Journalism 3G: The Future of Technology in the Field

This two-day conference in Atlanta, Georgia, took place Friday, March 22nd to Saturday, March 23rd. It brought together some extremely bright people doing some fascinating things at the intersection of computation and journalism.

Here are just a few of the examples there I found particularly interesting:

Everyblock – a location-based aggregator of crime statistics, news articles, Craigslist postings, and a ton of other publicly available information sources displayed at the neighborhood level. Everyblock currently operates in New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

Global Voices – a global network of paid and volunteer bloggers who monitor the blogospheres around the world and report back in English on the site.

Django – an open-sourced Web framework utilized by many news organizations for more robust Web publishing. Lead developer Jacob Kaplan-Moss asserted (and was challenged on it) that with Django, journalists could (and perhaps should) learn enough programming to free them from the time and resource restraints of their newsrooms.

News at Seven – a broadcast-ish production that creates a personalized news piece. Users input a few preferences, and the program pulls a news piece, checks Wikipedia, finds video, images and blog reactions and creates a broadcast reported by avatars.

“Evangelical Power Vastly Diminished Headed Into Super Tuesday”

OffTheBus MastheadThe so-called “evangelical vote,” often cited by media analysts as a crucial constituency in securing the Republican nomination, is likely to exercise considerably less influence this cycle, according to a series of interviews with clergy and political analysts conducted by HuffPost’s OffTheBus {citizen journalism project.}

I recently participated in the Huffington Post’s OffTheBus citizen journalism project, which can be read at the above link. I interviewed Executive Pastor Marty Thompson of Bethel Evangelical Free Church in Fargo, North Dakota, for the piece.

It was my first such participation in a citizen journalism project and I was both impressed with Amanda Michel, Marc Cooper and Dan Truel for coordinating the effort, as well as pleased with the final result. Although many of the issues discussed in the article fell outside the scope of my specific conversation with Pastor Thompson, I still felt my interview informed the article and helped the group arrive at a collective truth regarding the so-called “Evangelical vote” leading up to Super Tuesday. Namely, we dispelled the notion that evangelical Christians are somehow to be perceived of as a homogeneous voting bloc in the United States, a notion reflected in my particular interview with Marty Thompson.