Author Archives: futuresoup

Nine ways to grow a better relationship with your audience

For the first time ever, The American Society of News Editors and the Associated Press Media Editors joined forces for the ASNE-APME 2014 convention in Chicago. The sessions were all quite informative, though some were downright sobering. In addition to all the economic woes that journalism is up against, there were extraordinary issues raised about threats to the First Amendment in recent years.

Needless to say, there was a strong sense of enthusiasm and unity to take on these challenges.

Amongst the many helpful caveats that surfaced, the one which felt strongest was the desire and need to establish a better relationship with audiences to keep good journalism alive. That theme ran through many of the sessions.

Here are nine good ideas to that effect:

Current audience realities quadrant

ONE: Be aware of your ‘current audience realities’

Webbmedia Group CEO Amy Webb explained that your content can move further and better reach audiences if you consider how they perform in these four quadrants: The time of day, the activities they are doing when discovering content, their typical engagement behaviors (commenting, retweeting, etc), and the level of fulfillment you provide to their emotional and intellectual intelligence.

TWO: Use form factor to your advantage

According to data presented by Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute, a majority of Americans use five devices or technologies to get news in a given week, with the average American adult using four. Each medium has its own advantages and disadvantages and should be leveraged accordingly.

In addition to experimenting with different story lengths, Amy Webb mentioned new things to consider like the accelerometer in a smart phone to determine whether or not someone is jogging, in a hurry, or relaxing.

THREE: Forget demographic stereotypes

Rosenstiel broke some interesting assumptions during his presentation, telling everyone that most Americans of all ages are now cross-platform multi-source news consumers, with no preference based on race.

FOUR: Set the context for good discussion

At the featured session with Vox Media, I asked Chairman and CEO Jim Bankoff for ideas on improving online discussion. He pointed to the success of their first site,, which covers sports. SB Nation is actually a network of 308 blogs, each with their own web domain and set of fan based communities based on sports teams and categories.

“YouTube is community without context” he said. “Provide community with context and people will be more civil.”

FIVE: Human centered design

Put your users at the center, design for what it does not how it looks, and generate empathy. You can see the success of these concepts with the fantastic Planet Money Makes A T-Shirt piece created by the NPR Visuals team. Producer Kainaz Amaria gave some astonishing traffic numbers, with the average time on the site at 36 minutes for desktop users and 12 minutes for mobile users.

SIX: Specialize

Newspapers are no longer the general store. Rather than try and be the one stop shop for everything, you can focus on being really great at a certain topic that audiences will keep coming back for. The Chicago Tribune is experimenting with this approach with a newly launched feature on the city’s entrepreneurial scene called Blue Sky.

SEVEN: Get into user testing

At the interactive storytelling session, Kainaz Amaria of the NPR Visuals team talked about the important role that user testing plays in guiding their design and editorial decisions.

EIGHT: Inspire audience to care about journalism

ASNE announced the upcoming National Community and News Literacy Roundtables project at the conference, which is a pilot partnership with The News Literacy Project, the American Press Institute and MediaShift, designed to help people find and better understand reliable news.

Doing local outreach and building awareness around the news gathering process is a great opportunity to connect audiences with the information they use and help them support the creation of that good information.

Publicizing your challenges and roadblocks was also mentioned at the ‘High Price of Gathering the News’ session as a practical means to fight back against attempts by governments and industries to block reporter access to information.

NINE: Step up your community engagement

This is where the work of The Engagement Hub comes to bear. We held a session that was well received, and shares the success of three news pilots who made a committed effort to community engagement.

Please join our discussion group and share your own stories and ideas for better community engagement.

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Community engagement done right – St. Louis Public Radio’s #BeyondFerguson


beyondferguson_man lifts his shirt

Community upheaval is a big process. Especially when it involves violence, looting, tear gas, rubber bullets, mass arrests, racial overtones, and the entire world watching.

There are so many angles to the Ferguson, MO story, that we’ve all likely hit some level of Ferguson fatigue, but let us offer you one more question to consider.

What do you do as a journalist who wants to involve their community as part of the news process, particularly when that community is in need of healing?

