Archive for February, 2008

Crowdsourcing Conflict

Posted on February 12, 2008. Filed under: independent journalism, international journalism | Tags: , , , , , |

In what seems like sort of a risky move, Jason Haber, who blogs for open-source journalism pioneer has promised a site called iConflict by March 2008 (or in some places February 2008 and others just 2008). But just because deadlines to launch new initiatives can be oh-so-hard to meet doesn’t detract from the substance of what he’s trying to achieve. Which serendipitously seems to try to answer the question that ended my last post, is it possible that our watchdogs and truthtellers culd be everywhere at once?


iConflict, says the About page on the companion blog Blogflict, “is dedicated to empowering people to share information, and discuss conflicts and crises, wherever they arise.” Simple enough, but what’s more inspired, and what, inexplicably doesn’t yet exist (though we’re also working on something here) is the site’s mission to aggregate the experiences of not only people who cover conflict but also those who are affected by it, including activists, first responders, relief workers, volunteers, and even citizens living with it, by providing them space to keep blogs and document the so-called situation on the ground with images and video.’s The Hub started something similar last year, providing a space on its website for user-provided video documenting human rights abuses. Global Voices is another go-to platform for international (though not necessarily in conflict) voices via blogs. iConflict appears to want to expand on these models by including originally produced—and then YouTube and iTunes syndicated—newscasts from offices in New York and Washington, DC, as well as interactive, mashed-up content that until now is more often found among the multimedia content of sites like the New York Times and partnering with other networked platforms.

I’ve emailed Haber, one of the site’s creators, to ask about how the site will be funded and moderated as well as what technology will be incorporated in the initial stages. If the creators are able to convert their vision into a workable model, it could help change the way we see the world. In the meantime, they’ve invited anyone interested to join their Facebook group. Pay a visit and maybe you can help them get their lofty goals off the ground.

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Wired Journalists

Posted on February 11, 2008. Filed under: independent journalism | Tags: , |

Wired Journalists home page

Because journalists are already situated at society’s hubs for information exchange, their needs and habits are natural openings for exploring all the creases and corners of the potential for participatory media. About three weeks ago, Wired Journalists, a social networking site with the strange tagline “Get wired to win” was launched.

Designed with the DIY social networking tool Ning, Wired Journalists has attracted so far people who “seem real eager to learn or to help others,” as Howard Owens, one of the site’s three cofounders, said. The other cofounders are Ryan Sholin and Zac Echola. I joined yesterday as member #1250 and started the group Working Independently and Collectively. I still have to get it up and running. Today, I got my first friend request, from kamalkumar a 23-year-old TV broadcaster in Kathmandu, Nepal. He’s member #1266.

Here’s a writeup on Poynter by Amy Gahran.

Wired Journalists represents another imaginative (and increasingly common, it seems) means to help famously non-joiner journalists exercise their collective, connected intelligence, whether they’re exchanging lessons learned or posting multimedia content for peer review or just a larger audience. Think Assignment Zero, Publish2, Beatblogging, ReportingOn, and developer Dan Schultz’s desire “to find a way to give journalists a special place in the content judging process without losing a sense of democracy” for other takes on how to bring journalists together to leverage their curiosity and news judgment.

If journalists adapt these new methods and tools (and whatever their next-generation counterparts will be) and make them their own, then it seems what we may soon be talking about is a globally distributed swarm of journalists. Is it possible that this would mean—in the best of scenarios—that our watchdogs and truth tellers could be everywhere at once?

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