“How does the healthcare on my University campus compare to the healthcare at other Universities?”
That is the focus of CollegeJourn‘s first collaborative data-gathering project, an idea that has rapidly gained momentum in just one week.
Some background on CollegeJourn: Founded by Ben Leis (@benleis) in January of this year, CollegeJourn started out as a Twitter hashtag chat for journalism students, educators and practitioners for the furtherance of ideas on remodelling journalism education to suit a rapidly changing industry.
With burgeoning popularity, the hashtag chat switched to a chatroom hosted on collegejourn.com, taking place at 8pm EDT every Sunday evening. I set up a parallel chat at a more amenable time of 8pm BST for European participants, also hosted at collegejourn.com, in March.
Last week, the idea of a global collaborative project for student reporters was floated. The first, a ‘hard-news’ data-gathering assignment, would go hand-in-hand with the second, a thematic feature piece exploring the history of a word or concept in the relevant location. You can find CollegeJourn transcripts to catch up on here.
For the first part, participants would gather data relevant to their location on a particular topic, collaborating with those investigating the same in other locations as they go. On or before the deadline, reporters would bring their findings together for use in one (or more, depending on findings) finished publication.
In the second-part of the assignment, contributors would file their feature pieces as a news-feature accompaniment, allowing for creative interpretation across the globe and likely producing some interesting interpretations. The accompaniment to the investigation above is “What does ‘health’ mean in your location?”.
Sarah Jackson (@sarahsodyssey), involved in the chat on the night, blogged about her dream of a ‘global collaborative journalism project’ here. Suzanne Yada (@suzanneyada), moderator of the US-based chat, later said, ‘we’re breaking out of the naval-gazing. Let’s stop talking about journalism and do some journalism’.
As a platform for the collaboration, we will use HelpMeInvestigate.com. Aside from the benefits of working alongside a highly-skilled virtual newsroom, HMI allows us to easily break the investigation down into digestible challenges and see the progress of others working on the same thing. UPDATE: Click here for Help Me Investigate group.
For group communication, we will be using the newly-acquired Publish2 network, Wired Journalists. Click here for the CollegeJourn group. Weekly catch-up chats will also be held on Sundays, 8pm BST (3pm EDT), at collegejourn.com. All welcome.
Even though the (very) new UK Student Publication Association is in it’s earliest stages, I would urge them to jump on board for this project. As an organisation that seeks to work to ‘support student publications and their contributors by offering guidance, knowledge sharing, links in to the industry’, this would seem to be the perfect opportunity to develop alongside similar networks.
Likewise, I would urge anyone who’s as excited about this as us to get involved. By the nature of the project, we’re wanting contributors from all corners of the globe to join in, so do get in touch.
Feel free to come along to our Sunday chats and join our Wired Journalists group. Presuming you’re on Twitter, send a message to @suzanneyada, me (@JoshHalliday), @sarahsodyssey or tag your tweet with #collegejourn to jump into the conversation. We’ll look forward to hearing from you!