KNC13 OPENGOV | OPEN BS DETECTOR: Baffle-speak sensing and contextualization | Knight News Challenge

OPEN BS DETECTOR | Baffle-speak sensing and contextualization

Short URL: http://j.mp/skknc13obsd

Twitter: @OpenBSDetector

Public officials too often rely on rote phrases devoid of real meaning (baffle-speak) when answering questions of public interest. Open BS Detector spots the sound bites, logs, tracks and alerts about them, and offers useful information and context.

THE TASK
Citizens and journalists need to be able to more quickly and easily discern fact from fiction or misdirection in statements by their politicians and public officials, put those statements in context, and get accurate facts to make informed decisions and take action.

SOLUTION
Open Baffle-Speak Detector will parse those comments and answers to questions, compare them to a historical record by the individual on a topic, and return statistical information, as well as verified facts to the individual seeking a better understanding of a subject and an official’s approach to it.

IMPLEMENTATION
Open Baffle-Speak Detector will have three modes to enable people to identify and contextualize the accuracy, veracity and utility of officials’ statements:

  1. A browser plug-in for use on news articles, online transcripts and other text or Web pages.
  2. Voice-recognition/transcription and a Shazam-like mode for real-time assessment.
  3. A photo/facial recognition and/or augmented reality function that enables the user to easily identify the individual, their track record and overall baffle-speak score.

Our preliminary research discussing this idea among people in the open government movement, journalism, and technologists has been met with enthusiasm. The technology to do this exists or is in development in other arenas, and simply needs to be brought together for an end-to-end, easy experience rather than a patchwork that results in a laborious series of tasks, or a lack of capability in this particular sphere. We plan to collaborate with as many developers of existing projects, tools and technologies as possible.

SIMILAR PROJECTS AND COLLABORATION OPPORTUNITIES
The Truth Goggles, Lazy Truth, Super PAC App, and Churnalism projects are a few examples of similar ideas with different applications and approaches. They focus on parsing text or standardized data. None handle live, real-time input. Open Baffle-Speak Detector will stitch these approaches together for a robust, on-demand tool that works in live situations.

CURRENT STATUS
We have not commenced development on Open Baffle-Speak Detector, but have had initial contacts with people working on other and related projects. We will collaborate and build on Truth Goggles, Hyperaudio and other projects as much as possible to avoid duplicating work.

TEAM
Saleem Khan: Project leader, journalist [editor and reporter, ex- CBC, Metro International, Toronto Star newspapers; chairman/director, Canadian Association of Journalists]; advisor, University of Toronto ThingTank Lab [Faculty of Information]; founder, invstg8.net.

Collaborators & Advisors:
M. Boas: OpenNews Fellow 2012. Hyperaudio leader, jPlayer HTML5 media library project coordinator, open Web developer.
L. Gridinoc: OpenNews Fellow 2012. Creative technologist specializing in computational linguistics, semantic Web, and visual analytics.
P. Hunter: Over 20 years designing productive interactions between people and technology; expertise in speech recognition, software tools, and education; Fellow in the Leading by Design program at California College of the Arts; veteran of three start-up businesses; currently at Microsoft.
K. Kaushansky: Two decades specializing in speech recognition, voice user interface design, interactive audio experiences, speaker verification, and voice biometrics at startups and global technology firms, including Nortel and Microsoft. Currently at Jawbone.
K. Khan: User experience strategist and designer consulting to governments and Global 1000 corporations, OCAD University sLab advisor; leader of UXI, Canada’s largest UX professionals group.
H. Leson: Director of community engagement, Ushahidi; open source community developer, library and information technician.
M. Saniga, CA: Co-founder, near-realtime business intelligence/data insight generation software firm Quant Inc.; former finance director and manager at Cara, Dell.

FUNDING AND TIMELINE
We anticipate that Open Baffle-Speak Detector will gain interest and uptake among civic development and open government foundations, news organizations, and real-time intelligence companies and investors which would continue to fund development and custom or applications-specific versions.

ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY
Open Baffle Speak Detector is a tool that empowers citizens to identify when public officials give rote vs. real answers in their statements, and adds verified factual context.

