Keeping in mind the objectives and challenges identified in this week’s presentations by Shazna Nessa and Mohamed Nanabhay, how does your project take into account the need to facilitate collaboration in the newsroom (whether real or virtual), while acknowledging that team members will have varying technological skill sets?
— MozNewsLab blog post prompt, take three.
At it’s core and this goes without saying for so many of our projects- this is a tool for users. Anyone can be a user, not just a reporter or someone in a newsroom. But this is something newsrooms could find useful, so let’s unpack possible ways to implement it at that level first.
To look at implementation, let’s first unpack who might find this useful and why.
A> Reporters looking to investigate the Filter Bubble story itself
The story of personalized search is still one will ill-defined edges, and ill-defined potential pratfalls and triumphs. First and foremost, Pop! could be used in the newsroom to better understand fill out the edges of the personalized search story. Eli Pariser’s book serves as a starting point for examining a potential problem. There are plenty of people in camps who think he’s rightish and wrongish, but we still don’t have a clear picture of the problem (even though “view customizations” is getting there.) While it’s meta, it also gives a newsroom a clearly defined and immediate goal in using a new technology - an important task for bringing anyone on board to use a new tool.
In the same manner that the Guardian took with Click, at the micro-level, newsrooms could use the tool in their own research to understand the filter bubble/personalized search story.
One of my primary takeaways from Monday’s lecture:
Don’t let frustration poison you. Let frustration be part of your challenge. -Shazna
This goes equally for anyone attempting to introduce new technology, and for folks who are having new tech introduced to them. I work in a small, active non-profit newsroom. When introducing new technology into the newsroom, I find that there are a few things that guarantee non-use of said technology:
1> Goals of x technology aren’t grasped.
- At the most basic level - we have the Filter Bubble story to investigate.
2> No one sets aside time to learn how to x technology.
- Since this project would potentially exist as a Firefox add-on, the best place to start would be to sit down and discuss basics and install a few Firefox add-ons. They can be fun, or, better yet, add-ons that solve a problem. Once familiar with the process of downloading and using an add-on, we can move into the space of downloading and using this one in particular.
- In the sense that people who have the tech down cold aren’t talking to the people who don’t. This goes for initial trainings but also as stories and usage progress. Even if developers aren’t in house, I’ve seen its helpful to have a dedicated person in-house who can translate and communicate users issues to the developers, even if developers aren’t in-house to move forward.