Thursday, October 11, 2007

Medill J-School offering scholarships for CS majors for its Master!

One of the most respected Journalism Master program in the nation is offering scholarships to programmer as a way to atract CS oriented people to their graduate program: "Are you a skilled programmer or Web developer? Are you interested in applying your talents to the challenge of creating a better-informed society? Do you want to learn how to find, analyze and present socially relevant information that engages media audiences? Do you see possibilities for applying technology as a way to connect people and information on the Web or new delivery platforms?
If your answers are "yes," consider applying to Medill for a master's degree in journalism. You can earn your degree in just a year. You will learn new skills that will open doors to new opportunities that might help build a better democracy. And a new program at Medill offers you a chance to win a fully funded scholarship."

Networked Journalism Summit @ NY

The Networked Journalism Summit brings together the best practices and practitioners in collaborative, pro-am journalism. This is a day about action: next steps, new projects, new partnerships, new experiments.
-Organized by City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism.
-You can listen to some interviews at:

Monday, April 16, 2007

News Consumption

A lot more detail and reaction to the recently released results of the Poynter Eye Track Study which looked at news consumption across different formats of newspapers and online news sites.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A new "Wikipedia" from the founder of Wikipedia

The Citizendium (sit-ih-ZEN-dee-um), a "citizens' compendium of everything," is an experimental new wiki project. The project, started by a founder of Wikipedia, aims to improve on that model by adding "gentle expert oversight" and requiring contributors to use their real names.

A column about this:

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Google's Next Generation Search

Read/WriteWeb interviews Google's Matt Cutts on the topic of Next-Generation Search. Topics discussed include personalized search and semantic technologies, SearchMash, Google Base and using structured data, vertical search, fighting web spam, and how Google is going about indexing video.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Mashup Tools from TechCrunch

I haven't had time to play with most of these, but Dapper seems like a strong candidate for making web page scraping easier:
Dapper is a web based application for generating XML for website content. You create “Dapps” (web services) by using Dapper’s virtual browser to grab content from web pages. Dapper is trained by feeding it several example urls that hold examples of content you’re interested in. Dapper looks at the similarities between the pages to take a guess at the important content to pull from the page. After Dapper has analyzed the page, you can narrow down the fields on the page you want to track.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

France Bans Citizen Journalists From Recording Violence: Because If It's Not Recorded We Can Pretend It Never Happened

From Techdirt:

Yikes. We thought it was pretty bad when some schools thought the way to stop bullying was to ban YouTube or ban cameraphones on the belief that without a record, perhaps the bullying wouldn't happen (but more likely because without a record, school administrators could pretend it didn't happen). However, the French Constitutional Council has taken this concept to an entirely new level, approving a law that says that only professional journalists can film or broadcast acts of violence. If you happen to be walking along the street and see a violent act and film it with your cameraphone, you may face time in jail. The article notes the sad irony that this decision came out on the anniversary of the Rodney King incident. Under this law, if Rodney King had been attacked today, the guy filming the video would now be facing jail time. It's as if they believe that by banning the recording of these incidents then the incidents themselves go away. It's head-in-the-sand governing, and it seems ridiculous that anyone would think this is a good idea.

A Contributor to Wikipedia Has His Fictional Side

The NY Times run a story about one of the contributors of WikiPedia... "In a blink, the wisdom of the crowd became the fury of the crowd. In the last few days, contributors to Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia, have turned against one of their own who was found to have created an elaborate false identity. "

Monday, March 5, 2007

Mashup Contest

For those in the class that did their programming in reporting project with congressional data, you may be interested to enter your mashup into the Sunlight Foundation's Mashup Contest. $2000 prize for the winner.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Police Use YouTube

A patrolman looking to identify suspects posts surveillance video on YouTube hoping to get 300+ people and organizations to do the job. He claims using YouTube is easy. He accredits the arrests to police work and not YouTube.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Open Editorial Meetings

Newsrooms around the country are experimenting with how assignment desks can connect directly with viewers and readers. In today's Al Tompkins (from the Poynter Institute) Morning Meeting, he talks about this novel bridge between the audience and the journalists. prepares impressive relaunch

Gannett (the news company behind USA Today) has been announcing in the last several a relaunch tha will include enormous “crowdsourcing” and “networked journalism” features. At least that is what they say. Here a sneak preview.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Citizen Journalism

I consider Citizen Journalism to be strongly linked to Computational Journalism, as Comp. Journalism will help understand the needs for Citizen Journalists and provide guidance to build better tools for citizens to go beyond authoring and sharing eye-witness and opinion pieces.

