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27 Feb

A 360/VR audio tour of Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park

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This 360/VR audio tour was made with Story Spheres and audio I produced for the launch of the sculpture park in 2007. I recorded then Art Critic Sheila Farr about individual art pieces, as well as the lead designers for the park.

Get the immersive experience via your phone (and Google Cardboard) by going to this URL: https://www.storyspheres.com/scene/3BFb9RY6

You can see the old (kinda broken) project here: http://o.seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sculpturepark/

29 Aug

Change the ratio! But I’m auditing myself first

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NOTE: A version of this post ran on PBS MediaShift on Oct. 10, 2014. Lessons Learned from a #GenderAudit on Twitter

If I follow you on Twitter, you may have noticed that I’ve have added you to a Twitter list: Male or Female.

There’s also a private list for People of Color*.

Before you freak out, let me explain what I am trying to do.

A few weeks back I heard a great segment on On The Media with Buzzfeed writer Katie Notopoulos, who created a holiday called Unfollow a Man Day. The piece originally aired on the tl;dr podcast.

Check it out:

This ‘holiday’ came from Notopoulos’ decision from realizing she was following a ton of dudes on Twitter, rather than other females.

She explains it here: Why I Created The #UnfollowAMan Movement

Anyway, that got me thinking… for about a year, I have consciously been trying to diversify who I follow on Twitter.

I never want to be caught in an echo chamber, and I have learned that I get a beneficial edge when I hear outside voices, instead of hearing the same people from within the journalism industry.

But while my diverse follow was a conscious act, I still don’t know if I have struck the right balance.

So, why not find out?

And that’s where these lists come it.

By going through the 960+ people I follow and doing an inventory, I can achieve a couple of things:

1- What is my actual ratio? If I am preaching diversity and parity, am I practicing it too? I don’t know, and that’s what I am looking to find out. This self-experiment really is an audit.

2- In the interview with Notopoulos, she said she realized that some stories that were seen as newsworthy coming from “Twitter buzz,” were only a buzz for men. Meaning, because she followed dudes, dudes’ topics dominated. For me, inversely, I want to see what topics are not buzzing in my stream… or who is it buzzing with.

There is such a thing as Black Twitter. Latino Twitter, non-English Twitter… but most users don’t know (or care) because they follow people and communities they know… or reflect their experiences.

Side note: I wrote this post at 11:30PM-ish, because some people were weirded out by being added to a list. And one person, I feel, began to project some assumptions on what I am trying to do… hence this quick post.

But, let me be clear… just like Twitter, this is for me. I use Twitter for a tool that benefits my knowledge. And now I am using Twitter lists to benefit me as well. I am dying to know the results of this self-imposed audit and see if I can spot any patterns. I am coming in with NO ASSUMPTIONS, open to whatever results may come.

And, for the record, I don’t care if this is scientific or not. This is me grouping subjective follows along gender lines and see if anything emerges. I’m a hackademic, not an academic.

Now, after reading this post, I want to invite/challenge you to do the same thing. Find out if your stream is skewed by following one community more than another… hell, find out if you have a bias. Let me know if you try this thing… and, of course, feel free to share your thoughts on what I am doing. I’m trying to be open and transparent… and I am coming with good intentions.

UPDATE: At 12:21AM, I renamed my lists to be Gender Audit Proj: Female and Gender Audit Proj: Male, to be clearer on what I am doing.

NOTE: I started this “self-experiment” late this evening on a whim… and my brain is turning into mush as I add *everyone* to a list… so I assume I have made some errors. If you spot one, please let me know… thank you!

* The People of Color list is currently set to private, because there is a chance I add or leave out someone accidently and I don’t mean to offend.

// UPDATE & ADDITION (5/14/15)
A student recently told me about TWEE-Q, which analyzes which gender you retweet more. If you think about, having a balanced gender feed is a great step, but how you engage with the feed is an important metric.

