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Crowdsourcing
(and maps)
Mindy McAdams
Professor, Journalism
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida USA
Example: New York City snow storm December 26, 2010
WNYC Radio:
Google Map
December 29, 2010 (3 days after storm):
White = snow not cleared
Michael R. Bloomberg, mayor, New York City, December 2010
WNYC Radio:
Google Map
December 30, 2010 (4 days after storm):
Purple = snow cleared
WNYC Radio: Snow Crisis
• Over the radio, listeners were asked to text PLOW to
30644, the station’s mobile shortcode
• The...
“It really encourages
other people to send in
their story and contribute,
when they hear people
just like them.”
—Jim Colg...
Lessons Learned
1. The audience can help journalists
2. Journalists need to think creatively so they
can use this resource...
Minnesota Public Radio
uses this map to show
where members of the
audience have reported
holes in the street
(“potholes”).
Instructions: Drag the map and zoom into your
pothole’s location, then click once to add details or a
photo.
Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) partnered with SeeClickFix to
produce the pothole map.
Note the number of issues (open, closed) at the top.
Lessons Learned
1. Sometimes you can find the technology
needed to produce a project (you don’t need
to create it)
2. A pr...
Example: Mumbai attacks November 2008
“The Mumbaiattacks haveunleasheda storm
of live updatesfromresidents, swellingtraffic
and contenton sites suchas Twitteran...
Wikipedia was used as a reporting platform Current page
Wikipedia was used as a reporting platform As seen on November 26, 2008
Updates were made every 2–3 minutes Wikipedia history: 2008 Mumbai attacks
Google map: Mumbai attacks 2008 Mumbai attacks
Google map: Mumbai attacks
“Al Jazeera English tracked the points
of the attack with the help of users
from Google and Twi...
Google map: Mumbai attacks
“Al Jazeera English tracked the points
of the attack with the help of users
from Google and Twi...
Flickr: Immediate photos
“Journalist Vinukumar Ranganathan’s
stream of photos were published by CNN
and other major broadc...
Flickr: Immediate photos
“Journalist Vinukumar Ranganathan’s
stream of photos were published by CNN
and other major broadc...
Twitter:Astream of updates and live reports Twitter search: Nov. 27, 2008
Lessons Learned
1. Using all kinds of Web sites (Wikipedia,
Twitter, Flickr), the audience can report on an
event without ...
Crowdsourcing
Crowdsourcing is the act of
taking a task traditionally performed by
a designated agent (usually an employee...
Example: Investigating MPs’ expenses 2008–2009
A crowd of
snoops
What:
All expense claims
Who:
646 Members of
Parliament (MPs)
Time span:
Five years
(2004–2008)
Total
do...
Question:
How do the reporters
at one newspaper sort through
2 million electronic documents?
Answer:
They don’t.
The Guardian: “Investigate your MP’s expenses” 2009
Simon Willison, a
28-year-old
programmer who
works for the
newspaper,
worked hard to
make it easy for
people to join in
an...
Result: For many famous MPs, all of their
documents were analyzed.
2009
Lessons Learned
1. People will contribute their time and their
intelligence without any reward if each task is
small and n...
Crowdsourcing
(and maps)
Mindy McAdams
mmcadams@jou.ufl.edu
@macloo
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Crowdsourcing

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Introduction to crowdsourcing for journalists and journalism educators. Use of four cases and what we can learn from them. Three cases include maps; the fourth case does not.

