Now that the 2011 submissions for the Knight-Mozilla News Innovation challenge are officially closed until next season, the team is going to be highlighting some of the more intriguing ideas that made our eyebrows dance.
Note that this is just an exercise to generate discussion, and all opinions are my own and have no effect on the results of the challenge. It’ll be up to our stellar review panel to decide who advances to the Learning Lab and gets a shot at the full salary fellowship.
Please allow me to raise my first glass to Dan Schultz, who’s proposing to give C-SPAN a civic facelift and harvest the juice out of what appears to be boring (yet influential) humans talking too close into a microphone. C-SPAN is a non-profit organization funded by affiliate fees that the cable and satellite networks have to pony up, and it’s a shame that the content isn’t being delivered in a more relevant and engaging way. Not yet at least.
Dan would like to see personalized syndication channels that only show you the stuff that matters to you, as well as the ability to highlight, flag, and discuss certain clips that are important, and see how they compare with the selections of others.
This idea has a lot of great elements folded into it that all work together to make his entry shine. Dan wants to take an existing public service and make it better, so rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, he’s grabbing a few and building a hot rod on top of them. He’s looking to incorporate other baseline technologies into the works, particularly MetaVid, which uses open video technology to match government transcriptions to C-SPAN footage of the people speaking them. Lastly, his submission lays a foundation for amazing possibilities down the road, such as adding in government data (like stuff from the Sunlight APIs) and citizen shot footage (The Uptake anyone!?) that could potentially make this project breathe sweet knowledge for generations to come.
Also, quick random note, I remember seeing some interesting C-SPAN clips getting passed around the net a while back from the eccentric fellow at cspanjunkie.org, so I decided to pay him a visit and discovered that the 6,400 C-SPAN clips he had uploaded to YouTube were taken down by Google, presumably due to copyright complaints (?). So as we currently stand, if you want to share public footage of our own government’s deliberations, your best option is to buy a cable subscription and babysit a DVR all day, transcode, tag, and upload the footage to a youtube account that ends up being terminated into thin air for history to forget.
This is why Mozilla’s commitment to a free and open web will remain critical for a long time to come.
What do you think? Leave your comments here, or go to Dan’s submission page to vote and give him some feedback!
Depressed that you missed the deadline for this year’s innovation challenge? Do not fret, you have a chance to redeem yourself, we’re doing it all again in 2012!