What’s the point of following a balance if you only engage with one side?

So, I ran my Twitter name through the web app and got this result:
Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 10.49.04 AM

“@webjournalist retweeted 48% men and 52% women.” I am proud of this result!

// OTHER AUDITS
Feel free to tweet me your audit results as well!

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

24 Mar

Twitter bot vs misinformation = @accuracybot

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I made this icon by hand in less than two minutes, so I know it does not look cool. But you get the point.

I made this icon by hand in less than two minutes, so I know it does not look cool. But you get the point.

We’ve all seen them.

We all hate them.

But what if we created a “spam” Twitter bot for good?

Here’s my latest idea: What if we create a Twitter bot account that actively tweets at people who are spreading misinformation via Twitter?

We know that vaccines don’t cause autism, why not tweet a response (with a link) to someone making that claim?

We know that Obama was born in the US. Let’s tweet a response to someone tweeting about his birth certificate.

Let’s then move the bot – or bots – into breaking news situations where misinformation, including images, spread quickly on Twitter.

The way I see it, this isn’t too “hard” to do… but it requires a few things:

Step 1: Create an account
Step 2: Identify misinformation
Step 3: Define pattern of misinformation tweets
Step 4: Craft 140 character response to misinformation tweets
Step 5: Repeat steps 2-4 for the next set of misinformation.

Oh yeah, that whole coding a Twitter bot is perhaps the most important step.

If this works, I can for see news organizations creating accuracy bots of their own battling misinformation.

What do you think?

More importantly, are interested in helping create this?

I already did Step 1: @accuracybot

28 Feb

Launched! [blank] is the future of journalism

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blank-is-the-future-of-journalism-animated

[Blank] is the future of journalism is bar game for jaded journalists, created by Kim Bui, David Cohn, Maite Fernandez, Robert Hernandez and Matt Thompson at a DC bar in January 2014.

The premise is that you have two minutes to become a pundit and seriously preach/defend/sell the randomized concept, or [blank], to your jaded friends.

Go play and send us feedback: http://blankisthefutureofjournalism.com/

25 Jun

Uploading a custom video into Instagram app (almost)

Since writing a how to post on uploading a custom video into Vine, based on Chris Medina’s video walkthrough, lots of folks have been asking me for a similar trick for Instagram’s new feature.

Well thanks to BritAlb, who added this in the comments, we have a link to a post by Austin Tompkins that claims to have figured it out. I have not tried it yet.

BUT, it is only for Android devices.

I did another Web search and found this post by Nathaniel Akin on techenvy.com. This post is also just for Android devices.

Again, I have not confirmed if their process works, since I am iOS / iPhone.

On my end, using the iExplorer, I was able to find the location where all the Instagram video files are located:

iExplorer –> iPhone –> Apps –> Instagram –> Library –> Application Support –> Instagram –> Videos

iExplorer-Instagram

I did the swap out test from the Vine hack and it didn’t take. I’ve done other experiments and they have also failed.

One thing I found interesting is that when I replaced the video with one of mine or another Instagram video, it would disappear from the app. When I restore it back to the original video it came back into the app.

In other words:

  • OG Instragram video –> externally edited video overwrites OG Instragram video –> video disappears from app.
  • Externally edited video –> A different OG Instragram video overwrites externally edited video –> video disappears from app.
  • Different OG Instragram video –> the ORIGINAL OG Instagram video overwrites different OG Instragram video –> video returns back to the app.

What this tells me is that there is some meta data tying it all together. I think the key is also the teaser image.

I’m about to board a plane, but I wanted to share this with others in hopes we can figure this out together!

We’re making progress.

Categories: Projects, Technology Tags: , ,
24 May

My Google Glass app ideas for different news orgs



Google Glass is clearly in its early stages, but it is emerging as a platform that merits our attention as news and information distributors.

The NYTimes has an app, but I think it really falls short of understanding and using this new platform.