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Crowdsourcing

  1. 1. Crowdsourcing (and maps) Mindy McAdams Professor, Journalism University of Florida Gainesville, Florida USA
  2. 2. Example: New York City snow storm December 26, 2010
  3. 3. WNYC Radio: Google Map December 29, 2010 (3 days after storm): White = snow not cleared
  4. 4. Michael R. Bloomberg, mayor, New York City, December 2010
  5. 5. WNYC Radio: Google Map December 30, 2010 (4 days after storm): Purple = snow cleared
  6. 6. WNYC Radio: Snow Crisis • Over the radio, listeners were asked to text PLOW to 30644, the station’s mobile shortcode • The location of each text was added to a Google Map • The map was posted on the radio station’s website • Each person who texted was asked to also leave an audio report as voicemail • The audio reports were played on the radio
  7. 7. “It really encourages other people to send in their story and contribute, when they hear people just like them.” —Jim Colgan, former WNYC news producer
  8. 8. Lessons Learned 1. The audience can help journalists 2. Journalists need to think creatively so they can use this resource well (resource: the audience) 3. Social media can be very useful in crisis reporting New York City snow storm
  9. 9. Minnesota Public Radio uses this map to show where members of the audience have reported holes in the street (“potholes”).
  10. 10. Instructions: Drag the map and zoom into your pothole’s location, then click once to add details or a photo.
  11. 11. Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) partnered with SeeClickFix to produce the pothole map.
  12. 12. Note the number of issues (open, closed) at the top.
  13. 13. Lessons Learned 1. Sometimes you can find the technology needed to produce a project (you don’t need to create it) 2. A project started in 2010 continued being used in 2014 3. Citizens used the map itself to report the location of potholes (instead of sending location in email, by SMS, etc.) MPR potholes map
  14. 14. Example: Mumbai attacks November 2008
  15. 15. “The Mumbaiattacks haveunleasheda storm of live updatesfromresidents, swellingtraffic and contenton sites suchas Twitterand Yahoo Inc.’s photoWeb siteFlickr.A Google mapon the attack sites was swiftly putup. A lengthy entry about the attackson user-generatedonline encyclopedia Wikipediasurfacedin less than an hour.” —The Wall Street Journal, November 28, 2008
  16. 16. Wikipedia was used as a reporting platform Current page
  17. 17. Wikipedia was used as a reporting platform As seen on November 26, 2008
  18. 18. Updates were made every 2–3 minutes Wikipedia history: 2008 Mumbai attacks
  19. 19. Google map: Mumbai attacks 2008 Mumbai attacks
  20. 20. Google map: Mumbai attacks “Al Jazeera English tracked the points of the attack with the help of users from Google and Twitter.”
  21. 21. Google map: Mumbai attacks “Al Jazeera English tracked the points of the attack with the help of users from Google and Twitter.”
  22. 22. Flickr: Immediate photos “Journalist Vinukumar Ranganathan’s stream of photos were published by CNN and other major broadcasters.”
  23. 23. Flickr: Immediate photos “Journalist Vinukumar Ranganathan’s stream of photos were published by CNN and other major broadcasters.”
  24. 24. Twitter:Astream of updates and live reports Twitter search: Nov. 27, 2008
  25. 25. Lessons Learned 1. Using all kinds of Web sites (Wikipedia, Twitter, Flickr), the audience can report on an event without help from journalists 2. Journalists from Al Jazeera English used Google Maps to aggregate citizen reports from Twitter and other sites 3. Again, social media can assist journalists in gathering information during a crisis Mumbai attacks
  26. 26. Crowdsourcing Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a task traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call. Definition —Jeff Howe, author of Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business (2008)
  27. 27. Example: Investigating MPs’ expenses 2008–2009
  28. 28. A crowd of snoops What: All expense claims Who: 646 Members of Parliament (MPs) Time span: Five years (2004–2008) Total documents: 2 million
  29. 29. Question: How do the reporters at one newspaper sort through 2 million electronic documents?
  30. 30. Answer: They don’t.
  31. 31. The Guardian: “Investigate your MP’s expenses” 2009
  32. 32. Simon Willison, a 28-year-old programmer who works for the newspaper, worked hard to make it easy for people to join in and evaluate the documents quickly. Result: 170,000 documents were reviewed in the first 80 hours after the site went online. Making it fun
  33. 33. Result: For many famous MPs, all of their documents were analyzed. 2009
  34. 34. Lessons Learned 1. People will contribute their time and their intelligence without any reward if each task is small and not difficult. 2. Journalists can ask the audience to help even in a case where no crisis exists. 3. The journalists (and programmers) must do some work to make the task seem interesting and fun. Investigating MPs’ expenses
  35. 35. Crowdsourcing (and maps) Mindy McAdams mmcadams@jou.ufl.edu @macloo

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