the production of news, Jillian’s will have a cash bar and some great space to meet with like-minded digital professionals.

    List of attendees are also on the Meetup page.

  • NW Photojournalism Visual Storytelling Night

    1:29 pm on September 8, 2011 | 0 Comment Permalink
    Tags: multimedia,

    Photo: Jordan Stead

    Photo: Jordan Stead

    Photo Slam! Thursday, September 8, 2011, 6pm in the Pioneer Passages alley between 1st Avenue S & Occidental Ave S and Yesler Way & S Washington St

    NW Photojournalism, a network for visual storytellers in the Pacific Northwest, hosted a visual storytelling slam in one of Pioneer Square’s history alleyways.

    Local, professional journalists presented 5 to 8 minute photographic essays and multimedia projects on a variety of topics.

    Sponsors included: International Sustainability Institute, Glazers Camera, 4Culture, MID, Waste Management, Historic South Downtown.

    NW Photojournalism believes in the power of visual storytelling. Support of the craft is important as the media landscape changes and evolves. Questions-

    The Alleyway Network Project:

  • Seattle fashion bloggers looking sharp in Pacific Northwest Magazine

    11:27 am on September 4, 2011 | 0 Comment Permalink
    Tags:,, it'smydarlin'.com,, Pacific Northwest Magazine, , ,,

    The Seattle Journalism Commons includes a list of noteworthy local blogs and news sites that are redefining news and information in the Greater Seattle area. Pacific Northwest Magazine highlights a category not yet on the list — fashion bloggers.

    The delightful article by Janet I. Tu, with stylish photos by Ellen M. Banner, says style bloggers are making their mark nationally. “In Seattle, too — not exactly known as fashion central, though it’s probably fairer to say we’re practical even when fashion-conscious — style bloggers are making their presence felt,” the story says.

    In addition to featuring several local bloggers, the article includes a list of style blogs  from around here:


    It’s My Darlin’

    Seattle a la Mode

    The Emerald Closet

    Lindsay Living

    Bora Bora Style

    Hey Pretty Thing

    Abiola (pronounce Ah-bee-aw-la), creator of Bora Bora Style, posted a note about the magazine article on her site. She says:

    “It’s jarring and somewhat liberating how much weight style bloggers hold in the world of fashion today, but why shouldn’t we, we’re someone to know! Fashion gives us the good stuff, the wearable art we’re inspired by, but it’s when you take that wearable art and make it your own that it becomes style, and that’s what we all want to see – ‘style on a girl like me'(as in all of us women occupying this earth), hints the birth of bloggers. Gotta love us.”

    Whether you are interested in fashion or not, this magazine piece reveals yet another aspect of Seattle’s vibrant emerging media scene. Let us know these entrepreneurs talk about how they are doing and what others can learn from their endeavors.

    Let us know if you’d like to attend a discussion with these entrepreneurs of how they are doing and what advice they can offer.

  • 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 …)

  • Seattle couple completes 50-state newspaper tour

    4:37 pm on August 16, 2011 | 0 Comment Permalink
    Tags: AEJMC, Frank Blethen, Paul Steinle, Sara Brown, , Who Needs Newspapers?

    Seattleites Paul Steinle and Sara Brown have completed a year-long road trip to answer the question, “Who needs newspapers?” They presented their findings last week at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (AEJMC) national convention in St. Louis.

    The findings of their 50-state tour are available on the Who Needs Newspapers? website. The bottom line, Steinle told the AEJMC audience, is “Newspapers are not sitting in hospice.” They are transforming themselves for the digital world with multimedia content on multiple platforms.

    The husband and wife drove a truck pulling a fifth-wheel trailer across the country. They visited one newspaper in each state with three goals:

    1. Provide the newspaper industry fresh information about how change is being managed — with an emphasis on what works and what doesn’t work;
    2. Clarify the value of local newspapers for the public; and
    3. Collect useful insights for students considering journalism careers.

    The WNN website includes reports from each state. In Washington, Steinle and Brown interviewed Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen, Executive Editor David Boardman andother  senior editors. Videotapes of the interviews are on the site.

    Each state report includes a large amount of data about the publication, including staff size, circulation, web traffic and key contacts. The project is an amazing accomplishment.

    As for who needs newspapers, the website acknowledges it is an ironic rhetorical question. “But the fact is, since 1704 when the Boston News-Letter hit the streets, the news agenda in the United States has been largely dictated by the local newspaper industry. Newspapers play a critical civic role: local newspaper reporters are the source of most of the original enterprise reporting in the USA.”

    Brown, Ph.D., is a veteran of the newspaper industry as a human resource professional, management trainer, columnist and educator. She was vice president of human resources at The Columbian in Vancouver, Washington, and manager of organization development at the Los Angeles Times. She holds an M.S. from the University of San Francisco and a doctorate in human and organization systems from the Fielding Graduate Institute.

    Steinle is a veteran journalist, news media manager and journalism educator. He was the president of UPI and the Financial News Network; a news director at KING-TV in Seattle, and associate provost at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon. Steinle has an M.B.A. from Harvard and an M.S. from Syracuse University.

    WNN is an initiative of Valid Sources, a Seattle-based non-profit organization formed to “identify and promote excellent, ethically-balanced journalism.” The organization says of itself:

    Our mission is to identify models of excellence, which aspire to seek the truth and report it, to document these activities and to raise these profiles. This organization seeks to fulfill two goals:

    • Elevate the public’s understanding of the value of ethically-balanced journalism, and
    • Inform the journalism community of best journalism practices.
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