Inspired by Thomas Baekdal‘s Google Glass for news post, here are my Glass app ideas for other news orgs… to help spark ideas and conversation.

These app ideas are practical and based on reality… not hypothetical futuristic dream apps.

// LATimes (or any regional/local news org)
Offer the Glass user an app card with trending/editor selected keywords/topics. The Los Angeles Times already does the keyword selection with their sub-navigation called “trending now.” Today’s (5/23) included: L.A. Mayor’s race, U.S. drones, Boy Scouts, London Attack, Helen Mirren, Lebron James.

Via Glass, the user could say, “Okay LATimes, tell me about [TOPIC]” and it will load the headline and nutgraph… it will of course offer a longer version of the story, perhaps in audio form.

Newspapers and print media also have an opportunity with Glass to embed and launch multimedia elements like videos or photo galleries from their print pages. ​That QR code may finally have value!

 

// NPR
This one, for now, is the most traditional app to do. The app is a card that plays, when a user opts in, the latest Hourly News Summary that is traditionally read on the air.

These apps are fairly simple tapping into the existing technology and framework. These do not are not “futuristic” apps. Naturally, if we tap into the GPS, we can create an app that brings you the latest news from “around you.”

 

// @BreakingNews (or other breaking news Twitter accounts)
The obvious option for this essential Twitter account is just to notify the Glass user with every breaking news tweet… but that can be overwhelming.

I’d suggest creating an app where the tweets that get the most retweets at a faster rate get a category of “important,” and those items notify the Glass user. Think of the classic breaking news interruption.

 

// Circa news app
This new news platform is actually a great fit for Glass. They have broken down a story into bullet points, and they add points to the story as it develops. It knows what you’ve read about the story when you return.

What they should offer is a list of headlines, and, as you do know, you can follow the story for updates. Their app would notify you when a story has been updated. Since the information is a bullet point, it wouldn’t be overwhelming.

 

// Newsbound
This visual-storytelling platform presents information like a PowerPoint presentation, but it’s compelling. What’s also powerful about this format is that these slides add up to tell a long form piece.

Yes, long form storytelling for Glass.

 

// SoundGecko
If a visual version of long form doesn’t work, check out SoundGecko, which converts text — any text — into audio.

Yes, at this stage it’s like Siri trying to read you a story, but when you are on the go and you actually want to consume a long form piece, this new technology may be good enough.

 

Well, since I am pitching Glass app ideas, here are some more “future” and obvious ones:

  • Eventually be apps that are ​GPS aware to give information/news feeds.
  • Based on video’s audio as a timeline, tie bonus material content to the broadcast news story. (This already happens with DVDs/movies and will eventually become available to us.)
  • In terms of TV production, have Glass replace the TV new anchor’s Teletrompter and ear piece.

Two extremely obvious and simple ones:

  • ​Live stream a press conference, but audio quality is not ideal. You can at least do a live POV shot of a scene.
  • Using Glass as your second screen as you watch a live event either on TV on in person… like we do with tweets via hashtag.

I hope news organizations take advantage of this new type of platform and I look forward to what we will produce.

Personally, as a Google Glass Explorer (which gives me the “privilege” to buy and experiment with Glass early), I can’t wait to try these things out to see what works and what doesn’t.

23 May

Four requirements for successful development

At this stage, this is more a hypothesis… I want your reactions to this concept.

It’s based on my past successes and failures in projects/development. I, like all of us, have strengths and weaknesses in different categories, but for successful product developments, you need each… equally… at different times, perhaps, but constantly evolving and influencing the project.

ThinkListenBuildSell-fourneeds

Again, these requirements are in constant flux through different stages of the project, actively influencing each other.

Think: You have to have a creative, useful idea.

Listen: You have to truly listen/hear and adapt to wants/needs. From your community to stakeholders.

Build: You can talk. You can listen. But to have traction, you have to build something. A mockup, a demo or a working beta. Very much from the “show your work” model.

