MediaShift’s Collab/Space event has been making the rounds — from New York City in June to Chicago in September, and now on to Washington, D.C. The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri is the event’s premier sponsor, and it will be hosted at the Washington Post headquarters.
Collab/Space DC will hone and highlight innovation projects focused on open data, data journalism, government data and data visualizations — in the D.C. area and beyond. The event will take place from 9 am to 5 pm on Nov. 6 at the Washington Post’s, with a mixer afterwards from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at a nearby bar (to be announced soon).
Collab/Space DC will be an all-day, hands-on workshop focused on open data, politics and government 2.0 — bringing together a mix of startups and innovation projects from media companies, advocacy groups, non-profits and those working in the arena of “public good.” The event’s theme is inspired by the increasing relevance of open data and data visualization in government, politics and beyond. Collab/Space DC will explore the ways in which technology is changing how media companies and startups parse data from local, state and federal governments.
We’ve partnered with RJI at Missouri, which is not only offering up sponsorships but will also be on hand to discuss potential fellowships and student capstone projects to help the presenting projects.
For this event, we’ve assembled a diverse group of major players from within the data innovation scene. There will be rapid-fire presentations from these eight organizational projects, and the audience will help them identify their key problems. There will be breakout groups in the afternoon, with attendees learning improv comedy techniques to collaborate better and solve the projects’ challenges.
There are still spots available, so please register today to join us at the workshop! Today, MediaShift is excited to announce Collab/Space DC’s featured innovation projects, listed below in alphabetical order.
Collab/Space Data Innovation Projects
Project description: The goal of this project is to make crime more visible. Using a simple user interface, reporters can publish an automated or customized crime report for Washington area localities. By streamlining the collection and presentation of various area police agencies, we are empowering reporters with aggregated crime statistics and reduce the load of editors who enter crime reports.
Presenter bios: Denise Lu is a data editor for the Local desk at the Washington Post. She works with the PostGraphics team to coordinate and produce graphics. She recently worked on explainers for the McDonnell trial as well as the D.C. mayoral race.
Peter Pezon is a software engineer at the Washington Post. He builds databases and APIs for newsroom projects, and has recently worked on Election Lab, which aims to predict the 2014 Senate and House elections.
Project description: We are currently partnering with the World Health Organization (WHO) to produce a better way to handle data related to the recent Ebola outbreak. Our deliverable started as a map-based, interactive visualization to track Ebola cases and the international health community’s response. Through working on this, we identified other opportunities for improvement in the way data was being processed, stored, and communicated. One of the central tenets of our work is focusing on making data available publicly. For our project, we’d like to discuss our ongoing effort to change the way data is handled at WHO and in doing so, improve the response to the Ebola crisis.
Presenter bio: Drew Bollinger is a developer and data analyst at Development Seed. He has rich experience running advanced analysis on large and small data sets, as well as building visualizations for data storytelling. He is passionate about using powerful analysis and visualization techniques to promote social change. He is a firm believer in open source data and code. Prior to joining Development Seed, Drew worked at Capital One doing analysis on credit risk, home equity loans, and portfolio strategy. He also had the opportunity to do microfinance pro bono work with Accion USA.
Project Description: FiscalNote is a platform for real-time government analysis that aggregates, analyzes, and forecasts government action. We’re on a mission to build a political graph over the world and connect enterprises with the data they need to pinpoint government impact. Our vision is to create a legal and political system that is transparent and predictable using artificial intelligence and machine learning to combat injustice and uncertainty.
Our first product, FiscalNote Prophecy, allows for easy searching, tracking, and forecasting of legislation from all 50 states and Congress, all in real-time. We’re taking a technological
approach to provide users with immediate notification and analysis of any legislative action in the country Traditional methods of organizing and understanding legislative data have proven to be slow and costly. By aggregating and presenting the many different pieces of legislative data from across the country onto its online platform, Prophecy provides the tools for effective and efficient decision making.