See for a great site on voices from all over the world and

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Wizards of Buzz -

The Wizards of Buzz -
A new kind of Web site is turning ordinary people into hidden influencers, shaping what we read, watch and buy.

(courtesy Jim Foley)

For Bloggers, Libby Trial Is Fun and Fodder - New York Times

For Bloggers, Libby Trial Is Fun and Fodder - New York Times

an interesting article on "blogging"

(Courtesy Amy Bruckman)

Nintendo Wii Interactive News Channel

Wii users can catch news relevant to them by navigating a 3D Globe and selecting regions where the users reside in. They can opt to view international, regional, or local news, all provided by Associated Press (except for the Japanese, that will be provided by Goo).

In order to make use of the Wii News Channel service, customers must connect the Wii to a high-speed connection as demonstrated in the manual and activate the System Update. Once the update is complete, the Wii News Channel will be already downloaded. To keep news up-to-date, the Wii must be connected to the Internet.

Please look at the following link for a demo of the interactive news channel:

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

NewsU Fellowship

This may be an interesting opportunity for anyone graduating at the end of this Spring and looking to get more into the world of interactive and multimedia journalism. The Poynter Institute is a very prestigious organization.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Newsmap Visualization

I know we'll be studying news visualization next week, but I came across this today. This newsmap displays the topography of the whatever's on Google News at the moment, using a treemap visualization algorithm to determine the size based on the number of news results for each story.

Google News Breaches Copyright

Apparently a Brussels court has ruled that Google News breaches copyright law, and uses the material without the Authors consent.
"A Brussels court has ruled in favour of a group of Belgian newspapers which argued that the site, which lists links to news stories from around the world, used material without their consent, and ordered that the articles be taken down."

Apparently the group is also pursuing Yahoo! as well for their news service.

Here's the article.

News War Documentary

"In a four-and-a-half-hour special, News War, FRONTLINE examines the political, cultural, legal, and economic forces challenging the news media today and how the press has reacted in turn."

Starts tonight (2/13) on PBS.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Yahoo! Pipes

Yahoo! have recently launched a new service: Pipes. It is an new kind of news/data aggregator. I haven't use it too much yet, so I don't know to much about it, but from what I have read it seems promising:

Saturday, February 10, 2007

AP to distribute citizen media

The AP and just announced a partnership that will allow for the distribution of the citizen journalism content on NowPublic through the AP news wires. But will these new AP contributors be compensated?

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Newspaper in your pocket?

The Readius by Polymer Vision is a roll-out screen mobile device slated for release later in 2007. Somehow I don't see how this will be able to compete with established technologies like Blackberry, other than perhaps the very minimal energy these new displays consume. Still, it will be interesting to see how these new screen technologies affect mobile media consumption.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Congoo Search Engine Enters Beta

News search engine Congoo has launched in beta. The site grants access to over 300 premium and subscription news sites, including the Wall Street Journal, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Users are allowed to download several articles from Congoo's partner sites per month for free.

The catch is that it utilizes a browser toolbar (which is SO web 1.0) to authenticate for the premium content. It might be worth it to have on hand in IE if you use Firefox as your primary browser.

Congoo News

Monday, February 5, 2007

Seraja Reporter

This mobile phone application designed for citizen journalists looks really interesting, but I haven't been able to check it out because I don't have one of the Nokia phones that is supported. If anyone in class has one of the phones (N91, N80, N72, N71, E70) and time to check it out let me know.

Friday, February 2, 2007

News coverage of the ATHF "bomb" scare

In light of this week's homework assignment, I found this post on boing boing to be kind of amusing. ( Picture: Ed Adkins).

Thursday, February 1, 2007

What Happens When Newspapers Start Blogging?

As the main stream media (MSM) begins to enter the blogsphere in a big way, how will this affect the culture, content, and traffic of blogs? Huffington Post has some recent data about the top ten trafficked newspaper sites and the skyrocketing traffic their blogs have seen over the last year. Interestingly, traffic to the Washington Post main site dropped slightly whereas their blog traffic grew substantially. Will the newspapers themselves cannibalize their own readership with editorial blogs? What is the fate of non-MSM blogs as news organization blogs grab more of readers' attention and time?

