Syria Deeply, Beat Page of the Future
It’s an incredible idea: one site, one beat. No front page. No sports, no business or finance, anywhere. It’s called Syria Deeply.
It’s about 25% original content, written by veteran Middle East correspondent Lara Setrakian and friends. The rest is aggregated and includes interactives, maps, and contextual material aimed to catch people up on the story without pointing them off site.
From a taxonomy perspective, Syria Deeply is the opposite of most news sites. In a traditional news taxonomy, information is divided by broad topics, like World News. Each topic is divided into subsections, like the Middle East. Each subsection is then often divided into even smaller subsections, like Syria. Each section gets smaller and smaller. Topic pages live in obscure ghettos on many news websites: auto-aggregated and ugly dumping grounds for content that happens to be tagged with particular keywords.
On Syria Deeply (designed by Brock Petrie and developed by Soumyadeep Paul and Arindam Biswas, who runs Collective Zen) the topic page is the homepage. Setrakian’s hope is that this site-wide focus on a single beat will allow for deeper, more thoughtful reporting.
FJP: Looks extremely promising.
Context, context, context. Bravo.
The Faster Than Disaster project is currently monitoring Isaac in the Gulf of Mexico.
At Ushahidi, we have interacted with various organizations around the world, and the key thing we remember from reaching out to some NGOs in Kenya is that we faced lots of resistance when we began in 2008, with organizations not willing to share data which was often in pdfs and not in machine readable format. This was especially problematic as we were crowdsourcing information about the events that happened that year in Kenya. Our partners in other countries have had similar challenges in gathering relevant and useful data that is locked away in cabinets, yet was paid for by taxpayers. The progress in the Gov 2.0 and open data space around the world has greatly encouraged our team and community.
When you’ve had to deal with data hugging disorder of NGOs, open data is a welcome antidote and opportunity. Our role as Ushahidi is to provide software to help collect data, and visualize the near real time information that is relevant for citizens. The following are some thoughts from our team and what I had hoped to share at OGP in Brazil. (We are participating virtually via webcast, do join in.)
Been awhile since I’ve worked on a project with my Center for Civic Media/Media Lab folk. But we’re working on an Ushahidi instance via Crowdmap for the Occupy Together/Occupy Wall Street movement [English translation: we’re making a map where people can log everything from incidents with police to where to drop off supplies — all through their cell phones]. Right now I have to figure out why the Twitter interface isn’t working.
Check it out, add stuff: OccupyTogetherMap
This looks great. I am extraordinarily upset that some people (not the people making this Ushahidi instance) are calling it American Spring, because this is very different, but big ups for Ushahidi and the Civic Media Lab group working on this.
Another crowdsourced map, this one for the entire East Coast, was pulled together “to help ordinary people help themselves” by a group including CrisisCommons, CrisisMappers, Geeks without Bounds, GIS Corps, Humanity Road, Info 4 Disasters, Standby Task Force Volunteers, Tethr and Ushahidi. Their map has received more submissions but because it’s covering such a large area.
Dan Simmons looks at how, following a natural disaster, the internet is becoming an essential tool for survivors and rescuers alike.