• 4992 Projects and Teams: Spring 2014

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    Futures Lab weekly innovation update

    Team: Nate Anton and Colin Hope

    Mentors: Reuben Stern and Olga Kyle

    The weekly RJI Futures Lab update (http://rjionline.org/futures-lab-update) ranks consistently among the most-viewed content on RJI’s website and is a successful app in the iTunes Store. The program is targeted at media professionals wanting to stay current on the rapid changes in journalism and technology.

    The team will pitch, report and independently produce video story packages for the Futures Lab program under the direction of host Reuben Stern and producer Olga Kyle. This includes: keeping up to date on the latest innovations affecting newsrooms, identifying potential story opportunities, participating in weekly (or more) story meetings, and conducting ongoing research into the wants and needs of the program’s primary audience.

    The team will also execute a plan for effectively connecting audience members with our content and with each other.

    Reporting with Google Glass

    Team: Karen Rodriguez, Haoyang Zhang and Laishi Zhou

    Mentors: Karen Mitchell and Tyten Teegarden

    RJI has acquired two sets of Google Glass and wants to test how the technology can best be used in the reporting process.

    You will have wide latitude in defining the types of stories to cover, identifying news organization partners and – perhaps – encouraging participation from citizen journalists.

    What software applications already available for Glass work well in a reporting context?  What applications still need to be developed?  Is the technology better suited for some types of reporting than others?  What are key professional and ethical considerations?  What can we learn from previous and current journalistic efforts involving Glass?

    In addition to reporting your own stories with Glass, the team will provide advice to the industry through RJIonline.org and the Futures Lab innovation webcast.

    Video DIY: Creating RJI tutorials for citizen journalists

    Team: Kate Grumke, Courtney Lindbeck and Jiaxi Lu

    Mentors: Beth Pike, Mike Wheeler and Greg Harper

    Many prominent news organizations — including CNN, the BBC and the Guardian – rely heavily on user-generated content to drive audience engagement and cover important stories.  But how does the organization improve the consistency of video reports from citizen journalists?

    RJI wants to create a series of tutorial videos and make them available to interested news sites.  We’re calling the project Video DIY.

    Your job is to research what types of UGC stories are most important, then produce tutorials on those topics under the guidance of two broadcast consultants from New York and a video expert from the J-School faculty.  The team will also help the consultants determine the best ways to connect citizen journalists with newsrooms interested in their videos and produce a guide to useful tools for mobile storytelling.

    Launching and testing KOMU’s News Sync application

    Team: Caroline Hecker and Ashleigh Jackson

    Mentors: Stacey Woelfel, Annie Hammock and Amy Simons

    KOMU is debuting News Sync, a two-screen strategy for local TV news tied to a web app built by third-party contractors Delta Systems and WatchWith.

    Last semester a capstone team participated in planning and design sessions, then consulted with KOMU faculty, staff and students to prototype a newsroom workflow for News Sync.

    This semester you will help produce content for News Sync that will focus, at first, on KOMU’s 10 pm newscast.  The team will analyze data and other audience feedback to determine how best to sustain and expand the two-screen experience.  You will also work with KOMU News Director (and RJI Fellow) Stacey Woelfel to identify and assist another local station interested in trying News Sync.

    Marketing  media startup Knoda to college students

    Team: John Bean, Julie Fine and Nina Buckhalter

    Mentors: Kyle Rogers (Knoda co-founder) and Lynda Kraxberger

    Knoda is a technology company that provides users an app-based platform to make, track, rank and archive predictions. Knoda technology scores predictions and reports each user’s successes. The aggregated predictions represent a unique form of crowd-sourced content that provides significant engagement and revenue opportunities for the journalism industry.

    Knoda is based in Kansas City. The company launched its first product on iPhone in December after securing seed funding one month earlier. The team is currently working on Android and web versions of Knoda so that all internet users can access the service.

    The Knoda team is interested in partnering with a capstone team to grow the business. Some areas of interest include:

    • User Acquisition – A creative hook to entice college students to sign up for the service en masse. College students represent our core demographic, and a plan to reach them quickly would be very beneficial.
    • Web Widget Distribution – Knoda will create a widget that allows content publishers to embed predictions within their websites. A distribution strategy for this product would be very interesting.

    As part of the project, Knoda executives will travel to Columbia for an introductory session to share current functionality and the near-term product roadmap. They will be available weekly via phone and more frequently via email for feedback and guidance. Knoda is partnering with multiple groups in Columbia, so company leaders will likely be in town multiple times throughout the semester and will schedule in-person sessions on each trip.

    Newspeg: “Pinterest for news”

    Team: Orko Bagchi, Jenny Modlisz, Tori Partridge and Amanda Sohaney

    Mentors: Mark Potts and Judd Slivka

    Newspeg provides an opportunity for students to get in on the ground floor of a digital media startup and to contribute significantly to the company’s development and growth. Newspeg.com,  launched in January 2014, is a social news curation site that allows people to post and share interesting news stories with their friends and the community at large. (Think of it as Pinterest for news.)

