What’s news?

In a recent post for the Green blog I look at the work of nonprofit Safecast, which rose to prominence after building a citizen-run network of Geiger counters that compiled (and made freely available) credible radiation data in post-Fukushima Japan. Motivated by the success of this work, Safecast is developing a similar project to measure air quality in Los Angeles.

The Knight Foundation’s Journalism and Media Innovation group awarded Safecast $400,000 to pursue the project, which raises a question: how does raw data collection fit within journalism and media innovation? I spoke with John Bracken, director of Journalism and Media Innovation, who made an interesting point. “The work we do doesn’t often fit into a circumscribed definition of ‘news’ — that is, we take a broad definition of news as information that’s relevant to how you live your life in a democracy.”

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