Last night Jay Rosen blogged about a wonderful framework for networked journalism – what he calls the ‘100 percent solution‘:
“First, you set a goal to cover 100 percent of… well, of something. In trying to reach the goal you immediately run into problems. To solve those problems you often have to improvise or innovate. And that’s the payoff, even if you don’t meet your goal”
In the first example, he mentions a spreadsheet. So I thought I’d create a template for that spreadsheet that tells you just how far you are in achieving your 100% goal, makes it easier to organise newsgathering across a network of actors, and introduces game mechanics to make the process more pleasurable.
The spreadsheet contains fields for
- the ‘objects’ that you want to cover (these might be events, areas, people or others),
- the author who is either assigned to it or has already written it,
- the outlet, or publisher
- a link if it has been published.
- geolocation information (this can be used to create a heatmap visualising gaps in coverage)
- an importance rating (the scale is up to the creator – again, this can be used to order results or colour a heatmap)
- date/time (thanks to Tim Burden in the comments)
There may be other fields that you can think of that could be added – let me know what you think.
In a separate column are some calculations to work out how close you are to achieving ‘The 100 percent solution’:
- How many objects need covering (this uses the =counta formula to see how many cells contain text)
- How many have been covered (this uses the =countif formula to count how many cells say ‘yes’)
- The percentage of objects covered (based on the above figures)
- Percentage not covered
These calculations form the basis for a ‘progress bar’ chart which gives an instant visualisation of the job in hand (shown above), and incentivises participants to get involved. The chart can be embedded on any webpage, and updated dynamically.
The idea is that this progress bar forms a starting point for people to get involved in your coverage – helping ‘complete’ the job. This might be, for example, via a Google Form also generated from this spreadsheet to allow potential contributors to add ‘objects’ – or mark existing objects as complete.
Other ideas welcome.