I have now released the source code behind Help Me Investigate, meaning others can adapt it, install it, and add to it if they wish to create their own crowdsourcing platform or support the idea behind it.
This follows the announcement 2 weeks ago on the Help Me Investigate blog (more coverage on Journalism.co.uk and Editors Weblog),
The code is available on GitHub, here.
I’m looking for collaborators and coders to update the code to Rails 3, write documentation to help users install it, improve the code/test, or even be the project manager for this project.
Over the past 18 months the site has surpassed my expectations. It’s engaged hundreds of people in investigations, furthered understanding and awareness of crowdsourcing, and been runner-up for Multimedia Publisher of the Year. In the process it attracted attention from around the world – people wanting to investigate everything from drug running in Mexico to corruption in South Africa.
Having the code on one site meant we couldn’t help those people: making it open source opens up the possibility, but it needs other people to help make that a reality.
If you know anyone who might be able to help, please shoot them a link. Or email me at paul(at)helpmeinvestigate.com
Many thanks to Chris Taggart and Josh Hart for their help with moving the code across.
As part of a group response to the government‘s inquiry into the future of local and regional media, Paul Bradshaw looks at the role of local authorities in regional journalism. Blog comments will be submitted to the inquiry as well as the blog posts.
So. The Committee for Culture, Media and Sport want responses on “The appropriateness and effectiveness of print and electronic publishing initiatives undertaken directly by public sector bodies at the local level”
The question of what public sector bodies should be allowed to publish, how that affects local journalism, the local economy, and local democracy, is one of the most difficult to resolve – not least because it involves so many interconnected elements.
The first problem is that any discussion runs the risk of conflating a number of separate but interlinked elements:
- local councils and local democracy are not the same thing;
- local newspapers and local journalism are also two different things.
Whatever model emerges must recognise that papers are not the only places where public discussion takes place, and print journalists are not the only people holding power to account.
Last year I had surprising success with the Knight News Challenge, making the final shortlist of 29 before the winners were announced.
This year I’m at it again, with Help Me Investigate.com – a platform for ‘open source investigative journalism’, to be actively piloted in Birmingham, UK, but usable by anyone in the world. You can vote for it here, and read more about it.
Once you’ve done that, any ideas, useful articles or funds you could suggest would be very much welcomed.
Alex Gamela talks to Dave Cohn, founder of the non-profit, crowdfunding journalism project Spot.us, winner of a Knight News Challenge grant, and a suggested new model for the news business. On the eve of launching the Spot.us official website, Dave told OJB how he is putting his ideas into practice, and his views on the current state of journalism.
Four months after winning the KNC grant, Dave Cohn is a happy man. He started with a wiki where he presented and tested the different sides to his project, and he quickly managed to fund three stories. Now it is on its way to fund a fourth one. All of this even before having an official website. Continue reading
Thanks to James Thornett for pointing out this wonderful tool. MapTube allows you to select any two or maps and combine them, so: “For example, to see a map of the London Underground overlayed on top of a map of population, go to the search page and enter the keywords “tube” and “population”. Then click on the two relevant maps to add them. They will be displayed when you click on “View”.”
Not only that, but you can add your own data and combine them with others too, something which the BBC – James’ employer – has done on user surveys on issues such as the credit crunch and anti-social behaviour.
If you manage to have a play, let me know how you get on.