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Project Description

August 7, 2011

People Powered News

Proposal

An open and extensible news platform that will give users more information about the context and relationships of news stories.It will provide ways to share and request news information, and to integrate data using several sources to make a story complete

Demo

Here: People powered news demo. Works fine in Firefox.

Areas of opportunity

This proposal is based on the following areas of opportunity for news:

Complete context not provided: News data is dispersed and for having a complete context, the information must be search on several news providers .

Not relevant information: Automated systems for news retrieval obtain information from hundredths of sources, but sometimes this information is not relevant or related to a specific topic. For instance a search for the terms “War on drugs” in Google News gives information about this topic including an article about a music band.

Are closed: News that are maintained by closed groups of people may provide incomplete information. This group could be focused only on one aspect or point of view of the story; or they just do not have enough resources to have more coverage.

Description

These are the descriptions of the elements of the proposal:

Open

This proposal is open in several ways:

  • Users can openly add information of events and request more information
  • The code will be open source, this will give anybody the opportunity to reuse and improve it.

Extensible

The platform is being designed to be extensible, for easy creation of new functionality:

  • Different ways to display the information: devices, styles and perspectives*. This functionality is handled through Render Implementations
  • Or different systems to obtain the information from. The functionality does not need to modify current systems. Through News aggregators and CMSs adapters.
High Level Design Diagram

High Level Design Diagram

Context and relationships

The context is provided by different perspectives. For instance:

  • The common chronological visualization.
  • Contrast perspective: will display opposite points of view of a story.
  • Cause and effect perspective: will display the events that caused other event or group of events.
  • People related perspective: will give information about people involved in a story and the relationships among them.

Because the platform is extensible, more visualizations can be added to the system.

The idea of using different visualizations is to provide to the users tools to have a better understanding of a story, and if it affects this user she or he will make better decisions.

Contrast Perspective Example

Share and request information

Users can add information from other sources. And other users can view and provide ratings to the relevance and accuracy of the information added. Journalists can verify this information and complete their own research.

Users can ask questions related to Stories, for instance something that was left unsolved, contradictory information or the way that an event could affect a location.

With this functionality users can collaborate with others to obtain information of common interest.

Other functionality

Presentation of perspectives, sharing of information and questions. Could make a more engaging user experience. Other tools, like social networks can be used by extensions of the platform to improve functionality and interest of users.

People

The interaction with news organizations staff is imperative. They have the knowledge of the processes, from ideas for news to its delivery to the readers.

  • Journalists can propose functionality to Developers (solving Journalists needs).
  • Marketing can provide content and propose functionality to the Developers to display advertising.

This project will be developed using an open source approach inviting and attracting developers interested in this platform and sharing technical and functional knowledge.

Should be very easy to use, in order to attract users. And in case that users are interested in development or suggestions for functionality. This collaboration will be encouraged and made easy too.

Challenges

There are some very interesting challenges for this platform, for instance:

  • The perspectives need to add filtering and ordering mechanisms if there are too many events in a story.
  • Comments in news are very important and can be added to this platform. But some mechanisms like filtering and rating must be added to make them more useful.
  • Methodologies and research in Information Science can add lot of value to the functionality, some relevant topics are Information Architecture and Semantic web. The challenge here is to attract people from this area for help in design and development.

*Perspectives, in this case, are the different ways to display the same information.

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  1. garciarmz
    August 13, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I got a question from a great feedback I just received:
    How are you going to be sure that news added are authentic?

    The answer is:
    Two ways.
    Those obtained from news sites through aggregation will be added immediately, and those provided from blogs can be verified by other users and after this verification will be added.

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