My presentation before a room full of talented programmers next week Thursday will include hair salons, semi-trailer trucks and sidewalk chalk.It's TimesOpen 2.0, where digital tinkerers gather to talk about online data from the New York Times and the latest trends in information technology.Next Thursday is Mobile/Geolocation night (which is free). Presenters will include Mano Marks from Google, John Britton from Twilio, Matt Kelly from Facebook and me. I'll be talking about The Takeaway's Sourcing Through Texting project.My preso will likely be the lowest-tech of the bunch. Our aim was, and is, to connect journalists and citizen-sources using basic text messages, and our method was brainstorming, learning and prototyping in two neighborhoods -- Southwest Detroit and Miami's Little Haiti. We absorbed a ton. (And we sparked an investigative series on illegal truck traffic.)There are certainly opportunities here to mash up APIs and build on some nifty platforms. I'll talk about that, too. But as we continue working toward connecting with sources via texting, some of our best insights have come from coffee shop conversations, church bulletin announcements and short-codes scrawled on sidewalks.
The answers are still emerging. We're still making prototypes. Yet, yesterday the concept won a Knight-Batten Special Distinction Award for innovation in journalism. Since the award application went in, we've gone to Miami to run another experiment in Little Haiti, and Detroit's WDET aired a week-long series that evolved from the project.That the award effectively predates those happenings is a huge jolt of support for experimentation, design thinking in journalism and everyone who contributed to this unique collaboration.That includes folks from The Takeaway, Public Radio International, WNYC Radio, WDET Detroit, WLRN Miami, The Miami Herald, American Public Media's Public Insight Network, Mobile Commons, the Institute of Design at Stanford and the residents of Southwest Detroit and Miami's Little Haiti.---Sourcing Through Texting is a project of The Takeaway, which is produced by WNYC Radio and Public Radio International. It was made possible by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Disclosure and disclaimer: I helped develop and produce this project. As always, the words here are my own and not those of my employer or any of the entities mentioned.
So says the bag my new Timbuk2 bag came in.
No, it's actually a durable, waterproof San Francisco bike map!Reduce, reuse, reuse. Nice.
Today our education reporter had a bunch of data from New York State she was trying to match to schools in New York City. But the school codes used by the two governments look radically different.For example, PS 15 on the Lower East Side is known to the state as 310100010015; the city calls it 01M015.I once made a nifty formula to make the conversion(!), but a more straightforward and official approach involves the Excel spreadsheet found here. It lists all of the city schools, along with their addresses, various codes, and more. For a data cruncher, that's a secret decoder ring.What made me smile was that the only reason I knew this document even existed was because of a little prototype I tried during the first swine flu outbreak. That experiment wasn't robust enough to make it beyond this blog, but it taught me a lot ... including where to find this ring!
What a great visualization of Netflix movie-rental data from the New York Times! Love how you can see how different movies play across the city.It's even more interesting when you know something about the demographic makeup of the zip codes. Look how the Harlem River between upper Manhattan and the South Bronx is a bright dividing line for almost every movie.How about a mashup that would reflect this info and demographic data simultaneously?
(tip via Nate Westheimer @innonate)
Tuesday night I'll have the fantastic privilege of making a quick presentation at the NY Tech Meetup about our news-technology efforts at WNYC. I'll also invite folks to connect with us in the interest of, well, the public good.Huge thanks to Nate Westheimer for his interest in our work and the opportunity to say a few words.Acknowledgment where due: WNYC's public radio news-tech projects, including the Super Simple Mapping tool, are supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
The person crafting the overall sound and content of your local public radio station usually is the program director, and I have the honor of speaking at an annual gathering of PD's from across the nation this week.Uncommon IndicatorsMy first talk is about a WNYC community crowdsourcing project called Your Uncommon Economic Indicators, which began just about a year ago when the economy collapsed. It focuses on getting people to contribute insights about the economy from their neighborhoods.It has grown to include some special side projects. One is Halted Development, a look at unfinished or vacant housing in New York City (link to big map is here). Another is a video contest, in which this video took first place.The slides I used in my presentation are available as zipped PowerPoint and Keynote files (both about 30MB) and as a pdf (3.5MB).Collaboration as DatingThe second presentation is with Tom Detzel of ProPublica about the great partnership WNYC has had with ProPublica, including how it came to be and how we've make some great journalism together.Part of my discussion is stolen from my earlier blog post using dating as a guide to successful collaborations. The handout I'm giving to people in the room is here as a pdf.I'll update this post if/when audio or video of the talks are made available.