Dana Hull takes another recent look at the adoption of blogging by several different newspapers in her AJR article of Jan 2007: Blogging Between the Lines. Some of the questions raised are: What about libel: will the newspaper blogs be held to the same standards as the print editions? How will newspapers edit or monitor all the user contributed content and comments without increasing staff? What's the policy for linking to other blogs? What are the ethics or expectations of newspaper writers who also maintain person blogs?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Mobile News Gathering

Last week we had two guests from CNN (Paul Ferguson and Terence Burke) come in to talk about their experiences in international news gathering. Paul talked a lot about the technology that CNN has developed over the past 3-4 years to facilitate better mobile news gathering including a system they put together that allows a one-man band or a pair of journalists in the field to gather, edit, and upload news video with equipment that fits in a backpack. They can even go straight to air over a mobile-sat connection with this setup! Now they're experimenting with the Nokia N93, which is a sleek and flexible mobile phone that does mp4 video at 30 fps.

One of the interesting effects of having a mobile and (unobtrusive in the case of cell phone video) capturing rig is the access to new situations that it allows for. No need to lug around big and heavy equipment. Not only that but the reactivity associated with people seeing larger video equipment and satellite uplinks is no longer affecting their behavior: the result is a more true to life depiction. So instead of people stopping to gawk at a gaggle of reporters, news video can be gathered more surreptitiously and thus show the raw reality. Citizen journalism is peppered with stories of people catching newsworthy events on cell phones and this is only bound to increase with more and more sensors in the field.

Another interesting point that came up in talking to the seasoned journalists was how important social networks are to their news gathering efforts. A professional news organization like CNN has spent years and years cultivating sources and developing databases of contacts for various pieces of information. Who's got the information? If they don't know the guy, they might know the guy that knows the guy. It's all about leveraging the network and the trust that's built into that network. This is paramount especially when the motivation of sources might be in question and serves to increase the quality of information that a large news organization can bring to light. There are a few questions here. In the transition to participatory journalism, how can citizens who don't have a trusted network of sources collect information about difficult topics? Also, can social networking technology enhance the news gathering efficacy of either traditional or citizen journalists?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

What is Computational Journalism?

What do we mean when we talk of "Computational Journalism"?

Firstly we might try to define what we mean by invoking current examples from the online zeitgeist such as Google News, Yahoo News, or MSN Newsbot - aggregation sites using computation to provide a different interface to a range of news online. Other examples revolve around the numerous blogs, collaborative news sites (such as open source reporting, or "citizen journalism" (for instance community driven news site Bluffton Today). These types of behavior are all enabled and facilitated by the networked computing environment and increasing pervasiveness of digital cameras and phones. Another take on Computational Journalism involves the use of New Media (i.e. interactivity) to tell more contextualized and relevant stories about news events. Interactive infographics, videos, maps, panoramas, and slideshows are being used more and more by news outlets such as the New York Times and Washington Post (among others).

Looking at and citing examples of what the convergence of computing and journalism are doing to online media is fun, but I think there could be a lot more to it than that. Perhaps we should try to understand Journalism and Computing in their own rights first and then defocus and cross our eyes (for a moment!) to see where that might bring us.

So, what's Journalism then? Journalism consists of collecting news information and disseminating that information with a layer of contextualization and understanding provided by the journalist. Traditionally, journalism has also entailed an ethos of working on the side of the citizenry to provide them with the information they need to make informed civic decisions in the process of self-governance.

And what's Computation? Computation is what you do with computers! No really, computation can be thought of as algorithms designed to run on computers in order to solve any number of different problems. Computation here is defined broadly, but fundamentally, we're talking about media computation: the ability of the computer to process things like text, video, audio, pictures, or any combination of those. This involves computational areas such as information retrieval/science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data mining, mobile computing, natural language processing, computer vision and image processing, multimedia analysis and synthesis, information visualization, computer supported cooperative work, and computer interfaces.

Taking our conception of Computing with that of Journalism, what again is "Computational Journalism"? The application of computational algorithms to the goals of journalism: to collect, contextualize, and make sense of news information. At heart it is an Information Science, guided by the practices and processes of the Journalist and facilitated by forward looking technologies meant to empower journalists (both traditional and citizen) and news information consumers in their goals.