More Awesome Than I Even Realized!

Saturday’s meetup turned out to be very helpful. Although only Saleem and myself showed up at the space graciously donated by Buzzdata, our brainstorming was awesome.

First thing though, props to Buzzdata for the lovely space in downtown Toronto – their digs look great, and the beta version of their website looks even better. Also, this weekend is a long weekend in Canada, so it’s absolutely forgivable that some other locals couldn’t make it.

Though I am closer to the hack side of hack or hacker, Saleem is a legitimate professional journalist. His Twitter bio proves it: (Pro journalist, news innovation consultant, Innovate News founder, chairman@CAJ, technology observer, speaker, traveller; ex CBC, Torstar, Metro Intl. Craplets.)

His insight was very helpful. I asked Saleem if he would actually use this platform in his role as a professional journalist. His response? “Absolutely.” Pretty big compliment, as far as I am concerned.

Even better than that great compliment was Saleem’s explanation of just how versatile and flexible “OpenCan” (OC) is in terms of integration with news rooms. The opportunity and benefit from OC extends far beyond what I had initially realized, largely due to the flexibility of the platform to be used by different kinds of journalists in different ways.

“Different kinds of journalists.” …hrm. I should have thought about that. I mean, really. I do enough work with journalists to realize that different news writers work in different ways. I suppose I just got caught up in one idea of what OC is supposed to be like, and stopped considering the full context of the people interacting with the platform. In retrospect, the way Saleem was explaining the flexibility of OC through the perspective of different types of journalistic production was very similar to the idea of personas which a recent #MozNewsLab lecturer was advocating. (I think it was Jesse James Garrett, but I don’t remember offhand.)

After some serious brain and body storming, Saleem came to the conclusion that OCis a beneficial tool to use in every mode of journalistic production.

Here is what we have realized OC can offer to journalists and the newsroom:

Daily News:
– Assists in generating ideas and finding/identifying sources

Feature/Investigative:
– Provides dynamic visualization of gathered information. As such, it is easier for the journalist to find and discover useful connections between collected information.
– Provides a cleaner, more efficient, visual space to align elements of a story to visualize the potential narratives of a news story. (Rather than a series of notes and paragraphs needing to be scrolled though in MS Word.)
– An excellent way to manage information.

Ongoing coverage:
– Finding new stories within information within existing stories

Breaking News:
– Collecting citizen journalist artifacts, via user uploads, and social media scraping.

Soft News/Pop News:
– A new way to visualize (tell stories about) popular events.
– Source information and credit information sources.

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