Re-engineering Journalism at Stanford

Repost from my Philippine Daily Inquirer Article: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/162227/reengineering-journalism-at-stanford

“What I think people should take away from Silicon Valley is a great sense of openness, optimism, a sense of possibility, a willingness to try and to learn by doing and a willingness to experiment. Don’t be afraid to fail and I think that’s a really important lesson to take away from Silicon Valley.” – John Temple, former managing editor of the Washington Post

With the JSK Director

With the JSK Director

Each year, around 20 journalists are chosen to become John S. Knight Fellows. The Knight Fellows take on the challenge of pushing boundaries and creating products that will help improve the quality of information reaching the public!

By taking advantage of the different classes and opportunities in both Stanford and Silicon Valley, the Knight fellows are able to explore a variety of fields and be exposed to new ways of approaching journalism.

When I found out that these fellows would be presenting their yearlong projects in an event called, “Re-engineering Journalism”, I knew I couldn’t miss this chance to attend an evening of innovation!

Re-engineering Journalism

In the past few years, technology has changed the way we consume information. A lot of people now get their news from social media platforms on their smartphones and on a go. As a result, journalism has continued to evolve.

Knight fellow Cindy Royal is trying to help journalists keep-up with the evolution; a firm believer in the intersection of media and technology, she has created “codeactually.com”, a website that will teach the essential programming skills journalists need to stay on top of their game.

Bringing back cartoons through technology

Bringing back cartoons through technology

With a belief in the fact that news should be able to entertain, inspire and excite, Gus D’Angelo, on the other hand, is trying to take us back to the days he looked forward to the Sunday comics. He plans to unleash the potential of digital comics by creating an open-source platform for interactive cartoons and comics for both smartphones and tablets. 

Finding Solutions to Real Problems

Trying to solve problems they’ve encountered in their respective countries, Kennedy Jawoko and Qian Kejin developed DragonLion (https://www.dragonlion.com), which facilitates connection between China and Africa, while also implementing an action oriented journalism training program for journalists in both countries. DragonLion allows them to collect big data from both countries, while also creating a network of journalists in both Africa and China.

Who is the future of news?

The audience that we journalists should be talking to

The audience that we journalists should be talking to

Vietnamese journalist and former RedEye general manager Tran Ha left the audience thinking as she challenged everyone to ask a different question in coming up with their articles. In this generation of millennials, it has become even more important to understand their needs because they are the future of news. In her simple words, she advices us to “TALK TO THEM.”

Vozyes to help alleviate our recording pains

Vozyes to help alleviate our recording pains

Ana Carrano on the other hand is trying to solve a problem that most journalists can surely relate to, transcribing interviews. Her project, Voyzes (http://www.voyz.es/) provides ways to store your audio and reliably transcribe them into text. She hopes that Voyzes will become a database for raw interviews, and a tool to automatically transcribe these interviews!

I was even able to interview former ESPN Editor Eric Ortiz, who is working on his media application start-up Evrybit (http://getevrybit.com/). Evrybit is a mobile-first publishing tool for video, photos and text, in the process creating a story-timeline that multiple users can contribute to! With Evrybit, anyone can become a journalist or a storyteller, and when that happens, you get every bit of the story!

Making an impact through Journalism

The former managing editor of the Washington Post John Temple was also present for an interview with Knight Fellowship Director Jim Bettinger  who asked him, “What should journalists do to have an impact in journalism in the 21st Century?”

His reply, “First of all, you will want to have that impact. Journalism is not an easy field; it’s not the glamour of being in front of the TV-camera or being up on the stage. It’s really hard work and I wish the public understood that good journalism is really hard work”

“I think the most important thing (in making an impact) is engaging with others who have the same sense of passion, commitment and drive.  And then learning from each other because something special happens when you get in the right group of people, and you can see this in the Knight Fellowship and the way this group has developed.”

Journapreneur Eric Ortiz talks about his start-up Evrybit

Journapreneur Eric Ortiz talks about his start-up Evrybit

I left the fellowship optimistic about the future of journalism. With the evolution of technology, it’s now about becoming, in the words of Eric Ortiz, “Journapreneurs”, and finding innovative ways to engage, inform, excite, and ultimately, bring people together through the stories we tell.

For more information about the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford and the projects of the 2013-2014 Fellows, check out their website https://knight.stanford.edu/

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