LOCATION
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

KNC13 OPENGOV | OPENLYNX: Streamlined citizen information tool | Knight News Challenge 2013

One of my entries for the 2013 Knight News Challenge for OpenGov [open government]:

OPENLYNX | Streamlined question, routing and information tool for citizens to get access to public-held information

OpenLynx enables citizens to submit information queries and receive responses via low-bandwidth communication technologies accessible with basic mobile phones — such as text and SMS messages, e-mail and a lean/mobile Web site — to enable everyone to gain access to civic information otherwise unavailable to them.

THE TASK
Access to civic information, resources and services are limited by knowledge of methods, and access technology, which can put government out of reach of some citizens. OpenLynx aims to surmount those barriers by making it easy to connect to government.

SOLUTION
OpenLynx will enable citizens to submit a question or information request, and receive an automated reply with the requested information, or have the request routed to the most appropriate government official for a response. In cases where access to information is restricted, OpenLynx will enable people to submit a freedom-of-information request, or contact a journalist to propose a story or investigation, even from a basic mobile phone.

IMPLEMENTATION
OpenLynx will allow citizens to submit civic information requests via:

  1. Text or SMS
  2. Web
  3. Smartphone app.

All of these modes will be processed through a single engine that will draw on a database of common questions and responses to automatically respond, or pass on the request to a person if the answer is not readily available.

SIMILAR PROJECTS AND COLLABORATION OPPORTUNITIES
A preliminary search has not revealed anyone taking this particular approach to public information requests, although some municipalities have a 311 information service. There are open source dispatch and support ticket software projects that we could build on, but nothing we could use “out of the box” with only cosmetic or minor modification. We anticipate being able to collaborate with the invstg8.net project, which is already building a flat request-and-answer system. We have been in touch with FOIAMachine about collaborating on providing the FOI function, and Document Cloud as another source of information.

CURRENT STATUS
A proof-of-concept of the question submission, parsing, assessment, routing, handling and response engine is in development as part of the invstg8.net project. We anticipate having access to a demonstration version of a proof-of-concept engine by early summer.

TEAM
Saleem Khan: Project leader, journalist [editor and reporter, ex- CBC, Metro International, Toronto Star newspapers; chairman/director, Canadian Association of Journalists]; advisor, University of Toronto ThingTank Lab [Faculty of Information]; founder, invstg8.net.

Collaborators & Advisors:
M. Boas: OpenNews Fellow 2012. Hyperaudio leader, jPlayer HTML5 media library project coordinator, open Web developer.
L. Gridinoc: OpenNews Fellow 2012. Creative technologist specializing in computational linguistics, semantic Web, and visual analytics.
K. Khan: User experience strategist and designer, OCAD University sLab advisor; leader of UXI, Canada’s largest UX professionals group
H. Leson: Director of community engagement, Ushahidi; open source community developer, library and information technician.
M. Saniga, CA: Co-founder, near-realtime business intelligence/data insight generation software firm Quant Inc.; former finance director and manager at Cara, Dell.

SUSTAINABILITY AND FUNDING
We anticipate that OpenLynx will gain interest and uptake among governments seeking to improve engagement with citizens and reduce costs, civic development and open government foundations, news organizations, transparency groups, and any company or organization with an interest in gaining access to government information quickly and easily. We believe the tool would also have application to customer relations and community management by for-profit enterprises, which may lead to customized for-profit versions that could help to fund development of the public-interest tool.

ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY
OpenLynx empowers citizens to gain access to government information and services irrespective of their skill at navigating government channels or access to technology.

LOCATION
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

KNC12 MOBILE | MEGAPHONE: Giving a voice to the voiceless | Knight News Challenge 2012

One of my entries in the mobile round of the Knight News Challenge.

MEGAPHONE | Giving a voice to the voiceless

1. What is your project? [1 sentence]
Megaphone is a low-bandwidth, anonymous or pseudonymous, private and public group mobile messaging platform that helps people raise their voice.

2. How will your project use mobile tools and approaches? [2 sentences]
Megaphone will use simple text-driven menus and voice messaging in conjunction with mobile encryption and the open Web to help people privately share discussions, and broadcast to the Web if they choose.
The system lets people leave voice messages that can be publicly or privately shared, and geo-mapped as indicated in the video indexed here: http://vimeo.com/12567943#comment_7816752

3. Who will use it and why? [1 sentence]
Journalists trying to spread news or find stories that would otherwise not come to light, and ordinary citizens building a culture of openness.

