27 Apr 2012
The award will support Meedan designers and developers to tackle one of the very thorniest problems of the social web: how news teams can better verify breaking stories from the Middle East using citizen reporting.
We are honored to count IPI as a funding partner, putting us as it does in the company of some very high profile grantees, including AFP Foundation, Media Trust, The Guardian, The Poynter Institute and IREX. We are also delighted to see so many innovative training programs for the Middle East, including a Digital Media Training program in Upper Egypt and a Digital Journalism Training Boot Camp in Jordan.
This contest is a new initiative designed specifically to support and promote journalism innovation in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Jeff Jarvis, Daoud Kuttab, Chris Kabwato, Tony Daro and Her Royal Highness Princess Rym Ali are among the contest's reviewers.
Meedan's work on Checkdesk has been generously supported with an initial grant from Sida. The project combines innovative technologies with social media trainings (with Noha Atef from Birmingham City University in the UK and a stellar set of citizen journalists, including Ramy Raoof, Tarek Amr and Lilian Wagdy) and formal media partnerships.
As such it brings content creators and journalists together with technologists and trainers in service of bridging citizen media and the professional newsroom in the Arab region during this most critical moment in the region's history.
Our IPI award will enable us to put more design and engineering talent behind the team working to address this challenge.
You can look at the prototype which is being used to liveblog the Egyptian elections at http://liveblog.almasryalyoum.com
For this next phase of the project we have the challenge of extending this prototype to a set of media partners in Jordan, Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine.
With media moving in real-time Checkdesk is a place where a group of journalists can disseminate, discuss, corroborate, or invalidate media links before disseminating or referencing them.
Doing all the work yourself would be nigh on impossible. You might need to transcribe and translate comments in videos, identify accents, locate key landmarks, check sources are established and trusted, cross-reference witness statements, check that the media metadata are consistent with the reports, contact friends on the ground; and much more. In short, as the points of media production decentralize, systems for corroborating and contextualizing these sources must be similarly distributed.