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.
OpenRelief is a new open technology project with a goal of developing intelligent, autonomous information-gathering systems for assisting disaster relief efforts. The initial development efforts have been focused on the development of a robot airplane incorporating an intelligent camera, capable of recognizing fire, smoke, roads, people on the ground and other features. With other sensor packages, the plane can collect radiation levels, weather information and other kinds of data.
(HT Patrick Meier)
Patrick Meier, Crisis Mapping Director at Ushahidi, looks at information forensics and how we verify events during times of crisis:
I get this question all the time: “How do you verify social media data?” This question drives many of the conversations on crowdsourcing and crisis mapping these days. It’s high time that we start compiling our tips and tricks into an online how-to-guide so that we don’t have to start from square one every time the question comes up. We need to build and accumulate our shared knowledge in information forensics. So here is the Google Doc version of this blog post, please feel free to add your best practices and ask others to contribute. Feel free to also add links to other studies on verifying social media content.
If every source we monitored in the social media space was known and trusted, then the need for verification would not be as pronounced. In other words, it is the plethora and virtual anonymity of sources that makes us skeptical of the content they deliver. The process of verifying social media data thus requires a two-step process: the authentication of the source as reliable and the triangulation of the content as valid. If we can authenticate the source and find it trustworthy, this may be sufficient to trust the content and mark is a verified depending on context. If source authentication is difficult to ascertain, then we need to triangulate the content itself.
Click through for some intelligence on how to verify information that comes across our social media radar.
Worth a reblog. During last year’s PopTech conference, Patrick Meier, director of crisis mapping at Ushahidi, and Josh Nesbit, executive director of Medic Mobile (formerly FrontlineSMS: Medic) describe their organizations’ collaborative response to the Haiti earthquake using text messaging, mobile mapping, and a cadre of dedicated volunteers.
In the age of citizen journalism and information sharing that accumulates via SMS, email, Twitter and the web, how does one determine who to listen to? The crowdsourcing mapping platform Ushahidi uses SwiftRiver to verify data by adding context.
SwiftRiver is a free and open source platform that helps people make sense of a lot of information in a short amount of time. The SwiftRiver platform was born out of the need to understand and act upon a wave of massive amounts of crisis data that tends to overwhelm in the first 24 hours of a disaster. Since then, there has been a great deal of interest in this tool for other industries, such as news rooms and brand monitoring groups.
In practice, SwiftRiver enables the filtering and verification of real-time data from channels such as Twitter, SMS, Email and RSS feeds. This free tool is especially useful for organizations who need to sort their data by authority and accuracy, as opposed to popularity. These organizations include the media, emergency response groups, election monitors and more. This might include journalists and other media institutions, emergency response groups, election monitors and more.