4. Please list three ways they would learn about your project.
Journalists will learn about Megaphone through:
– established journalist networks, such as the Forum for African Investigative Reporters, Global Investigative Journalism Network, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Online News Association, WJChat , journalism schools and alumni associations; digital/social media such as Twitter and Facebook
The public would learn about it from journalists, peers, NGOs and any news channels available to them, online or off.

5. What connections have you made, or will you make, with others [communities, organizations or networks] about your project? [2 sentences]
I have worked with the Social Innovation Group at the MaRS Centre in Toronto, MaRS FutureLab and colleagues from the Canadian Film Centre MediaLab on this project. The SIG has offered consulting and research support, but further outreach is necessary to journalist groups identified above.

6. What part of the project have you already built? [1-2 sentences, feel free to include links]
We have completed the prototype design and are seeking avenues to move to the system development phase.

7. What does success for your project look like? [1-2 sentences]
Success would be enabling journalists to find and share stories that may be difficult, dangerous or impossible to surface and share with the world, and to help people in repressive regimes practise using their voice and fostering a culture of openness.

8. What resources do you need to succeed? [1-2 sentences]
We need digital security, mobile software and distributed network expertise, especially for developing countries.

Additional details:
Please list who is on your team:
Saleem Khan: Project leader, journalist [editor and reporter, ex- CBC, Metro International, Toronto Star newspapers; chairman/director, Canadian Association of Journalists]; advisor, University of Toronto ThingTank Lab [Faculty of Information]; program director, Innovate News.

Advisors:
D. Buie, digital strategist; resident, Canadian Film Centre Media Lab
B. Chmielewski, co-founder, Sweet Caesar; Android, iOS, BlackBerry developer for clients and projects such as U2, Toronto International Film Festival, IDEO, RIM.
K. Khan: User experience strategist and designer for Global 1000, telecom, consumer technology, finance, governments; OCAD University sLab advisor; leader of UXI, Canada’s largest UX professional group.
H. Leson: Director of community engagement, Ushahidi; open source community developer, library and information technician.
M. Saniga, CA: Co-founder, near-realtime business intelligence/data insight generation software firm Quant Inc.; former finance director and manager at Cara, Dell.

Expected number of months to complete project: 9
Estimated Project Cost: $197,000
Name: Saleem Khan
Twitter: @saleemkhan
Email address:
Organization [if applicable]: invstg8.net / Technovica
City: Toronto
Country: Canada
How did you learn about the contest?
I follow the News Challenge and have submitted proposals for years.

KNC12 MOBILE | MARK OF THE BEAST: Mobile data newsgame | Knight News Challenge 2012

I’ve updated and resubmitted my proposal from the Knight News Challenge Data round in the current mobile round of the Knight News Challenge.

MARK OF THE BEAST: Mobile data newsgame

1. What is your project? [1 sentence]
Mark of the Beast is a mobile newsgame that uses bar codes and RFID to teach data literacy skills to journalists and citizens.

2. How will your project use mobile tools and approaches? [2 sentences]
Mark of the Beast will use draw upon mobile phone features and sensor data, including geolocation, camera images, near-field communication, text, e-mail, and Web to engage users in a quantified-self type of game. They then manipulate that data as in-game tasks that also teach them data handling skills useful in journalism.

3. Who will use it and why? [1 sentence]
Journalists and others who want to learn data literacy skills will use it, as well as people seeking a fun, rich gaming experience.

4. Please list three ways they would learn about your project.
Journalists and the public will learn about Mark of the Beast through:
– established journalist networks, such as Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Online News Association, Global Investigative Journalism Network, Forum for African Investigative Reporters, WJChat , journalism schools and alumni associations;
– digital/social media such as Twitter, Facebook, serious games sites such as Gameful, professional trade sites like Gamasutra and the International Game Developers Association, consumer gaming news sites like IGN.com and Gamespot.com, game distribution channels like the Apple App store, Google Play, Valve’s Steam store, and so on.
– journalists, friends and peers who play the game.