Last week, St. Louis Public Radio held a public forum at Wellspring Church in Ferguson that had some incredibly moving moments, and makes a compelling case for community engagement on behalf of news organizations.

A young man approached the stage to lift his shirt (above photo), look the mayor in the eye, and show him the rubber bullet wound that he endured while protesting. A young woman brought testimony of threats by the police, who told her she didn’t have first amendment rights, as if she didn’t know otherwise. The mayor’s explanation on leaving Brown’s body in the street for several hours was challenged by the former chief of police as not only a mistake in law enforcement, but human relationships. Everyone brought home a civics lesson on the city charter and what the mayor can and can’t do when it comes to police oversight.

These powerful moments transpired because the right people were in the right room at the right time, all sharing information that mattered to them.

So how did St. Louis Public Radio make it happen?
Read More »

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A case study in collaborative journalism – Climate Desk

Collaboration in journalism is no longer a new concept, and it’s cropping up everywhere. There are many examples of reporters working with an audience to tell a story, and some examples where they merge their craft with other forms of storytelling altogether. In one case, an entire ad hoc army was built to tackle a large story when the Center for Public Integrity assembled 86 journalists in 46 countries to pore through the inner workings of offshore tax havens. Then there’s Climate Desk, a “journalistic collaboration dedicated to exploring the impact — human, environmental, economic, political of a changing climate.”


Climate Desk is a coalition of eight publications, The Atlantic, Center for Investigative Reporting, The Guardian, Grist, The Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Slate, and Wired; all putting aside competitive interests in order to address the increasingly drastic ecological changes throughout our planet.

Instead of the usual coverage of activists vs. denialists, they bring new angles to climate reporting; reporting which has typically lagged behind the paradigm shift as attitudes toward climate change shift.

(Read the full version of this story at

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Takeaways from #StoryCamp 0.1

It’s been a great honor to be a part of Team Popcorn over the last few months, sharing the gospel of video beyond the box and experimenting with new ways of networked learning through an online peer to peer youth program called Popcorn #StoryCamp.

In essence, Popcorn allows you to take any online video and make it “pop” with data from the rest of the web. The official Popcorn Maker app will be launching this November, and we’re already seeing possibilities that were once barely imaginable. Instead of watching the President echo from a teleprompter, you can watch his speech with a layer of fact checking and footnotes. While video has always been a great medium for tapping into our emotions, it’s never been so great at piecing together complicated issues. That’s all beginning to change, now that you can integrate maps and give those stories a place to live, or assemble them from various sources into an organized timeline. (For example this Popcorn story of inner city park restoration, the 18 Days in Egypt project, or a bunch of other cool demos. One of my personal favorites is this beautiful crowdsourced song about humanity).

With help from Mozilla and Zero Divide, we put together a six part learning lab, with each week themed around a component of interactive webmaking. Youth centers from places like Anchorage, Oakland, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, all connected with web celebrities on Big Blue Button, and had a pre-made Popcorn activity each week to play around with and hack on with their peers.

Northampton Community TV - StoryCamp livecast

We connected from all over the map to discuss web storytelling.

While we did our best to demonstrate the glory of humanity’s greatest public resource (the internet!) some important ethical discussions came to light around remix, ridicule, free speech, and online identity. After comparing the power of the “many to many” internet against old turgid forms of mass media with Cory Doctorow, we asked our group of youth “does the internet allow for greater free speech?” One learner responded, “You can say more things online, but you also get more hate for it.” Case in point, in the days leading up to her presentation, one of our guest speakers, feminist video blogger Anita Sarkeesian, was recovering from a wave of serious harassment.

While this may sound like a reason to avoid engaging on the web, it actually speaks great volumes to Mozilla’s mission of empowering users of the web to instead become its makers. If you believe that “The world is made of stories, not atoms” then it’s up to us to build a molecular tapestry that demonstrates our values, and where we want to go as a society. The 2012 #StoryCamp was just a start of that process, and we now have a model to build upon. (Not to mention, because of her web literate fanbase, Anita ended up raising over $150,000 on Kickstarter).

