Saturday, July 07, 2007

Crowdsourced journalism at NCFocus

An account of the local crowdsourced/collaborative journalism projects I've tried to get started. Wanted to publish it now, since our Assignment Zero "crowdsourcing" interviews are slated to appear - or start to appear - at Wired this week, and since my A.Z. profile says I've been a "(rarely successful) instigator" of crowdsourced journalism projects but goes into no detail whatsoever.

Here are the crowdsourced journalism projects I've tried to instigate:

1. Last summer's project encouraging county leaders to see An Inconvenient Truth - a project perhaps best described in this post -
went strong on the "offering tickets and encouragement" phase (we offered a lot of tickets, and a lot of encouragement, and got a lot of people to take tickets and at least some to see it) but then fell short in the "collecting followup evaluations" phase; after my most active co-instigator moved away, I was pretty much on my own, and IMO you really do need a partner for a project like this - or for any project.

2. Its subsequent retrenchment and reformulation as an "ask your county supervisor if he/she has seen the film" project; I count this as a success in that we all did ask our respective Supes, and did report the outcome, and the project writeup did shed light on the views of our Supervisors.

3. Not crowdsourcing per se, but an attempt to do local collaborative journalism, by enlisting other news media outlets in a joint effort to look into Nevada City's then-poor drinking water (described in last January's post Citizen Journalism on NCFocus) was unsuccessful (two didn't respond; the third did respond, and did meet with city officials, but I wasn't invited and nothing was published about the result)

4. A more recent attempt from a few months ago, to mobilize a group to look into a local issue and to get editorial support from a newspaper to work with us, didn't get off the ground. We never got an answer from the paper, and the "mobilization moment" passed.
(This was mostly my fault; I didn't give this the sustained push it would have needed, to make it happen.)

So - by a "got the data, and the result got published" metric, there's been one success out of 4 attempts.


Anonymous said...

An Inconvenient Truth does not tell the whole truth.

From Real Climate;

"At least three careful ice core studies have shown that CO2 starts to rise about 800 years (600-1000 years) after Antarctic temperature during glacial terminations."

So global temperature rise is a real phenomenon, it just that it not for the reasons that are commonly held to be true.

Other planets in our solar system are experiencing a warming trend as well.

Dont get me wrong, I do not like oil and chemicals or the damage that they do to our environment like the plastic slicks in the ocean, I just think we need to be accurate in how we approach the problem. Part of that is defining the problem correctly.

Brant Callahan

Anna Haynes said...

"CO2 starts to rise about 800 years (600-1000 years) after Antarctic temperature..."

Here's the RealClimate URL (from Dec 2004). Quoting more fully:
"...the warmings take about 5000 years to be complete. The lag is only 800 years. All that the lag shows is that CO2 did not cause the first 800 years of [natural] warming, out of the 5000 year trend.
The 4200 years of warming make up about 5/6 of the total warming. So CO2 could have caused the last 5/6 of the [natural] warming, but could not have caused the first 1/6 of the warming.
CO2 during ice ages should be thought of as a "feedback", much like the feedback that results from putting a microphone too near to a loudspeaker.... CO2 does not initiate the [ice age] warmings, but acts as an amplifier once they are underway.

(I don't know if the understanding on this has changed since 2004; it may well have.)

Moral of the story: we really do do better if we listen, closely, to the climatologists.

and Brant re your
"Other planets in our solar system are experiencing a warming trend as well" -
I don't think scientists believe with any degree of certainty that this is the case - do you have a (non-PR-flack) reference for this?
To quote RealClimate from Friday :
"the big problem for blaming the sun for the recent global warming is that there hasn't been a trend in any index of solar activity since about 1960, and that includes direct measurements of solar output by satellites since 1979."

"we need to be accurate in how we approach the problem."