5. What connections have you made, or will you make, with others [communities, organizations or networks] about your project? [2 sentences]
I am currently set to participate in Techraking with the Center for Investigative Reporting and IGN later in September, planning a newsgame hack day as an Innovate News event in association with the UXI design community, and potentially TIFFNet (Toronto International Film Festival’s year-round body), the International Game Developers Association, Interactive Ontario and Entertainment Software Association of Canada trade groups, and Toronto’s DigiFest festival [discussions in progress]. I also moderate a newsgaming forum on Gameful.

6. What part of the project have you already built? [1-2 sentences, feel free to include links]
I have already completed the first phase of consultations with domain experts and am working on designing the key interactions and behavior mechanisms that will form the basis of the game. The game is in the middle of the principal design stage.

7. What does success for your project look like? [1-2 sentences]
Success would be first seeing people enjoying the game and learning from it, even if they don’t realize that’s what they are doing. Second, making a game that is compelling enough that it can include a sustainable business model in industry or consumer markets would be ideal.

8. What resources do you need to succeed? [1-2 sentences]
Mark of the Beast will need technical expertise in game design and programming, and physical/electronic mobile media. This game is an experimental prototype that we hope to build upon.

Additional details:
Please list who is on your team:
Saleem Khan: Project leader, journalist [editor and reporter, ex- CBC, Metro International, Toronto Star newspapers; chairman/director, Canadian Association of Journalists]; advisor, University of Toronto ThingTank Lab [Faculty of Information]; founder, invstg8.net.
Advisors:
B. Chmielewski, co-founder, Sweet Caesar; Android, iOS, BlackBerry developer for clients and projects such as U2, Toronto International Film Festival, IDEO, RIM.
K. Khan: User experience strategist and designer, OCAD University sLab advisor; leader of UXI, Canada’s largest UX professionals group
M. Saniga, CA: President and co-founder, near-realtime business intelligence/data insight generation software firm Quant Inc.; former finance director and manager at Cara, Dell.
K. Seto: Founder of Massive Damage game studio and Endloop Mobile. Built Please Stay Calm, a popular location based game.

Expected number of months to complete project: 12
Estimated Project Cost: $180,000 [Experienced mobile game coder, designer, hardware expert]
Name: Saleem Khan
Twitter: @saleemkhan
Email address:
Organization [if applicable]: invstg8.net / Technovica
City: Toronto
Country: Canada
How did you learn about the contest?
I follow the News Challenge and have submitted proposals for years.

KNC12 MOBILE | INVSTG8.NET: Microcollaboration for journalists | Knight News Challenge 2012

With invstg8.net’s mobile-first focus and the problems it would solve, I’ve resubmitted it in the Knight News Challenge 2012 Mobile round.

INVSTG8.NET | Microcollaboration for journalists

1. What is your project? [1 sentence]
Invstg8.net is a microcollaboration tool that helps journalists anywhere overcome information barriers.

2. How will your project use mobile tools and approaches? [2 sentences]
Invstg8.net uses low-bandwidth communication technologies accessible with basic mobile phones — such as text and SMS messages, e-mail and a lean/mobile Web site — to enable journalists to connect and exchange peer-sourced information otherwise unavailable to them.
http://j.mp/skinetv [ Long link http://vimeo.com/27737276 ]

3. Who will use it and why? [1 sentence]
Journalists in the economic North and South will use invstg8.net to dramatically accelerate reporting on stories that would take weeks, months or years to tell — or that wouldn’t be told at all — due to structural, practical, technological and financial barriers to crucial information.

4. Please list three ways they would learn about your project.
Journalists will learn about invstg8.net through:
– established journalist networks, such as the Forum for African Investigative Reporters, Global Investigative Journalism Network, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Online News Association, WJChat , journalism schools and alumni associations;
– digital/social media such as Twitter [@invstg8net], Facebook.com/invstg8net, Github.com/invstg8net invstg8.net, and so on.
– journalist peers who use the tool.

5. What connections have you made, or will you make, with others [communities, organizations or networks] about your project? [2 sentences]
I have been working with increasing effort to bring invstg8.net to fruition since I met an African journalist for whom it took months to get information that I could get in minutes.
In the past year alone, the invstg8.net mock-up video and pre-alpha proof-of-concept prototype have been well-received when demonstrated to journalists at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Kiev, Investigative Reporters and Editors in Toronto, the Forum for African Investigative Reporters, social change technologists at Random Hacks of Kindness; fellows, participants, judges and organizers of the Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership / OpenNews in Berlin; news directors at national and international news organizations around the world, professors at universities across North America; and venture capitalists, individual journalists, technologists and social change advocates at every opportunity.