Educators in New York City can expect a local #StoryCamp to blossom in early 2013 with partners out of Hive Learning Networks, and I just got word from Mozilla volunteers in Malaysia who are using our materials to assemble a Popcorn based story hack day at their University. Want to host your own webmaking event? It can be big or small, everything you need is at

So without further ado, I give you some of my favorite youth makes of the summer:

A Robot Invasion (Watch)

by Justin at Free Spirit Media in Chicago.

For week one, we introduced the concept of a Mad Lib story, where you take a pre-existing video and change the script using Popcorn. Justin took our tacky robot invasion video and made his own title and robot speech.

Robot Invasion by Justin in Chicago

“McCalories and Smarter Alternatives to Nutrition” (Watch)

By Kenneth Chan from the Bay Area Video Coalition.

A clever use of a McDonalds commercial from the Philippines to provide nutrition information and resources to healthier eating.

    "McCalories and Smarter Alternatives to Nutrition" By Kenneth Chan from the Bay Area Video Coalition

“Your Digital Footprint” (Watch)

By the Popcorn Crew at Free Spirit Media in Chicago

A team of youth at Free Spirit Media explore the effects of our online digital footprint through the narrative of Cory Doctorow’s bestseller “Little Brother.”
"Digital Footprint" by the Popcorn Crew at Free Spirit Media

Neil’s Corner (Watch)

By Neil Adams from Northampton Community TV in Northampton, MA.

    "Neils Corner" by Neil Adams from Northampton Community TV in Northampton, MA

A look into gender representation in Japanese Anime (Watch)

By Karina from the Bay Area Video Coalition.

A look into gender representation in Japanese Anime by Karina

What is Art? (Watch)

By Raven Oliver & Taylor Swan from the MARZ project at Ink People Center for the Arts in Eureka, CA.

“Flip the Script” (Watch)

By Raven Oliver & Taylor Swan from the MARZ project at Ink People Center for the Arts in Eureka, CA.

A look at sexual harassment through role reversal.

Flip the Script by Raven Oliver and Taylor Swan

What is Metro East Community Media? (Watch)

By Jonathan T.W. Reiterman from MetroEast Community Media in Gresham, OR.

Jonathan is quite the ambitious 10 year old!

    What is Metro East? by Jonathan T.W. Reiterman from MetroEast Community Media in Gresham, OR

“Not the most advanced phone in the world” (Watch)

By Kevin from the Bay Area Video Coalition.

Another critique using advertising as a means of dialog.

    "Not the most advanced phone in the world" by Kevin from the Bay Area Video Coalition

Other runners up include: The commander in chief singing “Shawty!” ♫ and dancing with Ellen DeGeneres, a game of cats playing patty cake, A look into patent wars, Microsoft v. Motorola, and a quickly assembled Happy Birthday website for Tim.

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The sights and sounds of #StoryCamp

What happens when you show dozens of teenagers how to grab anything off YouTube, morph it into their own popup video, and broadcast it back to the universe in less than three minutes flat (?)

Suddenly, in the time it takes to heat up a bag of Redenbacher’s you’ve got things like a short underwater tale, a dancing president, and a cat that can answer your questions. More importantly, you’ve got a fresh set of young learners who’re intrigued and ready to stake out their own special corner of a growing experiment we call the world wide web.

northampton patty cake cat popup video Mozilla Popcorn Story Camp

A revamped game of patty cake in the making ... (click to watch end result).

Popcorn #Storycamp was just a kernel not too long ago, born out of the idea that making is a great pathway to learning, and it’s easier than ever to express yourself online. All you need is a story to tell.

It can be about a retro style Robot invasion, or an important reminder to be safe out there. It can be about silly times with your dog, or a fun game of patty cake between two cats. It can make you laugh, make you think, or a little of both.

Suddenly a generation who’s probably never heard of VH1 has the power to author and curate their own version of the classic show to a much greater, indefinite, audience…all within minutes, and absolutely free of charge.

