Tag Archives: Boston

NYTimes.com: Gates Foundation invests in world health reporting

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is helping to fund better coverage of world health issues by news outlets.

The foundation has made a series of million-dollar grants to organisations including WGBH in Boston, Public Radio International and the International Center for Journalists.

Geo-what? Oh, it’s coming to the UK soon…

This week saw the launch of a hyperlocal news map for the Liverpool Echo, as announced by Sly Bailey at the AOP Digital Publishing Summit (follow link for report in MediaGuardian).

It geotags news content so each user can search for news by postcode.

Nothing new there, web-savvy newshounds might think, but actually it is:

Though Archant announced plans for geotagged sites last October (it started with Jobs24 – a winner at yesterday’s NS ADM Awards – and Homes24 and has plans to roll out geotagged news content in 2008) to date we’re still waiting for the official launch of geotagged news.

Yesterday we reported that American site outside.in will be launching in the UK, which will link news with local areas (as localised as users specify). Outside.in thinks its opportunity has come about as a result of:

“The demand for personalized information on the web, and the failure of the newspaper industry to capitalize on featuring hyperlocal content” (Nina Grigoriev, outside.in)

Journalism.co.uk thought it was time for a bit of a run-down on the development of geotagging in the UK.

First, what is it?
Journalists record the locations referred to in each story and add their postcodes as metadata when uploading their copy to the web.

In that way, geotagged content allows users to prioritise the news they see online according to postcodes.

Where are we at in the UK?
The Liverpool Echo is the first site (of the large publishing groups) to do so in the UK. Although other sites have incorporated mapping into their sites, no other places has successfully incorporated news content as well.

The BBC plans to invest £68 million across its network of local sites, which will be decided upon by the BBC Trust in February 2009. Online Journalism Blog reported a sneak preview in January 2008, though the BBC have since asked us not to refer to the sites as ‘hyperlocal’.

Critics such as Trinity Mirror’s CEO, Sly Bailey, have voiced concerns over the BBC’s local video proposals, saying they will provide ‘unfair competition’ for the regional media.

Northcliffe is also developing geotagged content on its revamped thisis sites, and told Press Gazette in June the process has been difficult: “Because not all stories affect only one specific point, the company is finding geocoding challenging,” Hardie said.

According to the article: “The localisation functions will remain hidden until journalists have built up enough stories with postcode data.”

Back in July 2007 we saw reports of Sky geotagging its news, but it hasn’t developed at the same speed or as widely as in the US.

What’s happening in the US?
Everyblock is developing fast across the US. It’s a new experiment in journalism and data, offering feeds of local information and data for every city block in Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC, with more cities to come. Not in the UK yet, but watch this space.

Elsewhere, the Washington Post has used outside.in’s maps for their own site, while the New York Times’ Boston.com (the online Boston Globe) uses MetaCarta’s geographic search technology for maps.

So, what does this mean for UK based geotagging?
With the arrival of highly efficient US based sites such as outside.in (who said an UK based office is a possibility) maybe it’s time for Archant, Trinity Mirror and Northcliffe to get their skates on before it’s too late.

Please send us your examples of UK based geotagged content, from formal publications or otherwise, as we want to track it as it expands in the UK.

(Then we can make a geotagged feed and map of geotagging in journalism. Then our heads might explode)

Innovations in Journalism – ReportingOn

reporting on image

1) Who are you and what’s it all about?

I’m Ryan Sholin, I work at GateHouse Media in the US, I’m a graduate student at San Jose State University working on a degree in Mass Communications, and I’ve been blogging at ryansholin.com for three years now, mostly about the future of newspapers and journalism education.

The idea for ReportingOn came to me as I saw more and more tools for journalists to share what they were reading, but very few to share what they were writing.

I’m all for aggregating links and social bookmarking – I use Google Reader, Delicious, and even Twitter as my filters for the onslaught of information and news out there on the Web – but I saw two key connections left to be made.

The first connection links reporters with a common beat to one another. If I’m reporting on local alternative energy start-ups in Silicon Valley, and you’re reporting on local alternative energy start-ups in Boston, we could mutually benefit from sharing angles and ideas.

The second connection links readers with beat reporters. If readers find themselves wishing for more reporting on local alternative energy start-ups in general, there should be a place to express that.

So I call ReportingOn “the backchannel for your beat.”

This isn’t about the craft of journalism – this is about the nuts and bolts of finding angles, sources, and data to bolster local news reporting.

2) Why would this be useful to a journalist?

Sometimes in newsrooms, we find ourselves isolated from the rest of the journalism world. Our local peers are often the competition. When we meet up with colleagues from out of town, it’s at conferences or email lists or websites based on methods and craft, but rarely actual reporting.

ReportingOn will give journalists an easy way to connect with others working the same beat across the state or across the continent.

3) Is this it, or is there more to come?

Oh, there’s more to come.

What’s live right now is a simple script that ties into Twitter. Anyone with a Twitter ID can send a tweet to reportingon (@reportingon in Twitter parlance) and it will show up at reportingon.com and in the reportingon Twitter stream.

The next step will be a site, most likely built in Drupal, where any journalist can sign up and post short updates that answer the question “What are you reporting on?”

The fun part is surfacing the replies in a way that makes it easy to find your peers. The taxonomy system in a CMS like Drupal makes it simple to surface, for example, all the posts about alternative energy.

So imagine a site where the front page has a few lists: recent posts, recent topics, and popular topics.

The ‘popular topics’ list might have entries like: “231 journalists are reporting on alternative energy”. Clicking on 231 gets you a list of the journalists; clicking on alternative energy takes you to the page where everything posted about alternative energy is aggregated.

A second piece of the site will allow “readers” to vote on what topics they would like to see more … reporting on.

Once the site is built and users are showing up, I could see adding a Facebook application that would let users display recent posts from the topic of their choice on their Facebook profile.

4) Why are you doing this?

I saw a need to connect reporters to each other. So much local news lacks context, lacks a clear idea of where a local event fits into a larger trend, whether we’re talking about drunken driving or school funding or foreclosures.

Twitter has been a big inspiration, as well. I’ve been impressed at how casual, public conversation can be packed with information and benefit to anyone willing to ask questions and give answers freely.

Plus, I’m planning to launch the next stage of ReportingOn as a part of the requirements to finish my graduate degree.

5) What does it cost to use it?

Absolutely nothing.

6) How will you make it pay?

This is a non-profit endeavour as far as I’m concerned. That said, I’m actively looking for grants to help with server costs, advertising, and promotion.