Though I’ve never worked in a newsroom before, I have a feeling that it’s a somewhat erratic environment. When news breaks, I can only imagine that there’s a bit of scrambling to produce a high quality story in a very short period of time. Shazna Nessa told us that in the newsroom, everyone must be prepared for the disruption of breaking news.
Because of the need to work quickly in a team environment, there’s also a need for newsroom tools to facilitate collaboration. The news application that I’m creating for #MozNewsLab is no exception.
I’ve been mulling over the question of the week, which asks how our projects facilitate collaboration in the newsroom while accounting for different levels of technological skills among news team members.
The second part of the question is relatively easy for me to answer; the app itself will include a simple and intuitive user interface, whereby users can easily organize time, location and story concepts (plus related media) using an online map. Journalists will also be able to contact those who have submitted story ideas, as long as users have given their consent. There’s not much of a barrier to entry for the newsroom employees who are collecting stories, other than the necessity that users do need to know how to use a computer.
As for the first part of the question, I believe that my app concept would facilitate collaboration by providing another piece of the puzzle. Not only would Curious? provide the seed of information that could grow into a much larger story, it could also provide necessary background information that newsrooms need. Maybe a community member snapped a photo of a crime scene and tagged it by time and place. Maybe someone actually saw the crime and could serve as a witness. That small bit of shared knowledge from ordinary citizens—and journalists’ access to that knowledge—could be the difference between a vague paragraph on page six and a front page feature story. According to Shazna, timelines are very tight in the newsroom. Providing quick and easy access to supporting information could help news teams work together to meet strict deadlines without compromising their quality of work.
On a somewhat tangential note, I also want to share my interactive prototype concept. I won’t be able to make it to a pitch session this week, but I’d still love to hear your feedback. I want to give big props and huge thanks to Cole Gillespie for setting up popcorn and helping me to make this page fun and interactive.
Check it out: http://trina.ch/curious