6. What part of the project have you already built? [1-2 sentences, feel free to include links]
We are at the debugging stage of a working proof-of-concept prototype, with existing code available on Github: http://j.mp/skinvstg8netgit [ Github.com/saleemkhan/invstg8net ]
The original mock-up video explaining the problem and how invstg8.net will work is here: http://j.mp/skinetv [ Long link http://vimeo.com/27737276 ]

7. What does success for your project look like? [1-2 sentences]
The first dimension of success is putting a low-bandwidth, minimum viable product version of invstg8.net into journalists’ hands and seeing them reap the benefits of it, then building out a more robust, secured, richer suite of tools and API to maximize its sustainability and benefits.
The second part of success is seeing the changes brought about by the public-interest journalism that invstg8.net will enable.

8. What resources do you need to succeed? [1-2 sentences]
The critical resources invstg8.net needs to succeed are skilled, experienced mobile, Web and back-end software developers, and operating funds. In a competitive marketplace, a shortage of available, skilled developer talent willing to dedicate themselves to building a functioning version of invstg8.net pro bono has been the major obstacle to success.

Additional details:
Please list who is on your team:
Saleem Khan: Project leader, journalist [editor and reporter, ex- CBC, Metro International, Toronto Star newspapers; chairman/director, Canadian Association of Journalists]; advisor, University of Toronto ThingTank Lab [Faculty of Information]; program director, Innovate News.
Advisors
B. Chmielewski, co-founder, Sweet Caesar; Android, iOS, BlackBerry developer for clients and projects such as U2, Toronto International Film Festival, IDEO, RIM.

R. Cribb, Deputy Investigations Editor, Toronto Star; journalism instructor, Munk School of Global Affairs at University of Toronto and Ryerson University School of Journalism; Canadian Journalism Fellow; president, Canadian Journalists Education Foundation; director, Investigative Reporters and Editors.

K. Khan: User experience strategist and designer for Global 1000, telecom, consumer technology, finance, governments; OCAD University sLab advisor; leader of UXI, Canada’s largest UX professional group.

H. Leson: Director of community engagement, Ushahidi; open source community developer, library and information technician.

S. Reber, Senior Coordinating Editor, National and International multi-platform Investigations, Center for Investigative Reporting.

M. Saniga, CA: Co-founder, near-realtime business intelligence/data insight generation software firm Quant Inc.; former finance director and manager at Cara, Dell.

Expected number of months to complete project: 11
Estimated Project Cost: $396,000 [Senior, intermediate, and two junior developers; just-in-time assistance; project manager.]
Name: Saleem Khan
Twitter: @saleemkhan
Email address:
Organization [if applicable]: invstg8.net / Technovica
City: Toronto
Country: Canada
How did you learn about the contest?
I follow the News Challenge and have submitted proposals before.

KNC12 DATA | MARK OF THE BEAST: Data literacy newsgame | Knight News Challenge 2012

One of my favourite among my entries in the Knight News Challenge: Data.

MARK OF THE BEAST | Data literacy newsgame

1. What do you propose to do? [20 words]
Mark of the Beast will tag people with temporary barcode tattoos and RFID as part of a data literacy newsgame.

2. How will your project make data more useful? [50 words]
Mark of the Beast will teach participants about good and bad data handling, hygiene and techniques by making them participants in its dissemination and management through a series of small tasks and exercises. Giving journalists and others data skills will elevate the quality of data-driven journalism, and conduct around data.

3. How is your project different from what already exists? [30 words]
Data education can be dry and tedious, especially with large data sets. Empowering people to have fun with their own and peers’ data can foster a better data journalism culture.

4. Why will it work? [100 words]
Mark of the Beast will succeed because humans are social and learn best through games. It’s how all of us start.
Participants mark themselves with a barcode tattoo and RFID tags to scan and check-in themselves and each other performing various tasks. It is a form of quantified-self data collection. That data is recorded and made available as part of the game. Participants can compete for achievements and rank. Tasks and milestones include processing and handling data as a journalist does. News and data journalism is a feature in the in-game world. Participants have fun, and learn skills.

