We’re the first first Canadian j-school to sign up for the project designed to help share, find and deal with the mounds of documents that investigative reporters unearth.
I discussed working together with project co-founder Aron Pilhofer, and editor of interactive news technologies at The New York Times, at the ONA conference last year so I’m glad we were able to make this happen.
It is a good opportunity for our students to learn about emerging and innovative forms of journalism. Our students work on investigative projects during the course of the two-year journalism Masters program at UBC, such as this one into e-waste.
As Aron pointed out:
Working with journalism schools has a couple of huge benefits for us. First, these are students who, for the most part, have grown up in an era of ubiquitous computing and are the most willing to adopt new technological solutions to reporting problems. They are the early adopters we want to reach, and we believe they will be able to provide valuable insight about ways we can improve the tool and make it more useful.
But more than that, journalism schools are one of the few remaining places where investigative journalism is flourishing. As traditional news sources cut and cut, we are seeing journalism schools across the country starting to pick up the slack, and produce some really outstanding work that deserves wider distribution. We believe DocumentCloud can help do just that.
More than 40 organisations are involved in the project to contribute documents and test the first iteration of the software. They include The New York Times, ProPublica, The Washington Post, New Yorker, MSNBC, National Public Radio, PBS NewsHour and the Vancouver Sun.
Among the other academic units involved are The Centre for Investigative Journalism at City University, London, and The Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University.
DocumentCloud expects to release a public beta in March 2010.