(2012-12-03) Journalism Service Lists Outlines And Data

Jeff Jarvis wasn't satisfied with Journalism's performance during Hurricane Sandy (Disaster Response). He wanted data and got Story Telling. I wanted lists of what streets were closed. I wanted lists of what streets the power company was finally working on. Oh, the utility, JCP&L, gave my town, Bernards Township, lists of streets, but they were bald-faced lies (I know because my street was on that list but their crews weren’t on my street). The town and our local media outlets only passed on these lists as fact without verifying. I wanted journalists to add value to those lists, going out to verify whether there were crews working on those streets. In a word: report. I wanted media organizations or technology platforms to enable the people who knew the facts — my fellow townspeople — to share what they knew... That’s where the need and opportunity remain: in very local (HyperLocal) information. No one has cracked the geographic nut well — not big papers, not big networks of sites, not Twitter. Desperate to find open gas stations, we gathered around the #njgas Hash Tag but it wasn’t terribly useful learning that a station 50 miles away just opened up.

Doc Searls thinks OutLining is a way to structure this stuff. What Jeff wanted was a painting, or set of puzzle pieces that fit together into a coherent and complete painting. A good outline does that, because it has structure, coherency, and whatever level of detail you need. I Commented:

  • I think outlines are great for creating and communicating sense through structure.
  • But in Jeff’s case it seems like it’s data he wants more than macro sense. (Or at least, the data piece is the part most-badly-served at the moment.)
  • This actually smells like a Semantic Web use-case. We want every claim/statement to be carefully designed (Semantic Content, EPrime, etc.), and to have some structured data, esp: (a) who’s making the claim (could be person or institution); (b) location-stamp (lat/long or object-name); (c) timestamp. Then we probably want to be able to assign multiple tags to a claim (“DownedTrees”, “Flooding”, “Trains”, etc.). And some way for others to comment on (and rate) each claim. And probably a separate aggregate rating based on Super User-s - Reputation Management.
  • Then some kind of GUI that integrates map view/filter with tag info and time-filtering (distinguish fresh claims from old claims).
  • (Hmm, hack idea – use FlickR since lots of photos have lat/long and timestamps. And the photo becomes a key part of the claim.)
  • (Update): Remember when Twitter had GeoTag data? 2009-01-08-TwitterGeotag

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