5. Who is working on it? [100 words]
Saleem Khan: Project leader, journalist [editor and reporter, ex- CBC, Metro International, Toronto Star newspapers; chairman/director, Canadian Association of Journalists]; advisor, University of Toronto ThingTank Lab [Faculty of Information]; founder, invstg8.net.

Support:
Advisors:

  • K. Khan: User experience strategist and designer, OCAD University sLab advisor; leader of UXI, Canada’s largest UX professionals group
  • M. Saniga, CA: President and co-founder, near-realtime business intelligence/data insight generation software firm Quant Inc.; former finance director and manager at Cara, Dell.
  • K. Seto: Founder of Massive Damage game studio and Endloop Mobile. Built Please Stay Calm, a popular location based game.

6. What part of the project have you already built? [100 words]
Mark of the Beast is in the research and planning stage, consulting with domain experts and iterating the project outline.

7. How would you use News Challenge funds? [50 words]
Mark of the Beast would produce a proof-of-concept prototype and test run(s) of the game.

8. How would you sustain the project after the funding expires? [50 words]
A freemium model and traditional investment avenues appear to be the most likely options at this time. There are also several public and private funds available in Ontario and Canada focused on digital media and game development, as well as university lab resource support.

Requested amount: $180,000
Expected number of months to complete project: 12
Total Project Cost: $240,000
Name: Saleem Khan
Twitter: @saleemkhan
Email address [optional]:
Organization: Technovica
City: Toronto
Country: Canada
How did you learn about the contest? I have followed and participated in the News Challenge for years.

KNC12 DATA | DATABLE: Data based dating | Knight News Challenge 2012

One of my (crazier) entries for the Knight News Challenge: Data.

DATABLE | Data based dating

1. What do you propose to do? [20 words]
Datable is the digital dating service for data journalists and other data nerds to find data love.

2. How will your project make data more useful? [50 words]
Data professionals need compatible collaborators in work and life, and the research shows that people who are happy in their work and personal lives are more productive. Enabling people to produce great work, and balance it with a fulfilling life is a win all around.

3. How is your project different from what already exists? [30 words]
Datable will use participant-supplied data to match them for compatibility as data professionals, collaboration, and socially. There are plenty of dating sites and services, and plenty of professional networking sites and services, but none that combine both and add a data focus!

4. Why will it work? [100 words]
Datable will work because we are humans, not robots. People are increasingly disconnected due to days dominated by technology-mediated interactions, and they yearn for human contact. This is supported by the prevalence of technology and interest-related meetups and offline activity events.
Furthermore, Datable will fulfill a professional need for isolated data workers to connect and collaborate in an informal context. Anyone who has ever been to a professional conference or the like knows that the best conversations, ideas and work occur in the informal social settings.
Finally, Datable will be fun. When work is fun, we are more productive.

5. Who is working on it? [100 words]
Saleem Khan: Project leader, journalist [editor and reporter, ex- CBC, Metro International, Toronto Star newspapers; chairman/director, Canadian Association of Journalists]; advisor, University of Toronto ThingTank Lab [Faculty of Information]; founder, invstg8.net. Saleem also likes to ride his mountain bike, watch movies, east, sleep, and has been told he’s witty, fun, has great hair, fingernails, and style,
[I would include other people here but am not sure they want to be mentioned.]
Tip of the hat to Max Shron, data strategist formerly with dating site OKCupid.

6. What part of the project have you already built? [100 words]
Datable is purely a concept that has been discussed among a handful of data enthusiasts.

7. How would you use News Challenge funds? [50 words]
Datable would use the News Challenge funds to seed a proof-of-concept prototype and test.

8. How would you sustain the project after the funding expires? [50 words]
Like many dating sites, advertising and a freemium model, along with traditional investment avenues would apply. The data aspect may afford other opportunities, such as data services and products. This would be part of the exploration.

Requested amount: $85,000
Expected number of months to complete project: 12
Total Project Cost: $125,000
Name: Saleem Khan
Twitter: @saleemkhan twitter.com/saleemkhan
Email address [optional]:
Organization: Technovica
City: Toronto
Country: Canada
How did you learn about the contest? The street, like everyone else.

KNC12 DATA | METANEWS: Story as data to metastory | Knight News Challenge 2012

One of my entries for the Knight News Challenge: Data.