Presenter bio: John Zoshak is FiscalNote’s Policy Manager. He has a J.D. from George Mason University and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Central Florida. John is a legislative lawyer who enjoys working at the interface of data and policy. Previously, John worked in state government relations at the Generic Pharmaceutical Association and Mylan. At FiscalNote, John provides subject matter expertise to team members and clients to help bridge the gap between tech and policy.
Harvest of Change, Gannett Digital
Project Description: In a first-of-its-kind explanatory journalism project, The Des Moines Register and Gannett Digital partnered to tell the story of an Iowa farm family using emerging virtual reality technology and 360-degree video. The experience launched at DesMoinesRegister.com as part of the Register’s Harvest of Change series details how sweeping demographic and economic changes in America are affecting Iowa farm families.
Viewers can take an immersive, self-guided tour of the farm, rendered in 3-D using the Unity video game engine. Along the way are a dozen 360-degree video segments in which the family and others in agriculture discuss rapid changes affecting the state’s leading industry. Here is a behind the scenes story on how the virtual reality aspects came together.
The core ideas behind Harvest of Change were drawn from long-standing demographic trends highlighted in census, education and other data. For example: the migration of people from rural areas to cities, consolidation of school districts, also reflecting rural population loss, projections on race and ethnicity for coming decades, and agricultural exports, highlighting the growth of overseas markets for Iowa produce.
Presenter bios: Mitch Gelman is Vice Present of Product at Gannett Digital. Prior to coming to Gannett, Gelman was a vice president at Examiner.com and chief operating officer at THX, Ltd. From 2001 to 2008, he managed operations at CNN.com as senior vice president and executive producer, extending the CNN brand to multiple digital platforms and achieving double-digit revenue and traffic growth for eight consecutive years.Gelman and Gannett’s CDO David Payne worked together to relaunch CNN.com in 2007 with the early vestiges of live video, social media, and search optimization features that made CNN.com the number one news and information site online and garnered numerous awards, including a national Edward R. Murrow award and recognition by the Knight Foundation for excellence in news innovation.
Anthony DeBarros is director of interactive applications at Gannett Digital. He leads a team that focuses on building enterprise-wide data-driven applications. Before joining Gannett Digital, DeBarros was senior database editor at USA TODAY, leading the newsroom’s data journalism projects.
Project description: MapStory is designed to become an atlas of change that everyone can edit. In a single web-based platform it provides both an open data commons where spatio-temporal datasets can live and be version edited over time and a storytelling application where users can combine available datasets with other media to create and share their own unique ‘mapstories’. Mapstories can be focused on any time period, cover local or global scales, and explore the past, present or future. The MapStory.org platform is sustained by the MapStory Foundation, a non-profit organization.
Presenter bios: Jon Marino directs content and strategy for MapStory. A graduate of Northwestern University’s School of Education, Jon has previously coordinated service-learning in the Chicago Public Schools, led the Innovation Lab at the Council of Chief State School Officers, and studied in Uganda on a Fulbright. With MapStory he’s hoping to open up opportunities for students of all ages to participate in research that gives us all a richer understanding of where, when, how and why change occurs over time.
As the technical lead and main developer for MapStory, Ian Schneider is responsible for coordinating, developing, testing and deploying client driven features as well as maintaining the development, staging and production websites and attending to users’ bug reports. As part of the development effort, Ian works with therelevant upstream open source projects including GeoTools, GeoServer and GeoNode to ensure that applicable new features are incorporated and any relevant bugs were fixed. A software engineer with full-stack experience, Ian has worked on projects as diverse as desktop-based hydrological modeling tools, real-time ingest and flood mapping prediction systems, an Android implementation of an OGC server, and MapStory.
