Over at IdeaLab, I’ve got a post up that circles back to the first version of ReportingOn, my Knight News Challenge project. In the post, I revisit some of the problems the 2.0 release was intended to solve, and I do a bit of scorekeeping on RO’s progress.
Here’s a bit from the post about one of the challenges I faced in building a backchannel for beat reporters to help each other out:
Twitter is faster than me
Right, so 140-character limits are long-gone in RO 2.0, and the straight question/answer session should (theoretically, at least) make for longer conversations with more depth to them. As has been pointed out more than a few times, Twitter is a good place to start an argument, but a really poor place to finish one. Although I’d hesitate to frame the sort of exploratory, qualitative Q&A that could happen on ReportingOn as “argument” or “debate,” I’d like to believe that highlighting a “good answer” as noted by the person who asked the question will help lead to a permanent archive for reporting resources in a way that Twitter simply doesn’t do.
To put a finer point on it, if I ask a question of my followers on Twitter and I get a great answer, I get it in a stream of replies that are useful to a certain subset of Twitter users at that moment, but fly right by in the stream and never come back unless I pull them out of the flow of Twitter and display them somewhere. At this particular moment in time, Twitter’s search functionality is highly ephemeral in nature, as it starts and stops indexing from time to time, and rarely dips back in the chronology as far as might be useful. So where the quick-answer utility of Twitter stops, the long-term archive of ReportingOn begins.
There are four or five more points of navel-gazing analysis like that over in the post, which I hope you’ll check out. If nothing else, they should provide a useful roadmap for the next person who tries to build something similar.
Meanwhile, the crew at BeatBlogging interviewed me recently — you can listen in as I answer some questions about ReportingOn 2.0, the launch, development, and what happens next. The audio file is at the end of that post, or you can hear it in iTunes.