METANEWS: Story as data to metastory

1. What do you propose to do? [20 words]
Metanews is big-data mining tool that parses existing news to discover data-points that reveal deeper stories.

2. How will your project make data more useful? [50 words]
News organizations possess gigantic troves of data that sit idle — and largely forgotten — unless topical new or breaking stories require historical context. It’s the journalism equivalent of dead inventory. Metanews turns that old news into a live asset that can generate new stories.

3. How is your project different from what already exists? [30 words]
Tools and projects to mine data, parse data, and reveal insights exist. None seen solve this problem in journalism since first investigating the project in 1999.

4. Why will it work? [100 words]
Metanews will work for three reasons:
1. For the first time, news organizations’ stories widely exist in a structured or semi-structured digital form. That eliminates a once cost-prohibitive and intensive effort.
2. Even a few years ago, the technology to try to solve this complex problem didn’t exist in an affordable form. It requires processing power that would have cost hundreds of millions of dollars. It is now available for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and falling.
3. Metanews’ project leader, advisors and technical partners have the diverse experience and skills in journalism, data, visualization, design, software and finance to solve the problem.

5. Who is working on it? [100 words]
Saleem Khan: Project leader, journalist [editor and reporter, ex- CBC, Metro International, Toronto Star newspapers; chairman/director, Canadian Association of Journalists]; advisor, University of Toronto ThingTank Lab [Faculty of Information]; founder, invstg8.net.

Support:
Advisors:

  • K. Khan: User experience strategist and designer, OCAD University sLab advisor; leader of UXI, Canada’s largest UX professionals group
  • M. Saniga, CA: President and co-founder, near-realtime business intelligence/data insight generation software firm Quant Inc.; former finance director and manager at Cara, Dell.
  • G. Szeto: Software interface designer/strategist for financial and geopolitical risk intelligence sectors, Fellow at the Center for the Advancement of Public Action at Bennington College.

6. What part of the project have you already built? [100 words]
Metanews has been newly designed and modeled a paper-prototype in 2012, following an early attempt to solve this problem over a decade ago. The project is now recursively refining the model and building a team to create a proof-of-concept prototype.

7. How would you use News Challenge funds? [50 words]
Funds would primarily be used for two functions and support of the same:
1. Gaining access to large-scale computing resources needed.
2. Compensating skilled workers to implement it.
By far, the substantive portion of funds would be applied to resources.

8. How would you sustain the project after the funding expires? [50 words]
Metanews will employ university resources to which it has access, seek sales and/or funding from news organizations, enlist assistance from the open source development community, and seek angel and/or venture capital investment, and grant funding.

Requested amount: $375,000
Expected number of months to complete project: 18
Total Project Cost: $1.2 million
Name: Saleem Khan
Twitter: @saleemkhan http://twitter.com/saleemkhan
Email address [optional]:
Organization: Technovica
City: Toronto
Country: Canada
How did you learn about the contest? Following and participating in the Knight News Challenge for years.

KNC12 DATA | DATAHUB: Data metarepository | Knight News Challenge 2012

One of my entries for the Knight News Challenge: Data.

DATAHUB | Data metarepository

1. What do you propose to do? [20 words]
DataHub is a repository of data repositories, which compiles and curates available databases and datasets for discovery, sharing and collaboration.

2. How will your project make data more useful? [50 words]
The big problem with data isn’t a lack of it, it’s finding it and how to use it. DataHub will help data users to collaboratively find, scrub and share data and access to it.

3. How is your project different from what already exists? [30 words]
The Ujima Project resembles DataHub. It focuses on particular public databases with specific criteria. DataHub is open, social, and would include private databases, datasets, repositories and other tools and resources.

4. Why will it work? [100 words]
There is a real need and hunger in journalism circles for collaborative data sourcing and sharing, especially in non-competitive circumstances, or after the initial news scoop has been won and the originating journalist moves on to other stories.
Conversations at every journalism conference and informal gathering of journalists who work with data always touch on this yearning.
Fulfilling this need by enabling journalists — and other data hounds — to collaborate helps everyone, and would likely lead to more and better data-driven journalism.

5. Who is working on it? [100 words]
Saleem Khan: Project leader, journalist [editor and reporter, ex- CBC, Metro International, Toronto Star newspapers; chairman/director, Canadian Association of Journalists]; advisor, University of Toronto ThingTank Lab [Faculty of Information]; founder, invstg8.net.