It’s enough to get the commander in chief singing “Shawty!” ♫ before the great halls of Congress! (My those popups are lovely sir)

Of course the fun is just getting started, we’re only halfway through the StoryCamp learning period. So far a lot of our youth creations are in the realm of silly and playful. This is often the case when first putting your hands on tools of empowerment, such as Mozilla Popcorn. Still, it’s my hope that there will be more sobering and important tales that our youth start to share as well. We’ll see what happens.

We started off the program by covering topics like creativity, fear, failure, the secret of going viral and more with Damian Kulash from OK Go. With the help of Cory Doctorow, we took a big leap into discussion on the power of new media compared to the old, as well as the ethics of that power, as experienced by remix artist Jonathan McIntosh.

We’ve also completed activities like making your own robot invasion story, pop up video, gender remix, and news headline.

Up next we’ll learn about fun ways to style a page with Michelle Levesque, important tips for media deconstruction with Anita Sarkeesian, and how to create a web native masterpiece from the perspective of comic genius Greg Pak and animation pioneer Tommy Pallotta.

It’s a good time to be a maker, and never too late to start. See you on the interwebz!

#all hail robots


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#StoryCamp is on full blast

The good folks at Mozilla came to me with an idea to build an online learning lab for teaching and inspiring youth to create their own “web native stories.” Not only would there be videos and tutorials, but it would be an active program where any youth center in the world could tune in, regardless of their busy schedule, to share ideas, hacks, templates, constructive feedback, and solutions toward creating more effective stories on the web.

They wanted to scale up last summer’s experience with the Bay Area Video Coalition, and flesh out a network of Youth Media centers to participate. These youth centers have built a strong foundation teaching digital video production in the traditional sense, and are eager to upgrade their offerings to include webmaking and interactive design. This is the stuff that makes the web great. The problem is, with a tight staff and scrappy budget, it hasn’t been easy for many of them to experiment, so we’re jumping in with a healthy dose of rocket fuel and cool software, i.e. Mozilla Popcorn to get things cranking.

Two BAVC students

Six months and 1,675 emails later, we’ve officially launched Popcorn #StoryCamp into the wild, with 28 different youth media centers signed up. It’s all free, and we’re offering a full video series, teachers guide, story templates, and technical/moral support, PLUS we brought in some amazing speakers who agreed to flip on their webcams and share a bit of their own wisdom. Damian Kulash from OK Go (of treadmill dancing, Rube Goldberg outdoing, Musical obstacle course fame) brought us quality advice on how to manage good ideas, creativity, fear, failure, the secret of going viral, and using the web as your canvas. This week is Cory Doctorow, followed by Jonathan McIntosh, Michelle Levesque, Anita Sarkeesian, Greg Pak, and Tommy Pallotta. [Learning never sounded so gooood!].

Each week of #StoryCamp comes with an creative activity that allows you to make something cool in just one sitting. For the kickoff, we created a Mad Libs template called “Robots Invade Everytown.” The idea is similar to The Acrade Fire’s groundbreaking Wilderness Downtown video, where you take a pre-crafted story and swap out components, that in turn, change the outcome of the story. Like a Mad Lib!

Play my Robot Invasion story

However, Adele and Marissa over in Northampton, MA had their own ideas. So did Karina in the Bay Area, CA. You can see more youth examples here and here.

The tool we’re using to make these stories is called Popcorn Maker. It allows you to take any video and build a webpage around it to enhance and interact with things that happen in the actual video. Here’s a little walkthough of how it works.

There’s still time to join us! We’ve got much more action up ahead!

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All I want for Christmas is Semantic Metadata

Linking Open Data cloud diagram, by Richard Cyganiak and Anja Jentzsch.

The world is run by [people] who form [entities] that perform [actions] based on [decisions] which affect other [people] in various [places].

In essence, when I’m taking in a piece of news, I’m trying to fill in these brackets. My goal is to crystallize a picture of the relationships amongst different people and distill a sense of the motivations behind their decisions which affect the world we live in; past, present, and future.

Right now I use my brain to filter out this type of semantic metadata, but I can only remember so many names and associations. I’d much rather have a computer separate the who-what-where and other relational chunks from a news story, then organize them in a neat way so I can easily recall who I’ve been reading about and what things they’ve done.

