Pictures from the Book and Print Sandbox workshop in Bristol’s Pervasive Media Studio – a meeting of 8 projects commissioned by React, of which Little J is one. This was an opportunity to get together with the other people involved in the wider project, and try out each other’s prototypes.
The essence of the Little J journalism project with Behaviour is to prototype things that make it as easy as possible for people to report stories and get them seen by journalists working for small local papers. Over the last week we’ve got the site and database up and running, created a new Facebook app for uploading stories, built a twitter scanner for automatically harvesting tweets with a specific hashtag (including geo-reference information) and have an Android app up and running!
The site is in heavy testing mode so no url yet, but all the code is available here. Next we will be playing with reputation systems and similar ideas to allow our “Little J reporters” to have a form of progression to provide a structure for their work. Hopefully some of our developments will be useful as contributions back to the Ushahidi Platform we are using for rapid prototyping.
Little J is a research project to explore citizen journalism, and find ways to use technology to connect journalists working on local news (an industry currently under threat) with the public, grouped under the term “hyperlocal news”. This is a project between REACT (Research & Enterprise in Arts & Creative Technology) and Behaviour (a psychological creative agency based in Cornwall) and is focused on the communities in and around Port Talbot in Wales as a test bed for a series of events.
The project is a great chance to explore Ushahidi more deeply, after using it for borrowed scenery and halfway through working on doris we can start looking at adding new features. I’ve started by setting up a test site to fiddle with and we are now focusing on creating a wide range of methods for people to get their stories into the site and into the hands of the journalists as we can. The obvious place to start is a facebook app, and looking at ways to integrate social media with the database of stories and do it in a way that encourages some good information. Another area to explore are mechanisms for encouraging people who are specialists in specific areas to be represented by new kinds of reputation systems. As a prototype we will be covering a lot of ground quickly, finding what works best for future development.