Robin Sloan calls it: Twitter, Dropbox, and Google Forms are the three key tools of the moment for real-time creative collaboration.
A J-Lab report on Philadelphia’s media ecosystem recommends a collaborative journalism effort.
Chris O’Brien shares notes on a panel including California Watch, NPR, ProPublica, and more news organizations heavily engaged in collaborative reporting.
I’ve been doing a bit of lightweight reporting and writing for a few other spots on the Web over the last two weeks, and the stories all pull together very nicely, like so:
First, over at the official Publish2 Blog, I posted a few notes on Evolving Platforms for Collaboration. You’ll find five examples there of collaborative (or transparent) projects fueled by emerging technology. Spot.Us, Mark Luckie’s book, Rex Sorgatz’s anti-agency, and more. Here’s why I thought Mark Luckie’s story of 10,000 Words was important:
Mark’s radical transparency about his career path — a form of collaboration with his readers and the online journalism community — has left a breadcrumb trail for talented journalists motivated to make work for themselves as bloggers, consultants, and authors. As more independent operators take off on their own, new models for collaboration across networks of freelancers and consultants are popping up left and right.
Second, I picked up that line of reasoning in an IM interview with Mark for the PBS IdeaLab blog. We talked about Mark’s career path, how he pulled together and published the book, and how he writes for an audience of novice online journalists.
I rarely ever feature software on the blog, not only because there is a lot of sketchy software out there that can do damage to your computer, but also because it’s hard to convince people to download, install, and try full-fledged programs. I love web-based applications because it’s an opportunity to try a new tool without investing too much time and effort into it. If you like it, you can keep using it and if not, you can just kinda move on. Also, if you really like a web-based tool you can always upgrade and grab professional software that offers more features.
Third, at Wired Journalists, I talked with Rex Sorgatz (you might know him best as Fimoculous) about building and running a networked and distributed development, design, strategy, and marketing anti-agency.
I despise digital/creative agencies! They’re slow, ineffectual little monsters. And they bill you like lawyers. But I like to create companies around the fringes of what I hate. So I came up with this twist on the idea: a very horizontal organization that consists of a loose collection of talented but disparate people (designers, developers, marketers, content specialists, product managers) to crowd-source projects. We borrow a trope from cloud computing: finding the resources for the task at hand. Some projects are huge and involve hiring dozens of people, whereas others are just me helping someone figure out a solution to a problem.
In all three of these posts, I’m thinking heavily about the mindset, skillset, and technology platforms that power collaboration — in the media world and elsewhere.
I hope you’re thinking about that, too.
Over at IdeaLab, I’ve been way past deadline for a post, after (again) making all sorts of promises about helping out more over there. Until now.
After playing the modern equivalent of phone tag (Twitter DMs and e-mail across two operating systems and one ocean) for a week or so, Paul Bradshaw and I landed on Skype at the same time for 15 minutes for a quick chat about his freshly funded project, Help Me Investigate.
If you want to head directly to the background on this, read Paul’s post about the funding and the next steps for the project.
Here’s why I’m so interested in this project, and in my Knight News Challenge project ReportingOn, and David Cohn’s efforts with Spot.Us, and in the Collaborative Reporting tools we launched at Publish2 recently:
I really, REALLY, REALLY want there to be easy ways to gather structured data from readers, users, journalists, and editors, and I want that data to be attached to their identity whenever possible. I want that data to be portable and exportable, so it can be displayed in any and all useful formats. I want profiles for everyone so I can track their participation, reliability, and levels of knowledge about different topics, beats, locations, and stories.
I’m becoming more and more passionate about this, with my level of surprise that no one has built the right tools for this job yet growing by the day. But we’re getting closer. Platforms are emerging. Standards will follow. Collaboration is key.
I am extremely excited to let you know that I’m starting a new job on Monday, as Director of News Innovation at Publish2. I’ll be working for Scott Karp, who I’ve been following since I started blogging back in 2005, and with a team of top-notch online news thinkers, evangelists, and developers.
What does a Director of News Innovation do?
I’m expecting to work with newsrooms and journalists across the media world to get them the tools they need to bring the best of the Web to their readers, and maybe even to bring the best of their readers to the wider Web. Sound good?
Well, help me out. Let me know what you think of Publish2, how you’ve used it, and what you’d like to see in the P2 toolkit that isn’t there yet.
Here’s my favorite recent Publish2 story, about how a group of disparate news organizations in Washington state used the service as a tool for collaborative curation during floods this winter.
I can’t wait to get started. Matter of fact, if you’re at BCNI Philly this weekend, feel free to throw your ideas about Publish2 at me in person.
To answer an obvious question, yes, I’ve left my job at GateHouse Media, effective today.
I had a great 19-month run with GateHouse, doing my best to give journalists at more than 125 newspapers the tools and training they needed to serve their communities.
Any and every success that I had there belongs to the incredible team of developers, the awesome revenue team, and the online news innovators I worked with, including Howard Owens — who hired me and has since left GateHouse to put his money where his mouth is at The Batavian — and Bill Blevins, the VP who Howard reported to, whose door was always wide open to new ideas and possibilities. Thank you.
Onward. I’ll be spending a great deal of my time over the coming days and week wrapping my head around how Publish2 has been used so far and where it’s going. Let me know what you think of it, here, on Twitter, or wherever you see me. I’m easy to find.
Over at the PBS IdeaLab blog, where I write about the development of ReportingOn, my Knight News Challenge project, I just posted something that starts to get into what Phase 2 of the “back channel for your beat” is going to look like.
Well, not what it’s going to *look* like exactly, but how it’s going to be framed.
Here’s a snippet:
“…the goal was always to give journalists — whether they’re a neighborhood blogger or the Baghdad bureau chief at the Washington Post — a place to ask questions about what they’re reporting on.
The shift that we’re making is a move from asking ‘What are you reporting on?’ to asking ‘What do you need to know about what you’re reporting on?‘
That’s where influences like Stack Overflow come into play. What’s the best way to organize and surface questions from journalists about a given topic?”
Check it out, and let me know if you think we’re on the right track. Things are really starting to come together, and some of you should start to hear from me privately soon, as I nose around for newsrooms and neighborhood bloggers to test out Phase 2.