digital journalism

Syria Deeply: CC-Licensed News Aggregator

Donatella Della Ratta, December 21st, 2012

In January 2009, Al Jazeera launched a pioneering initiative: the first news repository licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. At the time, restrictions imposed by the Israeli military in Gaza prevented international news outlets from reaching the Strip and reporting from within. Al Jazeera, which had the advantage of being the only news outlet with a correspondent on the ground, came up with a creative solution by making its exclusive footage available to be used, remixed, translated and re-broadcasted by everybody, including competitors.

Three years later, a similar situation is happening with Syria. Shortage of news is dramatic and reports from within the country are rare and often require that journalists’ lives are put at risk in order to gather information. This is why it is key to have initiatives such as Syria Deeply, a news aggregator launched two weeks ago by a team of journalists and technologists headed by seasoned reporter Lara Setrakian.

Syria Deeply is a news platform that aims to redesign the user experience of the Syria story, for greater understanding and engagement around a complex global issue.‬ The platform is part news aggregator, part interactive backgrounder, part original reporting and feature stories. And the great news is that the content on the site is entirely CC BY–licensed, in order to encourage sharing and viral distribution.

This is a major step in crisis reporting and will allow a wider audience to become more aware of the dramatic situation in Syria, fostering a better understanding of a complex issue by adding context and historical information to the headlines.

“I believe technology is the key to getting more and better news to a broader audience,” says Setrakian. Open licensing can support this process and spread more and better understanding on Syria-related issues.

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Joi Ito to run Digital Journalism course on P2PU

Jane Park, May 28th, 2010

Joi Ito is teaching his Digital Journalism course again at Keio University this summer, but this time with a twist. In addition to the traditional semester, where Joi will be teaching within the university, the course will also have an open and online component where anyone may apply to join via the Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU). Digital Journalism 2010 will run for seven weeks with seven physical meetings which will be webcast and allow for online participation. Additionally, asynchronous communications will continue between classes on mailing lists, the class blog, wiki, and the P2PU platform.

Digital Journalism 2010 is “an introduction to online journalism, citizen media and the use of social networks for journalism and collective action. Participants will work on self defined projects either as individuals or in groups using any combination of media types including video, photographs, illustrations and text as well as online tools such as blogs, wikis, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and any other reasonable tool the participant or team would like to use.” In addition to learning about how the journalism landscape is rapidly changing, participants will learn to research and create news online by publishing stories of their own in teams. These stories will be presented to the class (and the world).

The course is a work in progress, so the community can contribute by suggesting readings, activities, and more. P2PU is looking for course organizers to facilitate the P2PU end of things. If interested, please contact thepeople [at] p2pu.org. To participate in the course remotely via P2PU, you can sign up to apply at www.p2pu.org/journalism. Sign-up is open now and the course will begin on Friday, 4 June.

Joi teaches Digital Journalism annually as part of the Keio Graduate School of Media Design. He has contributed pieces to the New York Times, the Asian Wall Street Journal, and Wired. He is also a prolific photographer and if you didn’t already know, the CEO of Creative Commons.

The Peer 2 Peer University is “a grassroots education project that organizes learning outside of institutional walls.” In addition to leveraging existing OER, P2PU licenses all of its own courses under CC BY-SA. For more on why P2PU chose this license, visit http://p2pu.org/license.

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