Saleem Khan (free agent)
I can help you:
- Understand organizational news culture and general news practice. I've been a news (local, national, international), business and technology reporter and/or editor spanning print, broadcast and online at the local, national, and international levels.
- Define, plan and map your project / workflow. I have strong project management skills)
- Frame and refine the story of your project, especially for presentation / pitch.
WANTS: Big Goal for MoJo Hackfest:
I came to Berlin keen to:
- collaborate with the other participants to...
- create something new
- preferably have a proof-of-concept or working prototype that others could build on after this hackfest ends
I would love to be able to work with people to address the news-community problem: Bringing in the people who are not currently engaged with news (the 90% of the population formerly known as the audience who don't currently read/watch/consume/interact with news).
- float between projects to lend perspective, connect participants, help to guide project management (ACHIEVED: Helped Nicola Hughes, Cole Gillespie, Jordan Wirfs-Brock, Chris Keller, Laurian Gridinoc, Neil Dawson, Andy Jennings frame, contextualize, avoid duplication, focus and understand the applications of their projects and how they mesh with real-world journalistic practice and newsrooms.)
- find collaborators (ACHIEVED: JOINED with Chris Keller, Jordan Wirfs-Brock, Neil Dawson on Uberproject. ALSO: Set plan to work with Andy Jennings on commenting system by meshing our two proposals.)
- co-create a project (ACHIEVED: Uberproject)
- start hacking (ACHIEVED: Idea hacked projects, sparked new direction for Uberproject / Nwsmkr)
- Identify possible information source/inputs to test the scenario
- Extract facts, data points to explore
- Identify use case(s)
- Facilitated discussion that determined there was both a duplication of effort among project members as well as divergent views on what we were all working on -- i.e. the blindfolded people identifying an elephant by touch alone. We all thought we were working on different projects until the team huddle pointed us toward a common goal.
- Started examining use cases to ensure that we are covering the broadest possible range of potential uses of Uberproject, while being as lean and clean as possible in its design and presentation.)
- find resources and components that could be used to build InvestigateNet (IN PROGRESS)
- Check in with Day 1 projects (Partial)
- Connect with Day 2 projects (Ran out of time)
- Develop use case(s) from real-world practice (ACHIEVED: Major breakthrough after spending most of my hacking time mapping and reviewing user-case workflows. The team had been approaching Uberproject primarily as a database aggregator, filter and visual mapping tool, and, beyond that, as a generalized information visualization tool for a journalist. Although it appeared that the implementations and views would satisfy most needs, I had an instinct that we were missing something. So, I mapped out the workflows and attempted to recruit people to participate in a bodystorming exercise to better define what patterns of behaviour emerge and how their needs could be met by Uberproject. (Everyone was too busy finalizing things to take out an hour to learn about bodystorming.)
- After working through roles and workflows, and a lot of hard examination of their individual elements, I realized that the component that was missing from the project was crucial to journalism:Neil collaboration. We had been treating the project as though it was a tool for an individual journalist.
- I shared my insights with Neil and he said that there had been something bothering him, too, but he couldn't figure out what it was. He agreed that the missing collaboration component was it but there wasn't enough time to flesh it out in a high-quality visual.
- The team had a brief meeting in which I revealed my findings.
- As I continued to think about it to find the best way to enable journalists to collaborate on database and information research using this tool, I realized that this tool is far more powerful than any of us realized at first.
- My second realization, which was the bigger breakthrough, was that this tool would be ideal for organizing fast-moving information in real-time in a breaking news situation, like 9/11 or the Arab Spring. A big problem news organizations face in major breaking news includes a news production bottleneck as everyone works on a small piece of the larger story. This lack of awareness and interaction leads to errors being transmitted and slowdowns in information flow as facts are synthesized in inefficient, traditional workflows. Constantly searching databases in a breaking news situation to determine what is correct and what isn't, is not practical. Databases can be useful for historical data, but would not help in breaking news where many of the facts are likely to be new and emergent. This gave rise to two new implementations of Uberproject.
1. Realtime database integration tool to which collaborators can gain access, visually search, and dynamically map new data.
2. (Third breakthrough) Using Uberproject as a live workflow management tool for a cloud-linked newsroom, CMS and database system -- especially in breaking news, which would reveal how powerful a tool it is. Each node in the interactive network map represents a journalist working on a tiny piece of a breaking news story. All journalists could visualize whose verified information is connected, as well as unverified information.
In the top view, clicking on a journalist-node would pop up a card that displays basic details and only the verified facts of the story, as tagged by the journalist in question.
Clicking again on the card would drill down to the unverified / work-in-progress level -- the digital reporter-notebook being updated in real time. As new facts emerge, the system would map potential connections based on probability, pending other incoming information/data-point connections.
By giving journalists visibility into what colleagues are working on in real-time during a breaking news situation in particular, it would allow them to gain context and insight that doesn't currently exist in modern newsrooms, and enable journalists to tune their approach to a story or the set of facts they are reporting in order to move everyone toward a convergent, coherent story instead of a divergent one riddled with duplication and error.
3. This realtime workflow / news management tool would also make it easier for journalists to collaborate with the news community (including the audience) on stories, by giving them access and visibility to the same workflow data that journalists would have (excluding legally sensitive stories).
This is a project for future development.
- iterate InvestigateNet design, if possible (PARTIAL: Reassessed approach after discussing with Matt from BBC. Will use open source question-and-answer software)
- find resources and components (ACHIEVED: Found new open source libraries that can be used to build a basic, functioning prototype in one or two days.)
- Check in with Day 1 projects (ACHIEVED: Added perspective to Laurian's project, helped him with presentation. Gave Nicola a detailed review of her two projects and her demo. Gave critique of Cole's work.)
- Connect with Day 2 projects
- Sound-board Day 3 projects (ACHIEVED: I sent an e-mail blast to the Hacktoberfest list, advised all responders -- Laurian, Nicola, Rhiannon (interested in bodystorming), Chris, Cole
- Update social streams (ACHIEVED: Posted photos, updates.)
- Get some sleep (NOT ACHIEVED)