The reason for doing this is to make it easy to publish meaningful discoveries to investigative encyclopedia hubs like Sourcewatch, Little Sis, Crocodyl, Muckety, (and of course Wikipedia), and thus bring the world closer to knowledge Nirvana.

(By the way, any good ideas out there on how to reconcile the data from all these great research hubs into one place to avoid redundancy?)

Developers have been thinking a lot about “natural language processing” and how to go beyond syntax and analyze semantic relationships. There are scads of projects underway.  However, the challenges run similar to other noble efforts on the web, where we find overlapping projects that don’t play nice with each other due to individual political interests that result in frustration for the average user.

So sticking to the #JCarn topic, my plea to developers is this:

Help me become a supercharged research wizard that can pull people / places / actions / etc from any article on the web and integrate them into my “personal encyclopedia” … and do it in a way that enables sharing and collaboration with fellow knowledge junkies.

Thankfully some researchers at The University of Queensland in Australia did a lot of legwork on analyzing the semantic application landscape, this invaluable report (pdf) they published in Feb 2011 is relatively painless, and a great place to get started.

In there you’ll find a breakdown of literally dozens of services, APIs, etc. which are evaluated on metrics like Open Source, Open Standards, Interoperability, Scalability, Usability, etc.

So, here’s my proposed workflow:

  • Patrol the web and grab the good stuff using Zotero — a nifty Firefox plugin from George Mason University. It’s free, open source, and not compromised by commercial interests. It pulls stuff right off the web and stores a local copy that is taggable and searchable.
  • Collaborate, annotate, and share libraries with other Zotero researchers who are also passionate about digging up answers on who’s really running this crazy world. (They already have thousands of groups working together on various research projects.).
  • Generate narratives and graphical representations for other journalists and the general public to pick up on.

For example, there’s a very useful article on Sourcewatch that lists people who walk through the “Government-Industry Revolving Door” i.e. folks like James L. Connaughton who worked as a lobbyist help big polluters like General Electric and ARCO avoid responsiblity for cleaning up toxic superfund sites. He then headed up pollution-policy development in the Bush administration where he fought to weaken standards for getting arsenic out of drinking water, stalled efforts to move forward on global warming, and pressured the Environmental Protection Agency to soften up their language on the asbestos in the air after 9/11 that poisoned rescue workers. He now left his post as wolf guarding the public henhouse and lobbies for Constellation Energy.

Information on folks like Mr. Connuaghton, John D. Graham, J. Steven Griles, etc. are first dug up by investigators like Jim Hightower (who publish things like this article in Utne Reader about government conflicts of interest) and then have to be manually processed by people who gradually code it into encyclopedias like Sourcewatch.

How can we pull from thousands of investigative articles and streamline the contribution process to these encyclopedias? Furthermore, once they’re organized nicely in the encyclopedias, how can we pull out awesome visualizations like Muckety that assemble the big BIG picture interactively so we can grasp it?

I’ve pounded my head figuring out how to do this in a manageable fashion, and am still coming up a bit short.

I see that I can export my zotero library as an RDF file (the preferred format for semantic apps, far as I know), so the next step is to figure out how to analyze all the documents through APIs mentioned above, and pull together a map of names, organizations, and activities they’ve been involved with (especially those of corruption and skullduggery). Assuming the RDF is compatible, I’d have to figure out how to feed the factoids into the encyclopedias and avoid errors.

Other questions and challenges:

