Archive for October, 2009

News Innovation for KNC

October 1, 2009

What they did in the past well?
The winners from the past did a lot or really innovative projects. The majority of them were super creative, and I wish I came up with a few of the ideas. The Knight News Challenge has a lot of talented competitors to choose from. Ideas were one of a kind. Each project was pretty creative. One of my favorite projects was from MediaBugs –a 2009 winner. There project was an idea of helping journalists report the truth. Readers had the opportunity to inform the writer about errors in their work. I do not think I have ever heard of anything like this before. Personally, I have seen one error in the Austin Statesman and I did not know who to contact. The error was not anything big, but it was still wrong. This might help people gain trust back in an industry that people often consider as being media bias. My second favorite winner was fromhref=””> Everyblock (a 2007 winner). The large amount of money awarded immediately caught my attention, but after reading the description it seems well deserved. The project was designed to allow citizens to have access to databases so they could act on civic disturbances around their neighborhood. I am not sure how many citizen journalists would want to take down the government, but it would be interesting to figure out how many would try.

What they could do better?
It’s really hard to critique a winner since they were evidently good enough to win the Knight News Challenge. As I browsed the KNC site, I found the journalism tips they suggested. The suggestions basically said to be creative, do something you are familiar with, and have a possibility-oriented mind. Each winner certainly had all of those suggestions. One thing I noticed that many of the entries did not have was a video submission. Since I am a broadcast journalism student I just like to see ideas expressed in video. Facial expressions and body language can often help me decide on ideas by seeing the passion they share for what their trying to address. Written proposals are great, but compared to the contestant expressing their views in an enthusiastic manner immediately would draw my attention.

What I want to do?
After reading Jeff Jarvis’ book, “What Would Google Do,” I’m really torn between many ideas that I would like to submit to the Knights News Challenge. My original plan was to do something on crowdsoucring and tie in the 21st century model. The community wants certain issues covered. This idea would expand public participation by creating a website that is for the community to pitch the story ideas. I would want to model it after journalism and have people advise the writer on what to cover. A lot of the reporting would have to be investigative work. Once the story is complete I want bloggers to feel free to leave comments about what the reporter did. Each blogger has to identify them self since anonymity would certainly NOT be tolerated. Putting a name and picture alongside the comments would encourage people to make educational responses and limit ignorance. At first, I felt like it was the perfect solution, but now I kind of figure everyone in the J349T class would have that same idea.
Presently, I do not think I want to do my innovation project on crowdsoucring. After reading the first few chapters from “What Would Google Do,” I thought Jarvis’ approach on blogging about how bad Dell’s customer service department treated him, gave me my next idea. He didn’t have anyone to take his anger out on, so he wrote in his personal blog about how horrible Dell’s service was toward customers. I am not sure if there a website were you could just complain about receiving poor service, or a product that really sucked even exists. So my innovation project would be for a website with consumer complaints in blogs. I know I like to complain about a horrible product. If you want to complain about a business you can always contact the Better Business Bureau, but what about individualized products?
To monitor what’s the truth there would have to be some type of proof—a picture, video, audio, or anything that can prove your point. The next step would be to have reporters see if the story matches up and addresses the issue to the company. This would give the companies a great way to respond to any negative criticism. Jarvis states in his book that the customer always right, hopefully a website like mine would help continue the trend. I’m not sure exactly how I would make money besides advertisements. I don’t like seeing a lot of advertisements jumbled up on a page, so I would want more content but something simple.