Futures Lab #197: Following the Crowd With Populace

    by Reuben Stern
    June 9, 2017
    Populace uses data from social media and other sources to display crowd densities at various locations across urban areas.

    The startup Populace uses data from social media and other sources to display crowd densities at various locations across urban areas. As a result, the system could make it possible for journalists to find out automatically whenever an unusually large crowd gathers in a public place. We find out how it works from founder and Chief Executive Officer Chris Hawk.

    Reporting by Lindsey Miller, Rachel Wise and Jessica King.

    "A news organization absolutely could use Populace to say, 'There's a crowd somewhere, what's going on?'" – Populace Chief Executive Officer Chris Hawk


    Reuben Stern is the deputy director of the Futures Lab at the Reynolds Journalism Institute and host and co-producer of the weekly Futures Lab video update.

    RJI Futures Lab web bannerThe Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Futures Lab video update features a roundup of fresh ideas, techniques and developments to help spark innovation and change in newsrooms across all media platforms. Visit the RJI website for the full archive of Futures Lab videos, or download the iPad app to watch the show wherever you go. You can also sign up to receive email notification of each new episode.


    Tagged: crowd density crowds populace reynolds journalism institute rji

    One response to “Futures Lab #197: Following the Crowd With Populace”

    1. Lauren Rebovich says:

      Populace is certainly an intriguing startup that can expand, yet complicate the traditional system of journalism. With the invention’s ability to combine data from locations and journalism, coverage of the most important events are sure to expand. Yet, is the main point of important events to gain news coverage, or is the purpose elsewhere? Moreover, do main events capture more participation when news outlets are there, or gain more importance on an institutional standpoint? Take the women’s March in DC last fall 2016, for instance. Yes, the March gained immense coverage from news outlets nationwide. Yet was it because it was covered by those networks, or was participation large beforehand? Populace is a fabulous attempt to spread “the message” of events like these nationwide, and surely depends on events. However, I am not sure events need Populace.

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