The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Nov 11, 2011

Too much data, too few hackers

Posted by John Bracken

We've had a busy fall in the Journalism & Media Innovation Program, and I wanted to share some of what we've been up to with you. 

First, I want to highlight two grants we made recently. On Thursday, we announced a grant to Northwestern's Medill School to extend a scholarship program we began in  2007 to bring software developers into the field of journalism. In his post about the grant, Medill professor and project lead Rich Gordon highlighted the work being done by graduates of the first round of the program. Among them are Knight News Challenge winner (and 2010 Chicago Tribune Outstanding EmployeeBrian Boyer, The World's Manya Gupta and Nick Allen and Andrew Paley, who are part of the team at Narrative Science. Poynter's Steve Myers pointed to the list of news developer jobs, noting that "if 48 news developers materialized out of thin air, they’d all have jobs too." Or, as Boyer puts it, "there’s too much data and too few hackers." 

(If you care about nerdy journalism, make sure to check out Marshall Kirkpatrick's DataJournalists Twitter list.)

In October we made a grant to Safecast, a volunteer-driven effort to collect, share and store atmospheric data via sensors. Safecast uses open hardware and software and makes all of its data  free for anyone to use. The PBS NewsHour reported on the project on Thursday. Safecast, it reports,  "uses inspiration, perspiration, sensor technology and the Internet to paint a much clearer public picture of the Fukushima fallout. It is crowdsourcing of science in action." (via Sean Bonner)

I also want to point out that we are hiring for a Vice President of  Communications and for a Media Innovation Associate.

Lastly, Happy Veteran's Day to Uncle JB, Uncle Bill, my father-in-law, and everyone else who has served. 

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