Journalism Jam New York/Results

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Sunday afternoon wrapped up our Journalism Jam in New York, and I know many of you were at Columbia at some point this weekend to see the Content Jam as it happened. But for those who weren't, here were a couple of highlights:

- Law Professor Eben Moglen speaking on the power of open source software
- ICANN board member Susan Crawford talking about network neutrality
- A dozen local high school students testing our software and offering feedback (pictures attached)
- Coverage in all the campus media
- And of course, dozens and dozens of hours putting the software together

Report activity

The output of the weekend is this software: Report [1].

Right now, Report allows students to write newspaper articles, insert photos, and load them to a blog. Rajesh Ramakrishnan of Columbia University provided a few technical notes:

- This works for build 595
- The wordpress module is provided in the ./wordpress directory and needs to be setup through ./wordpress/setup.py install
- The install script works as per expectation: ./setup.py dev
- The blog feature works to some extent, but it currently only grabs the text [The AbiWord module needs to be modified to somehow spit out data in a better format]
- No implementation work has been done on the plan tab.
- The username and password to the blog have been hardcoded.  It currently posts to http://olpcjam.wordpress.com

Guide

Now, originally we wanted the software to include guides for young students on the basics of journalism, and our two journalists, Katie Reedy and Emmannuelle Collette wrote up this helpful guide: Report#Tutorial

UI ideas

Dan Sutera of Columbia University has made some mock-ups of how a UI could integrate this content with the existing software (attached below).


So as you can see, a lot came out of the weekend, and it seems like everyone had a good time. Good enough in fact, that I know several people want to continue to be involved and make sure this project really develops. Rajesh said that he might be able to set up an independent study with some teachers to entice students to work on this for credit. I hope he will talk further with SJ about that as the next semester approaches. In general, we want to make sure that this Jam is only the beginning of a larger effort to bring journalism software to the XO's.

Briefly I need to thank those people who lost some significant sleep (and fell behind in a few problem sets) for this project. Rajesh Ramakrishnan, Nick Bergson-Shilcock, Dan Lee, John Galligher, Boris Mindzak, and Tristan Naumann all contributed really significant time to making the software end of this happen. Emmannuelle Collette and Katie Reedy were very patient in explaining what actually belongs in a newspaper article (it was news to me, if you can pardon the figure of speech), and put in a long Saturday on this that could've been spent preparing for Ahmadinejad's visit. And Dan Sutera and Anna Starikov were very clear-headed organizers, asking things like 'what will this software actually do' - stuff that just didn't occur to me I guess. I hope they're all put on a short-list for free laptops.

I think the leaders for this project will have to identify themselves as this develops. Rajesh will look into independent study, and we'll all sort of look at our schedules in the coming weeks. But thanks once again - this was a lot of fun, and I hope it got more people interested in the project.

--Brendan Ballou

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