As the design lead for MapStory, Rey Dizon has overseen the community-driven effort to move MapStory from a prototype to a working Beta. He translates users ideas into wireframes and workflow concepts that the technical team can put into action. Rey has led UI/UX efforts for a variety of website projects within the geography community, including the Open Geospatial Consortium, American Geographical Society, and GeoMakers. Originally from the Philippines, Rey is a hydrographer and geographic information specialist by training.
Open Civic Data, Sunlight Foundation
Project Description: Open Civic Data provides a common way to describe information about people, organizations, events and bills at multiple levels of government. Using Open Civic Data makes it is easier for governments to share data and for people to engage with their governments. Open Civic Data also provides guidance on how to publish all of this information so it can be shared across city, county and state jurisdictions. Adoption of Open Civic Data can:
- Make content about local governments easier to find.
- Provide a clear path for archiving and relating data across years.
- Help governments make their data more open to citizens and developers alike.
- Increase data portability across cities, counties and states.
Presenter bios: James Turk is the interim director of Sunlight Labs, the Sunlight Foundation’s team of developers and designers. Prior to becoming Interim Labs Director, James was the lead on Sunlight’s Open States and Open Civic Data projects, the core of Sunlight’s state and municipal data offerings. He also led the satellite Sunlight office in Boston. On those projects, James and his team were responsible for scraping and standardizing data from all 50 state legislatures, D.C. and Puerto Rico and a variety of municipal governments. They published the data and provided detailed analysis on the workings of legislative bodies. James has been a part of Sunlight’s team since 2007.
Gabriela Schneider has been the Communications Director of the Sunlight Foundation since 2007, and is responsible for leading Sunlight’s Communications team and external affairs. The Communications team promotes Sunlight’s work and also works in collaboration with Sunlight Labs, Sunlight’s in-house team of technologists and designers, to create user-friendly web tools and apps to catalyze government accountability and civic engagement. Gabriela came to Washington, D.C. determined to work in public policy serving the public interest and focused on online privacy and educational media. She enjoyed her life as a policy wonk, but preferred translating policy issues into accessible journalism, and shifted her career to concentrate on digital storytelling, media relations and public engagement.
Presidential Campaign Tracker, U.S. News & World Report
Project Description: In a climate of campaign hot potato where no one wants to admit they are eyeing the White House, we’re often left guessing about who is most likely to run. Our senior politics writer, David Catanese, had been tallying up trips by candidates to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina for his reporting on a piece of paper. The goal of the presidential tracker is to make campaigners’ actions more visible and to give our audience more information about the election. We’ve also made our graphics available on the web for people to embed in their own websites.
Presenter bios: Lindsey Cook is a data reporter for U.S. News & World Report, where she runs the publication’s Data Mine blog. Her responsibilities include writing, charting, mapping, number crunching and above all, data evangelizing. Previously, Cook studied journalism and computer science at The University of Georgia and was one of ONA’s AP-Google Scholars. She writes a daily newsletter about data, Up, Down, All Around.
Andrew Soergel is a news intern at U.S. News & World Report. He’s a recent graduate of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va. with a degree in Business Journalism. He’s been recognized in the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual Mark of Excellence Awards, and he likes to believe he reaches an audience outside of his immediate family members.
Streetmix, from Code for America
Project Description: Streetmix is a web-based application where users can easily create and “remix” street section diagrams just by drag-and-dropping different components of a street. Designed with usability in mind for a broad range of user groups, Streetmix is now in use by advocacy groups and city planners around the world to iterate ideas, illustrate proposals, and solicit feedback through public meetings or online forums.
Presenter bio: Lou Huang is a freelance civic technologist and product manager who uses technology and design practices of the modern web to address urban design, city planning, and civic engagement. He is the creator and project lead of Streetmix, a side project from technology non-profit Code for America. His recent projects include Civic Seed, a browser-based multiplayer game designed to teach students how to become more effective contributors to local communities. His website is http://louhuang.com/ and can be reached at [email protected].
Amelia Senter works in digital media & communications for various film, technology, and music projects in New Orleans, where she lives.