At McClatchy, this new role offers an unique opportunity to collaborate with their formidable DC bureau and across their 29 news organizations, plus sit near former Post colleagues who are part of an impressive video team. It’s also a chance to work again with my hometown paper The Miami Herald, where I freelanced and interned during college. I can’t wait to join all the talented journalists at McClatchy.
Here’s the very kind announcement from my new boss, Julie Moos:
I’m excited to announce that Greg Linch will be joining us late this month to help plan, produce and launch data-driven projects coming out of our local newsrooms and out of DC.
Greg’s arrival enables us to broaden and deepen our data efforts, which you’ll be hearing more about in coming weeks. To start, we plan to provide do-it-yourself tools and a range of support for the data storytelling that’s becoming so essential to readers everywhere across a range of subjects.
Greg joins us from The Washington Post, where he currently works on Project Rainbow (the tablet team); his previous roles there include local data editor, news apps producer and national security producer. He has FOIAed and negotiated with local agencies to publish their daily crime data or weekly crime reports; led work on voter’s guides and results pages for primary and general elections; developed systems for handling documents (like the Clinton emails) and email newsletters; and worked on many projects that required reporting skills as strong as his coding skills.
Greg is a member of the board of directors of the Online News Association, co-organizer of the DC Hacks/Hackers chapter and an all-around great journalist capable of elevating our work in interesting ways. Here’s his resume.
Greg will be based at Tish’s old desk, as he fills the position opened by her departure. His professional career started at The Miami Herald and we are happy to lure him back to McClatchy, starting Sept. 29.
Capta is “taken” actively while data is assumed to be a “given” able to be recorded and observed. From this distinction, a world of differences arises. Humanistic inquiry acknowledges the situated, partial, and constitutive character of knowledge production, the recognition that knowledge is constructed, taken, not simply given as a natural representation of pre-existing fact.
We live in a society that is increasingly dependent on data and computation, a dependence that often evolves invisibly, without substantial critical assessment or accountability. Far from virtual, inert quantities, data and computation exert real forces in the physical world, shaping and defining systems of power that will play larger and larger roles in people’s lives.
What the technology behind Bitcoin enables, in short, is the ability to track online trading of a digital object, without relying on any one central authority, by using the block chain as the ledger of transactions.
What if we built a block chain system for news? Recording and verifying facts, data, updates, quotes, people, etc like the Bitcoin protocol tracks transactions in a database that no one owns, but of which everyone always has the same copy. (Update: This is meant more as “inspired by block chains,” but it would be different kind of system because we’re not dealing with transferring or owning the units.)
How useful would that be in the reporting and dissemination of information? With all the noise introduced during breaking news and even long, complex story arcs, it seems like there’s a lot of potential here.
The nature and task of art is different from news, but there’s much we can learn (stay tuned for more posts on that topic). Consider this from Anil’s piece:
Reblogging is essential to getting the word out for many digital artists, but potentially devastating to the value of the very work it is promoting. What’s been missing, then, are the instruments that physical artists have used to invent value around their work for centuries — provenance and verification.
Think of these two key terms he uses.
In the context of news, provenance could be the source of information — or it could be who first reported something. Verification, of course, is already a common term.
The next question then is: What instruments do we have to give our work value?
Not methods. Instruments.
All this — you guessed it — also makes me think of GitHub for News (more here). That idea would make tracking updates, contributions, feedback and even facts more structured by incorporating them in a versioning system like git.
Neither GitHub for News nor Block Chains for News would solve all the problems they aim to tackle. Anil’s piece smartly notes in the art realm:
as with any new idea, it can be difficult to reckon with the implications. Steven Melendez asserted that monegraph could “eradicate fake digital art”, when this is exactly backwards. In fact monegraph makes it possible to have “fake digital art”, because prior to this we had no consistent way of defining an “original”.
So, where should we start?
UPDATE: More discussion and explanation…
@spetulla This would have nothing to do with funding, actually. It’s just applying the same fundamentals of the Bitcoin protocol to news.