Journos: Mobile platform crowdsources verification of social media content, analyzes citizen news reporting, and extends the coverage of civic news
Turkey’s popular citizen journalism network, 140journos, provides a new platform solely for Twitter users who are interested, and engaged, in news sharing and reporting. Operating through a mobile app, website, and social media, it applies game mechanics and data visualization to reinvent the way citizen reporting is verified, and contextualized. First, game features crowdsource and promote geo-tagged, factual, photo and video-based reporting. Second, harnessed citizen data are used to display relevant background information to explicate where the specific news comes from. The app interface not only promotes verified and civic-minded citizen news, but also actively uses data to contextualize the incoming reports.
140journos has an established network on Twitter where we receive thousands of tweets every day on events varying from protests to local politics. We are building a new platform, Journos, which integrates a socio-technical process for the geo-tagged and visually supported reports on Twitter to be verified and contextualized. The Journos provides users with a selection of reporting tasks to be completed that is filtered through our social media presence and raw data. Users complete tasks relevant to them based on their location and interests. By completing different tasks, users then unlock different badges and receive points, thus gaining credibility and acquiring different editorial/reporting roles. Journos pushes citizen journalism beyond merely documenting events. It provides a variety of information; from environmental features of where the event takes place to the political dynamics that give insights into news. Every piece of visual evidence is watermarked by date, source, and location information through the application, therefore it becomes harder to manipulate reports. Simultaneously, the application's interface actively encourages users to report and consume news in a contextualized manner by showcasing the overall map of the citizen news network over-layered with the local, historical, and political insights. Overall, Journos app is a feedback system for citizen news on social media; run, verified, and curated by a unique interaction of citizens and technology. We take social media content, parse and filter it, and send it back.
In ONE sentence, tell us about your project to strengthen the Internet for free expression and innovation.
Our mobile app takes the current form of citizen journalism on Twitter, which is a raveled mesh of raw data, commentary, and actions such as retweets and favorites, to analyze and structure into relevant pieces as verified and explicated by a network of citizen journalists and distributes filtered citizen reporting freely through web and social media.
Who will benefit from what you propose? What have you observed that makes you think that?
In its current form, citizen reporting on Twitter is quite vulnerable to misinformation, manipulation, and obfuscation, thereby lessening the impact of citizens’ voice in news production and consumption. Journos will gather the bits and pieces of information on social media, verify and contextualize all to provide a complete picture. By providing an application that not only filters but also explicates 140-character citizen reports, anyone who uses Twitter to receive and share news would benefit from this project.
What progress have you made so far?
We have already built the prototype of this application. On March 30 when local elections are held in Turkey, a beta version of this app will be tested with users who are also active members of the existing 140journos network in order to report from local ballot boxes around Turkey. Based on user experience and feedback, we will start developing the application.
What would be a successful outcome for your idea or project?
Our goal is to build a credible citizen news agency in which news is produced, verified, and explained by a large network of citizen reporters who set their own news agenda as they see fit. By providing a hub for citizen reporting to be verified, contextualized, and editorialized by Twitter users, this platform will act as a liaison network between news organizations and citizen reporters. In the long run, we imagine it to become a stand-alone news agency run, editorialized, and sustained by a large network of citizen reporters.
Who is on your team, and what are their relevant experiences or skills?
In addition to the almost 40K followers of 140journos on Twitter who actively produces news reports, the team is composed of members of the Institute of Creative Minds, a network of artists, designers, journalists, strategists, engineers, architects, and academics who carry out design, art, and media projects and spans from Istanbul to New York. Individual bios of the team members are as follows.
Engin Onder is the president and co-founder of Institute of Creative Minds, an Istanbul-based network of creative professionals. Upon his education in visual communication design and advertising, Onder scrutinizes the changing habits of news consumption through @140journos, the largest network and organized structure for citizen journalism in Turkey and holds talks on new media and citizen journalism in countries that span from Turkey to the U.S. Onder also develops art, design, culture and media projects for physical and digital public spaces, presents a radio show on Turkey's well-known crowdsourced radio and writes articles for a variety of magazines.
Cem Aydogdu is the president and co-founder of Institute of Creative Minds, an Istanbul-based network of creative professionals. After his career and interest in the Anatolian musicology and instruments, he continued his education in department of the western music and composition in Turkey and Italy. He leads the managerial operations and runs content development of @140journos.
Ogulcan Ekiz is a co-founder of Institute of Creative Minds, an Istanbul-based network of creative professionals. Participating in a variety of biennials, festivals, he addresses his interest in critical reading and writing. Ekiz scrutinizes the changing habits of news consumption and production through @140journos, the largest network and organized structure for citizen journalism in Turkey and leads the photography department of the project. Ekiz also worked for Adam Mickiewicz Institute as social media moderator.
Serdar Paktin graduated from Military High School and quit Air Force Academy. He has B.A. in Cultural Studies. He worked as an editor for Arena Magazine. He did his M.A. in Liberal Studies at The New School for Social Research in New York. He did Strategic Planning for Marketing Communications. He worked as Strategic Director of Social Media Campaign for Republican People's Party (CHP) in 2011 Turkish General Elections. He took part in http://GriZine.com and http://bugunbugece.com as Content Strategist. He worked as a Senior Campaigner at http://Change.org. Currently, he is teaching Online Reputation Management at Kadir Has University and is Content Strategy Consultant for Adam Mickiewicz Institute of Poland.
Igal Nassima is a programmer and artist from Istanbul, Turkey. His work focuses on creating socially networked environments for communities to create and form their own bodies of work. He founded 319 Scholes, an art space in New York focusing on digital arts in 2009 and is a co-creator of MyBlockNYC, an interactive mapping website that captures personal video accounts of New York City’s life and culture, which was included in MoMA’sTalk To Me exhibition in 2011.
Burcu Baykurt is a Ph.D. student in Communications at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Previously, she studied Political Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London and completed her M.A. in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University.