Medill Grad Students Study Locative Journalism

    by Leslie Rule
    May 12, 2008

    At least once a day I ask myself how locative media can be used to more fully engage and connect folks to their communities. The question for this blog is a bit more focused: how can locative media and geo-localized content find form in the art and craft of journalism. And then to my surprise and excitement, LoJo, a new voice, enters the frey and expands the discussion.

    From www.lojoconnect.com:

    Shorthand for locative journalism, LoJo is the name of a project launched by a team of Northwestern University graduate students to study the intersection of journalism and emerging location-based technologies. Through this project, we hope to create interactive and informative mobile experiences that push innovation in journalism.

    The six-member team of LoJo are new media graduate students at Northwestern University. Led by Associate Professor (and Knight Grantee) Rich Gordon, the team is exploring the intersection of journalism and locative media. While working on their semester-long project, the LoJo team are blogging their research and sharing it, averaging a post a day.


    To date, their posts have highlighted gps-enabled road tours, gps and social networking, mobile advertising (the nemesis of locavists), and carbon footprint data to encourage social activism. Change in the newsroom is going to come from the students of today who are, by virtue of their time and place, changing the tools of the trade. The shift is too big, the old infrastructure too deep for change to happen from within. In digital storytelling circles it’s well founded lore that there is only one story: Death and Resurrection (aka phoenix rising from the ashes). LoJo is the start of a new media perspective in the news room. These grad students have grabbed devices and headed out into the field to create and to experience, and more importantly, to create an experience.

    As the LoJo team explains:

    From now until mid-June, we’ll be writing about current applications, emerging trends, likely limitations, ground-breaking projects in the field and other topics to digital media that we find interesting. We’ll also share our progress in creating a multimedia project that showcases how location-based technology can enrich journalism and engage audiences. We hope you’ll check back from time to time to see what we’re up to and let us know what you think.

    LoJo team member Joyce Chang hit upon Jeremy Hight’s concept of narrative archeology as she blogged on Antenna Audio’s latest project WallGuide, a gps-enabled tour of the Berlin Wall, using original source material and personal narratives to recapture a time and place, not so long ago, but already fading in memory.


    Our project was initially discussed as a way to depict a future event – to show what Chicago would look like if it wins the 2016 Olympic bid – but we’ve also realized that locative storytelling can be a rich tool for envisioning the past.


    I’m excited by LoJo’s definition and exploration of locative journalism. I am blogging (stayed tuned) the Where 2.0 conference and have added Where 2.0 location to LoJo’s Interactive Map. So, if you’re doing some LoJo journalism, add to the map, contribute to the legacy.

    Editor’s Note: Also, check out the LoJo students’ report on their project over at the MediaShift blog.

    Tagged: future of journalism journalism locative media lojo medill

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