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  • What happened when Gun Memorial let anyone contribute directly to victim profiles

    If you’re reporting local or niche news, there’s a good chance that your audience collectively knows more about the story than you do. That’s especially true for us at Gun Memorial, a small publication with a nationwide mission of covering every American who is shot dead. In our latest, mostly successful, experiment, we let readers add to our stories without editor intervention. This article shares some lessons from that experience. Asking for reader contributions A...

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  • Letting readers get a word in

    An experiment in reader engagement

    Forward-thinking journalists value "reader engagement," and that generally means that readers are actively contributing to the story instead of just consuming it. What happens when we take reader engagement to an extreme? What kinds of reader contributions are useful and which are just gimmicks? The Tow Center's 2015 Guide to Crowdsourcing says that "news consumers clearly have stories to share, but they don’t necessarily want to write the news." If not the actual copy, then...

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  • Long a challenge, Snapchat delivers crowd-sourced storytelling

    In the last few months, I cheered from the sidelines of the Macy’s Day Parade, I built a kite to fly in India, I strutted the streets of New York Fashion Week and I tailgated a football game in the dead of January. All from the comfort of my bed. How did I do it? Well, I watched these events unfold via Snapchat, an app I normally reserve for sending selfies to friends. I didn’t see...

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  • NICAR 2015: Data from scratch — How to crowdsource data

    We know data tells us a lot. We write programs to automate data scraping. We spend hours creating data visualizations that help readers see what they need to see. We use data to make claims and generate stories that are reliable and have impact. Data is important and we seem to be surrounded by it. But that's not quite true. Sometimes, there is no data? A session at NICAR that really resonated with me was Data from Scratch:...

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  • MozFest 2014: Gotta lotta analog data? Crowdsourcing may make it useful for you and fun for readers

    When we think of data, we almost always think of computers. But when it comes to data that was created before the digital area —  handwritten notes, ancient maps or printed documents, for example — nothing beats human eyes to quantify and verify. And when many human eyes are needed, journalists have the option to crowdsource their data. At MozFest this weekend, Mike Tigas of ProPublica and Jeremy B. Merrill of The New York Times...

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  • Moving the Needle 2012: Glimpses of the future

    While we’ve spent the week looking back at 2012, what we’re really excited about is 2013 and beyond. Nieman Journalism Lab has a whole series on what to look for in 2013, from a not-so-shabby group of journalism and technology gurus — Amy Webb, Matt Waite, Erin Kissane and our own Miranda Mulligan among them. At the Knight Lab, we saw glimpses of the future in a many projects that launched this year: Summly’s launch got...

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  • Moving the Needle 2012: Glimpses of the future

    While we’ve spent the week looking back at 2012, what we’re really excited about is 2013 and beyond. Nieman Journalism Lab has a whole series on what to look for in 2013, from a not-so-shabby group of journalism and technology gurus — Amy Webb, Matt Waite, Erin Kissane and our own Miranda Mulligan among them. At the Knight Lab, we saw glimpses of the future in a many projects that launched this year: Summly’s launch got...

    Continue Reading

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