    Based on their own interests and priorities, the capstone team can choose to participate in one or more of the following areas:

    * Creating a plan to improve and enhance the Newspeg platform.

    * Creating a plan to collect and analyze the data on news usage patterns that Newspeg offers, including finding the best ways to measure Newspeg’s success and impact on consumers as a news platform.

    * Creating a plan to bring revenue to Newspeg through advertising, potential partnerships with media companies, sale of data, etc.

    * Creating a plan to grow Newspeg’s audience through viral marketing, with a heavy emphasis on the use of social media.

    Newspeg’s founder and CEO is Mark Potts, a pioneer in digital media who has been involved in many other startups and media ventures, including helping to create WashingtonPost.com and co-founding the early hyperlocal network Backfence.

    KSHB-TV newsroom analytics and strategy

    Team: Casie Kolbinsky and Kearston Winrow

    Mentor: Brad Best

    This project marks the fourth time a convergence capstone team has partnered with strategic communication students in the Advanced Interactive Advertising course to do an in-depth analysis of web, mobile and social content for a commercial media client.  We are working this semester with KSHB-TV, the NBC affiliate in Kansas City and a member of the Scripps TV group.  Previous clients were the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and the Palm Beach Post.

    You will work with strat comm professor Brad Best to recommend new audience-building and revenue opportunities for KSHB based on analytics provided by Adobe SiteCatalyst, Facebook, Twitter and other vendors.

    Team members must be available to attend occasional sessions of Interactive Advertising II, which meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30-1:45 pm in 214 Lee Hills Hall.

    Improving RJI’s website and social platforms

    Team: Kristian Mundahl and Rickelle Pimentel

    Mentor: RJI Communications Director Brian Steffens

    RJIonline.org is currently unable to make effective use of content tagging.  As part of a redesign strategy, the capstone team will work with the communications staff to tag one or more sections of RJI’s existing web content then compare how that content performs vs. un-tagged material.

    You will also help develop one or more dashboards to make it easier for RJI staff to read and respond to site analytics.

    The team’s ultimate goal is to recommend a sustainable system for content tagging that will lead to significant growth in traffic and audience engagement for RJI.

    NFOIC engagement strategy

    Team: Ryan Shiner and Erica VandenHouten

    Mentors: Randy Picht and Melissa MacGowan

    The National Freedom of Information Coalition, housed at the Missouri School of Journalism, is a First Amendment education organization focused on supporting civic engagement, open government and transparency at the state and local level.  The capstone team will develop a model strategy and tactics that a niche issue non-profit could use to leverage social media (primarily Twitter and Facebook) to grow web audience, reach, engagement, awareness and support. You would work with NFOIC’s web network development consultant, board members and others on planning, deployment and measurement activity. For baseline reference, NFOIC.org currently generates about 11,000 visits per month. It is “liked” by 266, is following 88 and has 434 followers…so there is a lot of growth potential.

    Ideally, strategy recommendations could be used by other non-profits to help them make better use of social media in finding and engaging their niche audiences.

    Access Missouri

    Team: Madeline O’Leary and Katarina Sostaric

    Mentor: Ryan Famuliner

    Students will assist in the conceptualization and creation of a new digital resource called Access Missouri. The team will assist in identifying and collecting relevant data that would be incorporated into a database that will serve as the skeleton for the application, which will allow journalists, researchers and the general public to access information about the Missouri state government for the first time, and answer questions that cannot be answered today.

    This project is in its infancy, with a plan to be launched later this year and offered as a free service to news sites across Missouri. Students will work with an established group of project leaders from KBIA, MDN, the MU Informatics Institute, The Truman School of Public Affairs and the MU Department of Political Science.

    Will require travel to Jefferson City throughout the semester.  Travel expenses to be reimbursed.

    Students will help collect data and research data collection and distribution methods of the state government with historical context. Students will report one or more stories based on these findings to provide context to users, and will likely have other reporting opportunities based on the content contained in the database.

    Because the project is currently being created, there may be other duties as assigned.

    Modeling “Non-Crisis” International Reporting

    Team: Evan Arnold, Ally McEntire and Evan Townsend

    Mentors: Gareth Harding, Beverly Horvit and Amy McCombs

    American media are widely perceived as providing inadequate or crisis-centric coverage of international stories that deserve better, more nuanced attention.

    The team will research stories that break the mold and can be held up as examples of best practices.  Based on their research and consultation with their mentors, team members will pitch and report tightly-focused stories that model approach.  GlobalJournalist.org will serve as the publishing vehicle.

    RJI/PMP Student Competition

    Team: Andrew Gibson plus non-class teammates Laura Davison, Jake Kreinberg, Manav Singhal and Kristofferson Culmer

    Mentors: Mike McKean, Reuben Stern and Tyten Teegarden

    Andrew Gibson is on one of two RJI Student Competition finalist teams producing mobile content for the partners of the Public Media Platform: NPR, American Public Media, PBS, Public Radio International and PRX.  Andrew will earn capstone credit for completing the competition in exchange for sharing progress with the class under a non-disclosure agreement.  

    Last semester’s projects here.

    ----------Posted on July 31, 2014 by in Uncategoried

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