Tag Archives: Technology/Internet

Guardian hyperlocal platform n0tice now open to all

The Guardian’s latest venture into hyperlocal publishing is now open to all with the “full open release” of n0tice.

Matt McAlister, director of digital strategy for the Guardian Media Group, presented the social, local, mobile offering at today’s Changing Media Summit.

The seed of the idea came out of a Guardian Hack Day project inspired by geolocation services.

McAlister explained the concept to Journalism.co.uk, which has tracked the progress of n0tice:

If the phone knows where you are and if I see something interesting around me, why can’t I report on that and be an active citizen journalist or participant?

The team evolved the idea into “a community service explicitly tied to a location, almost as a navigation or a filter for finding information”.

Since accepting members by invitation only, early users have been influencing its development.

The platform has opportunities for hyperlocal news sites, which can brand a noticeboard, tracking interaction using web analytics.

Some hyperlocals have adopted n0tice as “their events database, essentially submitting events directly onto notice but with their brand and look and feel”.

McAlister explained that it can increase engagement for hyperlocals.

WordPress is a wonderful publishing environment but it’s not as good as crowdsourcing reports. You can get someone to comment on something you’ve written but it’s not as good for letting anyone share anything original directly into a community space.

The platform also has wider opportunities for hyperlocals and other users: they can potentially make money by creating a noticeboard.

Based on a classifieds system with users paying for premium ads, noticeboard owners keep 85 per cent of the revenue generated.

Here Matt McAlister explains the project’s development:

BuzzData, a ‘social network for people who work with data’

Data gets its own social network today (2 August), with the launch of BuzzData, which its CEO describes as “a cross between Wikipedia for data and Flickr for data”.

BuzzData is due to launch in public beta later when Canada, where the start-up is based, wakes up.

It launched in private beta last week to allow a few of us to test it out.

What is BuzzData?

BuzzData is a “social network for people who work with data”, CEO Mark Opausky told Journalism.co.uk.

Users can upload data, data visualisations, articles and any background documentation on a topic or story. Other BuzzData users can then follow your data, comment on it, download it and clone it.

Members of the Toronto-based team hope the platform will be a space where data journalists come together with researchers and policy makers in order to innovate.

They have thought about who could potentially use the social network and believe there are around 15 million people who deal with statistics – whether that data be around sport, climate change and social inequalities – and who are “interested in seeing the data and the conversation that goes on around certain pieces of data”, Opausky said.

We are a specialised facility for people who wish to exchange data with each other, share data, talk about it, converse on it, clone it, change it, merge it and mash it up with other data to see what kind of innovative things may happen.

BuzzData does not allow you to create data visualisations or upload them in a way which makes beautiful graphics immediately visible. That is what recently-launched tool Visual.ly does.

How is BuzzData of use to journalists?

BuzzData allows you to share data either publicly or within a closed network.

Indeed, a data reporter from Telegraph.co.uk has requested access to see if BuzzData could work for the newspaper as a data-publishing platform, according to a member of BuzzData’s team.

Opausky explained that journalists can work by “participating in a data conversation and by initiating one” and gave an example of how journalism can be developed through the sharing of data.

It allows the story to live on and in some cases spin out other more interesting stories. The journalists themselves never know where this data is going to go and what someone on the other side of the world might do with it.

Why does data need a social network?

Asked what sparked the idea of BuzzData, which has secured in excess of $1 million funding from angels investors, Opausky explained that it was down to a need for such a tool by Peter Forde, who is chief technology officer.

He had spent many years studying the data problem and he was frustrated that there wasn’t some open platform where people could work together and share this stuff and he had a nagging suspicion that there was a lot of innovation not happening because information was siloed.

Going deeper than that, we recognised that data itself isn’t particularly useful until you can put it into context, until you can wrap it around a topic or apply it to an issue or give it a cause. And then even when you have context the best, at that point, you have is information and it doesn’t become knowledge until you add people to it. So his big idea was let’s take data, let’s add context and lets help wrap communities of people round this thing and that’s where innovation happens.

You can sign up for BuzzData at this link. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.


Adobe Edge promises animations viewable on Apple devices

Adobe has launched the first HTML5 editing tool: Adobe Edge. The new software allows designers to create animations for news sites using HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript rather than Flash.

Unlike animations built in Flash, Edge moving graphics can be viewed on Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

Edge Preview is now available as a free download for both Mac and PC while Adobe encourages and gathers feedback.

According to a release:

Edge Preview 1 focuses primarily on animation and motion, with upcoming previews featuring additional creative capabilities and functionality.

Adobe states that Edge is designed for evaluation purposes only.

We do not recommended that this release be used on production systems or for any mission-critical work.

Even those without previous experience of creating animations can have a go at importing pictures and graphics, adding text and drawing simple shapes, and then add them to the timeline and try out key framing and transitions.

Users can then add the animation to news stories. Adobe explains how this is done.

Edge stores all of its animation in a separate JavaScript file that cleanly distinguishes the original HTML from Edge’s animation code. Edge makes minimal, non-intrusive changes to the HTML code to reference the JavaScript and CSS files it creates.

An article on ReadWriteWeb explains how Adobe has released Edge to sit alongside Flash rather than immediately replace it.

If you are a designer, let us know how you get on with Adobe Edge by leaving a comment below

New online audio startup Broadcastr bets on location

Developers in Brooklyn, New York are working on a platform that allows people to upload audio stories and geolocates them on a world map.