  • Is Zotero the right tool?
    • One developer noted that Zotero is a walled garden due to the API not being accessible by applications other than Zotero. That article was written in 2010, is that still the case? Will this be resolved, and if not, does that stop this effort dead in it’s tracks? Update — Adam Smith left a comment below stating that this post is untrue and the Zotero API & code is AGPL licensed. Christopher Warner, then chimed in with this discussion thread to defend his position that the API is still insufficient. See the comments below for the full discussion, including a word from Zotero project manager Sean Takats.
    • The Criminal Intent Project used Zotero as part of their semantic analysis of the 127 million words of the Old Bailey Trials. Further exploration is required to see if their workflow is transferable the type of endeavor I’m proposing.
    • Also, there are other collaborative research tools and repositories like Diigo, Mendeley,, etc. would these serve better? And if not, can they integrate with Zotero group collections?
  • Politics.
    • OpenCalais has one of the leading semantic API’s out there, e.g. their engine finds relationships in the ever-awesome DocumentCloud library…however…they are owned by Thomson-Reuters which sued Zotero’s makers at George Mason University over claims that they stole intellectual property from their non-open source Endnote product. Zotero is ultimately a better product and better for the research community because it’s open source, and although the lawsuit was dropped, I’m not sure how warm Thomson-Reuters would be to having a fully integrated semantic solution with researchers who use Zotero.
    • There’s plenty of politics surrounding the notion of making the semantic web truly open. I can’t go into more detail other than point out that there are many commercial enterprises trying to be leaders in this space, which may or may not corrupt the integrity of knowledge for everyone.


This challenge is not going away, the prospect of connecting knowledge is just too delicious to ignore. Here are some resources to stay involved.

  • Open Annotation Collaboration — A collaboration between University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Los Alamos National Laboratory, University of Maryland, George Mason University and the University of Queensland that aims to develop a common annotation model to support interoperability across clients, servers, disciplines and platforms.

***BONUS hot tip*** if you’re on WordPress you can use the Simple Tag plugin, or Tagaroo,  which accesses semantic APIs to scan your post and suggest tags for you. Very convenient!

This post was written as part of the December 2011 Carnival of Journalism hosted this month by Martin Belam of the Guardian Developer Blog

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Seattle Interactive Conference

I had a great opportunity to explore the 2011 Seattle Interactive Conference, not as a marketer, but as a journalist, thanks to a freelance gig with the Journalism Accelerator. Roving the event as an independent reporter allowed me to cut through some of the fluff and dig into deeper issues that need to be sorted out as we venture into things like location based mobile technology. Privacy and data portability are the huge elephants in the room and won’t go away anytime soon.

Read my two articles in full length on the Journalism Accelerator:

Part 1 – General Overview and introduction to SoLoMo (social, local, mobile) space


Part 2 – Deeper questions on serving hyperlocal news in the mobile space & assuring data portability for the future

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Streaming Outside the Box – how video can finally behave like the rest of the web

Video on the web has come a long way.

It wasn’t that long ago when streaming video was a pain in the ass to watch and impossible to publish without a big budget or sizeable skills. We now enjoy free streaming video on demand that can easily be discovered, shared, and re-published…to the point where it only takes a week to galvanize political revolutions (i.e. Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain,) and transform childhood dreams of celebrity into bizarro nightmares (i.e. Rebecca Black).

Video on the web can be more than just Next-Gen content delivery.

The power of YouTube has become such a luxury, that it’s hard for us to imagine what the future holds because we’ve already shattered the boundaries that were firmly in place by movies and television. However, our conception of what video is and what it’s capable of are still hampered by conceptual boundaries that moving images have to be viewed in linear time, and within a simple box with limited controls. This is why Ben Moskowitz of Mozilla put the Open Video Alliance together and launched three consecutive Open Video Conferences. Here are some demos that came out from the weekend of the third conference on September 10-12th, 2011 that might get you thinking about the potential of open source video online.

The Gendered Advertising Remixer

Two drags, one click, and blamo! You’re My Little Pony squadron is now equipped with turbo fire power!!!

Standalone HTML5 Mixer

no need to limit your instant mashups to toy commercials (though it’s clear why they make great demos). You can also practice the art of remix right in your browser

TEAM: Boaz Sender (@BoazSender), Zohar Babin (@zohar), Martin Leduc (@ikat381), Elisa Kreisinger (@elisakreisinger), Mark Reilly (@alien_resident), Greg Dorsainville (@ScienceLifeNY) Brian Chirls (@bchirls) and Jonathan McIntosh (@radicalbytes)


*note: you’ll want to mix clips that are exactly the same length if possible.

Seriously JS – by Brian Chirls @bchirls

A javascript library for live video effects using WebGL. The fact that it does this live means that you can feed it from a webcam and have it automatically change the background, apply color changes, and perform other real time effects.

