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

With’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] is a microcollaboration tool that helps journalists anywhere overcome information barriers.

2. How will your project use mobile tools and approaches? [2 sentences] 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. [ Long link ]

3. Who will use it and why? [1 sentence]
Journalists in the economic North and South will use 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 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],,, 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 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 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: [ ]
The original mock-up video explaining the problem and how will work is here: [ Long link ]

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 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 will enable.

8. What resources do you need to succeed? [1-2 sentences]
The critical resources 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 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.
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]: / Technovica
City: Toronto
Country: Canada
How did you learn about the contest?
I follow the News Challenge and have submitted proposals before.

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