Broadcastr, which the developers describe as a social media platform for location-based stories’, launched recently in beta.

The service is similar to the UK-based audio platform AudioBoo in terms of geolocation, but it is different in that Broadcastr’s site is entirely based on a world map.

The beta site already includes eyewitness reports from the Brisbane floods, and the site is working with Human Rights Watch in Egypt to encourage audio uploads.

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk, spokesperson Kate Petty said that in cases where a country’s internet is blocked, Broadcastr could set up a voicemail service for witnesses to leave messages via a phone rather than uploading them directly to the website. Petty likened the facility to a similar response from Twitter’s when the internet was blocked during anti-government protests in Egypt.

Asked if broadcasters can use the audio reports, she explained that the contributor keeps the copyright but said the site makes it clear to those uploading audio that they are offering it up to an open community.

Petty added that it would take at least six months before the full site could be released. Free iPhone and Android apps will also be available.

Co-founder and president of Broadcastr (and former snowboarder) Scott Lindenbaum acknowledged they are not alone in developing audio-based social media applications. “The start-up space is competitive, like snowboarding, and you want to be successful, but it’s also about seeing what’s possible, and advancing the community as a whole.”

Andy Hunter, co-founder and CEO added: “Just like Facebook proved that our friends are important, Broadcastr will prove that our neighbourhoods are important.”

Petty was unable to reveal the cost of creating the startup, but said it is currently funded by developers’ friends and family.

Nieman Journalism Lab: How Ushahidi can be use by media organisations

Patrick Meier, Ushahidi’s director of crisis mapping and strategic partnerships, talks to Nieman Journalism about how the crowdsourced mapping technology can be used by media organisations in the video below.

There’s a full transcript of Meier’s comments on the Nieman site too. Ushahidi has previously been used as a crisis management tool with its initial launch used to track and monitor acts of violence and the humanitarian situation during post-election violence in Kenya.

OWNI: Hacks/hackers founder on lessons from technology for journalists

Interview with Burt Herman, one of the founders of Hacks/Hackers, in which he discusses the origins of the group, which tries to bring journalists and technologists together.

Everyone can be a reporter when news happens, sending Tweets, and uploading photos and video from smartphones. But journalists are still needed to help make sense of it all, and technology can help them cope with this massive wave of information. Also, computer scientists are learning so much about how people interact with technology, and we should be applying those lessons to journalism.

Full post at this link…

PromotionWorld: How sharing documents can help with SEO

While this post from PromotionWorld focuses on the benefits of document-sharing for businesses (e.g. making company reports available online), there are some valid points for news organisations:

Document sharing has become a very important and crucial ingredient when it comes to the world of SEO. Sharing documents online has helped business increase their visibility in great new way.

Sharing source material using tools such as Scribd and Yudu can add to articles by giving the reader more detail about what’s involved. Additionally, as this post points out, branded widgets are often available for document-sharing embeds spreading your news group’s name across other sites.

Full post at this link…

FT.com gets go ahead for iPad app

We reported last week that the FT’s new app for iPad was on the brink of launch. Well, now it has got final Apple approval and the Hublot sponsored-app is available to download for free in the iTunes App store or via the iPad app store – although users will need to register or subscribe to one of its tiered options, for varying levels of access.

[Journalism.co.uk report ahead of launch at this link]

Here’s the FT’s own blurb, released today:

Key features of the app include the ability to:

  • Download the daily FT to your iPad for offline reading
  • Access content across all sections of FT.com, fully customisable so users can order key sections of the application interface – including World, Companies, Markets and more
  • View the FT’s award-winning high quality video content, including the latest updates on markets and interviews with high profile CEOs each morning. This is the first time the FT has offered video on one of its mobile products.
  • A dedicated Markets Data section, including macromaps highlighting markets across the world, with the option to also view regional indices and company information sheets
  • Full access to view personal investment portfolios
  • Read top ‘must read’ stories of the moment for the iPad edition, determined by the FT editorial team

eMedia Vitals: How publishers should be using geolocation

Sean Blanda introduces five ways publishers should be using geolocation technology:

Despite the hype surrounding geolocation, the technology is fairly new. Many publishers are still navigating geolocation and few have taken advantage of platforms like Foursquare, Gowalla, HTML5’s geolocation API and Twitter’s geotagging abilities despite the rich potential.

Geolocation can help publishers serve more relevant content or cover an event like never before. However, to use the technology to its fullest potential, it’s going to take some creativity.

Particularly like Blanda’s ideas for the news cafe – something tried physically by publishers such as Agora in Poland:

(…) with new geolocation technology, the news café can be everywhere. Businesses and restaurants have all used Foursquare to offer specials and discounts, why not media companies? Whether its your offices, your booth at a trade show or locations frequented by your readers, offer a free issue to people in check in at designated locations.

Full post at this link…

More details on Spectator’s iPad app

As reported by paid:Content in March, the Spectator has been developing a new magazine app for the iPad.

Its maker, Exact Editions, sent through an official announcement and a link to the iTunes store this week: it’s a ‘freemium’ app – free to download but with an option for full subscription to content.

“The app can be downloaded for free with some sample open access content and the opportunity to upgrade to the full version for a 30-day subscription at £2.39 through in-app purchasing. This gives subscribers full access to the latest issue of The Spectator and the previous four years of back issues.


“The app also features pageflow for browsing, full search and can be synced to an iPad, as well as to an iPhone and iPod Touch for offline reading.”

Exact Editions also launched the Spectator’s iPhone app in September 2009.