One of Brian’s future ideas for Seriously JS is to run a mirrored chroma swap in the style of Stephen Colbert’s “Formidable Opponent” segment where the red tie Stephen debates a mirrored copy of himself in a blue tie.

Why not think bigger? How about adding custom video effects to a live video tapestry of musicians webcam’ing from all over the world, playing a freestyle jam in the same key? Something like in♭flat but the tapestry of video feeds come in live and can have effects instantly applied to them.

at the moment the homepage has a demo which lets you play with effects on an OK Go music video …♬ ♫ ♪…and speaking of music…♪ ♫ ♬

Papio – sync audio and video across multiple machines

Solving latency issues may seem rather trivial but the results could actually be quite epic. For example, I once attempted to orchestrate a collaborative musical choir of 30 people across the web using a Big Blue Button video hangout. The problem was that all the video streams had slight latency delays from each other and there was no way to sync up a metronome so that everyone would be hearing the same beat at exactly the same time. This could have likely been solved with Papio, allowing a real time musical get-together with participants chiming in from anywhere across the globe. To try it out, connect a bunch of machines from any location to and click “Start demo.” They should all be boomboxing at exactly the same time.

9/11 Television News Archive by

The folks at OVC were very fortunate to have Brewster Kale and Tracy Jaquith of the Internet Archive debut this phenomenal work at this year’s OVC. Compiled from 3,000 hours of international TV News from 20 channels, scholars and citizens can not only witness the events of September 11 as they unfold, but also compare the coverage from a variety of perspectives in the US and around the world. During the presentation it was suggested that this tool could be used for other scholarly research to compare international television news coverage of other events and milestones in human history. Great idea! Tracy spent some time during the working groups sharing the methodology so others could build their own “TV Grid” — let’s see what happens.

Time Map

It was great to see artists like Jacob Quinn of knowyourecology playing with browser based video for the first time. Jacob showed me a little experiment with triggering different time points in a video based on clicking an image’s location



I also highly recommend you check out other these other open video experiments:

  • Popcorn JS- a javascript library built for the HTML5 video framework that allows video components to interact with other web elements. For example, you watch a video that pulls up wikipedia articles, google maps, twitter feeds, flickr photos, which are timed to show up on the site during certain time points in the video.
  • A couple cool examples (must have latest version of Firefox and Chrome)
    • Europeana Remix – an interactive experience around the story of an unlikely friendship during the First World War
    • State of the Union – an annotated version of the President’s speech synced with expert commentary
    • Right Wing Radio Duck – an annotated version of Jonathan McIntosh’s Donald Duck remix of Glenn Beck programming. Regardless of the politics, this demo provides a good model for annotating source material for any sort of documentary or video journalism.

    Learn how to make your own Popcorn movies via and their Google Group.


Further reading:

This post was submitted for the September 2011 Carnival of Journalism topic to write on the “Future of Online Video”

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What’s possible when #Librarians and #Journalists Collaborate?

Finally found time to finish up the video from The Beyond Books conference I helped organize in April at MIT with Journalism That Matters. Really pleased how it turned out, there was great enthusiasm at The American Library Association’s #ALA11 convention in New Orleans today toward the subject of collaboration between Librarians and Journalists. Probably felt similar to the first time it was discovered that chocolate & strawberries go well together.

My colleague Mike Fancher, who has been working with the Knight Commission and The Aspen Institute on community information needs, sat on a panel with Marsha Iverson of King County Libraries, conference co-conspirator Bill Densmore from UMASS, and former ALA President and Rutgers educator Nancy Kranich.



For three centuries, in American towns large and small, two institutions have uniquely marked a commitment to participatory democracy, learning and open inquiry — our libraries and our free press. Today, as their tools change, their common missions of civic engagement and information transparency converge. Economic and technology changes suggest an opportunity for collaboration among these two historic community information centers — one largely public, one largely private. How?

Featuring community pilot projects such as:

The Public Insight Network
The Investigative Dashboard
Brought to you by the good folks at

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