Innovation in Journalism Goes Begging for Support

David Carr’s excellent report on the last-ditch attempt to fund Homicide Watch through a Kickstarter campaign contains some important and thought-provoking observations about the state of philanthropic funding in the world of journalism.

I thought about Homicide Watch when I read Alan D. Mutter’s recent post about the big chunks of financing that are going to tiny experimental outfits named The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times. In May, the Ford Foundation gave The Times $1 million over two years to hire five reporters to cover ethnic and prison issues even though the paper is owned by the Tribune Company, which may be in bankruptcy but has amassed nearly $2.4 billion in cash during its three and a half years in court.

In July, the foundation awarded The Washington Post $500,000 for government accountability reporting.

The numbers are staggering in comparison to the modest $40,000 goal to fund another year of homicide coverage in Washington. Carr agreed:

Shouldn’t financing meant for journalistic innovation go to the green shoots like Homicide Watch and not be used to fertilize giant dead-tree media? I am all for putting more reporting boots on the ground, but the existential dilemma confronting media will require new answers, not stopgap funds for legacy approaches.

Late Sunday evening the Homicide Watch campaign reached its goal with three days left on the clock and nearly $1,000 in additional contributions. I am thrilled for my friends, and so relieved that a broad coalition of supporters recognized the value of Laura and Chris’ work in a community severely underserved on this important beat.

Difficult questions remain, though, when successful bootstrapped journalism startups lose out to legacy news operations in the hunt for foundational giving.

A few shots from the Code With Me workshop hosted at NPR this weekend. Many thanks to Sisi Wei and Tom Giratikanon for leading the effort.

Full gallery over on Flickr.

A few shots from the Code With Me workshop hosted at NPR this weekend. Many thanks to Sisi Wei and Tom Giratikanon for leading the effort.

Full gallery over on Flickr.

A Sunday afternoon walk down Pennsylvania Ave.

A Sunday afternoon walk down Pennsylvania Ave.
For all your Sunday afternoon napping needs.
A Sunday afternoon walk down Pennsylvania Ave.
Navy Memorial.
A Sunday afternoon walk down Pennsylvania Ave.
Newseum.
A Sunday afternoon walk down Pennsylvania Ave.
Upside down, underwater.
Monday morning commute.

Monday morning commute.

When Craigslist Blocks Innovations

Nick Bilton:

So why hasn’t anyone managed to unseat Craigslist, a site that has barely changed in close to two decades?

It has dug an effective moat by cultivating an exaggerated image of “doing good” that keeps its customers loyal, while behind the scenes, it bullies any rivals that come near and it stifles innovation.

This is a great read that touched on a lot of questions I’ve had about the legality of Padmapper’s relationship to Craigslist, and I’m glad to see somebody call a spade a spade with regard to Craigslist’s bullying tactics.

How long can Craigslist defend their incumbent position through legal threats while refusing to improve their UX?

ER (Taken with Cinemagram)

ER (Taken with Cinemagram)

“The disruption was not that we now finally had a nice phone; it was that, for better or for worse, we would now never again be without a computer or the Internet.”

John Gruber

New New Rdio

Below are the collected reactions of some of my favorite designers and developers to Rdio’s second web and desktop UI refresh in three months.

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chartsnthings: Shan Carter (and an army of others) share some sketches from the NYT electoral map

Kevin Quealy :

…no one was really super thrilled with maps as the main conduit for the analysis. Instead, they decided on minimizing the geography and using “bins” for states. (Shan has sort of been obsessed with “bins” since 2008, when his dream of having states magically fall into buckets on election night ultimately didn’t pan out. I personally had to cheer him up after that and it was not pretty.)

Here is another great reminder for map-happy news nerds that sometimes the important patterns of a story are not really geographic in a way that is best conveyed through a choropleth or proportional symbol map. This graphic is brilliant and the process behind it is well worth your time.

(via drewvigal)

Visited the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library today and the Air Force One Pavilion was worth the price of admission.

Visited the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library today and the Air Force One Pavilion was worth the price of admission.