Support:
Advisors:

  • K. Khan: User experience strategist and designer, OCAD University sLab advisor; leader of UXI, Canada’s largest UX professionals group
  • M. Saniga, CA: President and co-founder, near-realtime business intelligence/data insight generation software firm Quant Inc.; former finance director and manager at Cara, Dell.
  • G. Szeto: Software interface designer/strategist for financial and geopolitical risk intelligence sectors, Fellow at the Center for the Advancement of Public Action at Bennington College.

6. What part of the project have you already built? [100 words]
DataHub is in the concept phase, and is gathering professionals’ feedback (all positive) and suggestions for improvement.

7. How would you use News Challenge funds? [50 words]
DataHub would invest any funds into product development and ancillary support.

8. How would you sustain the project after the funding expires? [50 words]
A freemium pricing model, paid features for participants to highlight their data, traditional capital investment and grant funding, as well as ancillary merchandise for sale.

Requested amount: $250,000
Expected number of months to complete project: 12
Total Project Cost: $350,000
Name: Saleem Khan
Twitter: @saleemkhan twitter.com/saleemkhan
Email address [optional]:
Organization: Technovica
City: Toronto
Country: Canada
How did you learn about the contest? I have been following and participating in the Knight News Challenge for years.

KNC12 DATA | DATAFRAME: Distributed data journalism microwork | Knight News Challenge 2012

One of my entries for the Knight News Challenge: Data.

DATAFRAME | Distributed data journalism microwork

1. What do you propose to do? [20 words]
DataFrame is a platform or framework that lets people help journalists process large datasets through microwork.

2. How will your project make data more useful? [50 words]
Journalists often have to scrub, mine, highlight, cherry-pick, search for patterns and correlations, and perform other labour-intensive tasks on large data sets. DataFrame will farm out small chunks of data to the public to process, and thereby increase the speed and quality of news it generates.

3. How is your project different from what already exists? [30 words]
Other examples of this kind of microwork involve specialized, dedicated tasks, such as the search for extraterrestrial intelligence or protein folding. DataFrame would enable more differentiated, low-load tasks for news.

4. Why will it work? [100 words]
The distributed microwork model has been proven over and over again in multiple instances, as noted above, as well as in journalism. The Guardian’s MP expenses investigation is a recent example. People like to contribute to a public good, especially when it takes minimal effort, and especially when they can make a game of it with peers.

5. Who is working on it? [100 words]
Saleem Khan: Project leader, journalist [editor and reporter, ex- CBC, Metro International, Toronto Star newspapers; chairman/director, Canadian Association of Journalists]; advisor, University of Toronto ThingTank Lab [Faculty of Information]; founder, invstg8.net.

Support:
Advisors:

  • K. Khan: User experience strategist and designer, OCAD University sLab advisor; leader of UXI, Canada’s largest UX professionals group
  • M. Saniga, CA: President and co-founder, near-realtime business intelligence/data insight generation software firm Quant Inc.; former finance director and manager at Cara, Dell.
  • G. Szeto: Software interface designer/strategist for financial and geopolitical risk intelligence sectors, Fellow at the Center for the Advancement of Public Action at Bennington College.

6. What part of the project have you already built? [100 words]
DataFrame is in the concept phase and is gathering feedback and insights on the plan from experts and ordinary citizens alike. A paper/visual prototype and Web-based mock-up are the next steps.

7. How would you use News Challenge funds? [50 words]
Funding will be applied to building a small, dedicated team to rapidly progress from prototype to product, and attendant costs.

8. How would you sustain the project after the funding expires? [50 words]
Once the product is developed, maintenance costs should be minimal. The project would follow a freemium model, with larger news organizations paying for a licence, pay-per-use or volume fee schedule. DataFrame would also pursue angel or venture investment and additional grant funding. Ancillary merchandise will also be offered for sale to users.

Requested amount: $190,000
Expected number of months to complete project: 12
Total Project Cost: $250,000
Name: Saleem Khan
Twitter: @saleemkhan twitter.com/saleemkhan
Email address [optional]:
Organization: Technovica
City: Toronto
Country: Canada
How did you learn about the contest? I have been following and participating in the Knight News Challenge for years.