Sell: For journos, this is a new phase. But you have to promo your project… sell it to people. From your supervisor to actual investors.

I’ll try to write/explain more about this later… but I wanted to post this before I forget it… and I also want to collect reactions.

Categories: Personal, Projects Tags:
12 Mar

Learn Code Project: A year ago…

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It was about a year that I was boarding my plane headed back to the West Coast, recharged and inspired by SXSW12.

By the time I landed, I had coded and launched this new project.
learncodeforjournalismwithme-logo-thumbnail
Man, what a difference a year makes.

Frustrated (and starting to get desperate) with finding partners to collaborate/experiment with, I figured I should put off the inevitable and teach myself code. I know I wouldn’t be the best coder — like I’m not the best audio storytelling or photographer — but I respected the craft and know its power.

I had been director of development for seattletimes.com where we designed and built cool shit, which was ahead of its time… and now feels… so… quaint.

In my quest for dev skills, I tried a variety of different non-journalism, code classes… from video to web-based tutorials. I, as ONA pre-conference and NAHJ conference coordinator, recruited friends and colleagues to craft custom journalism focused all-day coding workshops.

I even offered a (nearly free) all-day, intro to Python bootcamp at USC Annenberg thanks to the awesome PyLadies.

For the record, while this benefited the community as a whole, I was doing it for me. And none of it worked… for me.

But after SXSW, inspired by Codecademy‘s Code Year (even though I had given up on it like other New Year’s resolutions) and a curious user of Google+ Hangouts, I created the Learn Code for Journalism with Me project.

Yes, it’s a loooooong name. My partner-in-crime Kim Bui openly hates it. I know.

But it comes from a series of projects I’ve hung around the domain journalismwith.me.

Anyway, the idea was a simple one and the reaction to it was overwhelming. I was clearly on to something… and I wasn’t the only one trying to solve this.

Cindy Royal of Texas State University was trying to build a curriculum, Dave Stanton (who was joining two other friends and myself in launching a cooperative consulting firm) had expressed interest and I’m sure others were trying to grapple with this issue.

But, again, what a difference a year makes.

As I wait for my plane to take me back to the City of Angels still recovering from SXSW13, the landscape for this has completely changed.

There are two projects I want to point out:

First is Sisi Wei‘s Code with me project that offers weekend coding bootcamps for about $85.

Second is For Journalism, the successfully-funded kickstarter from Stanton, which will create journalism-focused coding tutorials.

Outside giving money to For Journalism and being a cross-country supporter of Code with me, I had nothing to do with their launches.

Even if their project names sound familiar, as people have point out … to be fair, my loooong title clearly had all the right words required for any successful coding for journalism project aimed to empower the community.

For my little project that is reaching its year anniversary, I didn’t have the bandwidth to make tshirts to use crowd funding.

It was just me.

Actually, it’s not just me anymore.

It’s me and my amazing cohort of determined classmates-turned-friends that still meet every Monday at 3PM PT via Google+ Hangouts since April of last year.

We’ve abandoned Code Year and have been developing our own journalism-based, project-focused coding lessons. We’re teaching each other code and hoping to share what we learn with others.

You can hear about the LCFJWM phase 2 in this View Source podcast interview or read about what I’ve learned in this post.

What a difference a year makes. And I am so glad talented people have come into this mix and found ways to address this need… in ways I couldn’t have for lack of the bandwidth or connections.

God only knows what the next year will bring, but we all know we’re going to benefit from this work.

18 Jun

An update on my Learn Code project

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I wrote a quick post offering updates and information I’ve learned since launching the Learn Code for Journalism project.

This the experiment project that mashes up Codecademy’s Code Year with Google+ Hangouts, enabling journalists to learn programming socially.

Read it here: http://learncodefor.journalismwith.me/2012/06/18/what-i-have-learned-from-launching-the-learn-code-for-journalismproject/

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