Since the announcement of our Knight News Challenge grant back in June, we at The Tiziano Project have been extremely busy. As an organization, we provide new media journalism training in conflict, post-conflict and underrepresented regions. In the last year, our team has launched programs and partnerships that have brought us to Jerusalem and the West Bank, Latvia, South Los Angeles, Philadelphia and an Apache Indian reservation.
Simultaneously, we are neck deep in the development of our new collaborative storytelling platform that was directly funded through the News Challenge. StoriesFrom will be based on our pilot 360 Kurdistan and will allow organizations and individuals to easily create immersive online experiences that depict the richness of communities worldwide from both local and professional perspectives.
While we still have a long way to go, here are a few lessons we have learned so far:
1) Don't bite off more than you can chew
When we started, we wanted StoriesFrom to do it all: It should display stories in a fun and engaging manner, it should reinvent conversations and how to connect with local communities, it should be a fundraising tool for organizations and individuals, and more. For every component, we had ideas of custom ways for developing more efficient and effective tools than what already exists.
As development schedules set in however, we quickly realized that we had to pull in the reins a bit and not attempt to reinvent the wheel, sliced bread and mobile computing all at the same time.
As a team, we decided to focus heavily on the core storytelling experience and to make sure that the site is, first and foremost, a tool that both content producers and content consumers will enjoy using. We will still be incorporating all the things mentioned above, but will leverage many existing tools in the first iteration of the platform and expand as demand for the services grow.