Networked journalism on the track

The new site launches today and Tom Evslin writes about a very real networked journalism project to find whether there are the smoking guns of network (non)neutrality lurking in our ISP wires.

The blog is now filled regularly with reporting about networked reporting: lots of good stuff from founder Jay Rosen and the first editor, David Cohn. Time to add it to your RSS subscriptions.

I’m less enthused about another project they’re involved in: a networked photolog of polling places. Polling places are, by their very nature, excruciatingly dull.

But meanwhile, elsewhere on the frontier, Carnegie, Ford, and Open Society are supporting, where we are encouraged to go file any tales of voting irregularities. Those tales clearly will need confirmation – that is, reporting.

: LATER: Betsy Devine dispatches people to take pictures of the campaign flyers on car windows at church. More networked journalism, more crowdsourcing.

  • Please don’t fix the typo in the headline.

    Jour-analism is just too perfect (see Maureen Dowd committing it in Rolling Stone this week, for instance).

  • Steve

    There is already a problem, reported by RNC, at a polling place in Shelby County (Memphis), Tennessee, with smart cards missing. Local channel 5 (NBC) sent me an email alert on this.

  • mike,
    i have to fix that word of all words. especially after making a really dumb mistake below.

  • Oh joy, the citizen du jour analyst meets the citizen engineer.

    We’ve already seen network neutrality discrimination claims made by Craig Newmark that turned out to be caused by the odd configuration of his equipment, discrimination claims that turned out to be temporary service outages, and in Canada discrimination claims that turned out to me service offerings. When the citizen engineer/jour-analyst starts looking at packet delay data, no doubt every traffic-related variation in delivery times will be linked to the latest Evangelical gay sex scandal, Saddam’s WMD program, Ed Whitacres sexual preferences, and the price of soybean futures.

    The trouble with citizen efforts at skilled professions isn’t a dearth of data, it’s the inability to interpret the data according to rational standards.

    This is going to be funny to watch.

  • OK, Richard, then join in the effort to vet the ap that will check. Don’t just watch. That’d be so passive of you. And you ain’t passive.

  • The problem isn’t with the ap, it’s with the use that’s going to be made of the data. Measuring packet jitter can tell you that variations in delivery take place, but it can’t tell you why.

    And besides, I’m a professional, so my involvement would taint the purity of the enterprise: I have an interest in the outcome.

    So I’ll just stand on the sidelines and throw stones, that’s more my style.

  • And that style is funny to watch.

    But you’re wrong about the “tainting” part. I mean your sarcasm–which is a beautiful thing–is in that instance misplaced. NewAssignment.Net is a pro-am project. Pre-tainted. If it ever did something along the lines Evslin suggested, pros would be part of it from the beginning.

  • Check out It’s near realtime pushing of election coverage from video enabled cell phones!

    I believe that the protection of the integrity of elections, always a matter of concern, is quickly becoming an issue of paramount importance in our democracy. With the increasing usage of electronic voting methods across America, it is apparent that many of the most pertinent issues regarding these apparatus have not been sufficiently studied. Also, as accusations of unjust polling practices become more widespread, many Americans are steadily losing faith in the modern electoral process. This is a matter that must not be ignored, lest we allow the probity of American democracy to be further eroded.

    Speaking as a former Regional Field Director for Rock the Vote and a current consultant for Veeker, let’s serve notice to the powers-that-be that on this Election Day and every election in the future, Americans will protect the integrity of our democratic process. We will not sit idly by while reports of voter intimidation and faulty polling machines are talked about but not documented or resolved. Spread the word that anyone with a video enabled cell phone can help protect American democracy by recording short videos of polling place problems and sending them to [email protected] thus publishing them immediately on Activists can also use this technology to talk to voters outside of polling places and document the most pressing motivations for voting.