Openblock Rural

School of Journalism and Mass Communication Foundation of North Carolina

Date Awarded
06/23/11
Amount
$275,000
Grant Period
06/23/11 to 06/22/14
Focus Area
Journalism & Media Innovation
Initiative
Knight News Challenge

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To increase access to local information and strengthen rural newspapers technical expertise by using the OpenBlock system to aggregate and publish local, municipal data.

Rural news organizations often struggle to move into the digital age because they lack the staff to make public data digestible. OpenBlock Rural will work with local governments and community newspapers in North Carolina to collect, aggresgate and publish government data, including crime and real estate reports, restaurant inspections and school ratings. In addition, the project aims to improve small local papers’ technical expertise and provide a new way to generate revenue.

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Project Team

Ryan Thornburg

Ryan Thornburg researches and teaches online news writing, editing, producing and reporting as an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has helped news organizations on four continents develop digital editorial products and use new media to hold powerful people accountable, shine light in dark places and explain a complex world. Previously, Thornburg was managing editor of USNews.com, managing editor for Congressional Quarterly’s website and national/international editor for washingtonpost.com. He has a master’s degree from George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management and a bachelor’s from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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