I’ve watched a fair few people have a go at planning and council data aggregation and alerts over the years. The best was Chris Taggart’s Openly Local a fully open tool available to all. My approach with Local News Engine is not to provide a generalist tool, but something secure, specifically for journalists/reporters working with data that can easily be got hold of and information that requires more work to turn it into data. The challenge is to do something simple and ongoing with fiddly public sector data.
So for this project, with Google DNI funding I sought out deep coding expertise in public sector data, rather than people who have worked with media companies before. And then brought in the media advice through a user focussed design approach and an informal sounding group (‘Local News Engineers’).
Open Data Services Co-operative (ODS) are providing software development. They are a hugely talented team with almost un-rivalled expertise in public sector opendata. I have worked with them before on the 360giving project, where they produced GrantNav. I like the fact it is a co-op with a strong ethical approach, important when handling sensitive data.
Neontribe are delivering a user requirements process – helping us understand user journeys and capturing learning in a way that ODS can then turn into code. Harry Harrold and Kat Quatermass at Neontribe were recommended by ODS, with whom they had worked before – it’s important to have people who can work together at this vital interface.
To test the concept and inform user design I am chatting to an informal group of practitioners and academics. These include Richard Osley, Deputy Editor of Camden New Journal, the great local paper that covers my Kings Cross patch, Glyn Mottershead, a former reporter who teaches the data journalism course at Cardiff Journalism school, Paul Bradshaw, writer of many books on data journalism, teaches the data journalism MA at Birmingham City University and works with the BBC on regional data journalism, John Baron with years of experience in local journalism, who now runs West Leeds Dispatch and lectures at Hull School of Art and Design, Simon Perry who co-runs the OnTheWight blog, Mike Rawlins of MyTuriff and formerly PitsnPots and David Banks, esteemed trainer in journalism law will deliver some legal training.
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