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Revision as of 10:07, 27 April 2008



JTM/Silicon Valley: Innovation, democracy and a new ecology of news

How will technology innovation support journalism and participatory democracy?


THE PROGRAM: Creating a framework

We're creating a framework -- a conceptual mashup -- for journalists, technologists and entrepreneurs and others to convene groups over one to three days. These groups can invent, share and pursue ideas, projects, systems or solutions for sustaining journalism that matters in a connected world. You can get a feel for the process we're planning by reading this page, and additional detail by reading our Narrative summary. Format details won't be settled until closer to April 30. But we're already posting definite breakout topics. To see what they are, and add your own, click on the MAIN TOPICS PAGE. To suggest specific program elements, discussions, or participants, email jtm@mediagiraffe.org


(all events at Yahoo Conference Center unless noted)
(A van shuttle will run between the hotel and Yahoo)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008: Understanding the context

  • Purpose: Who’s here and what do we need to know to have a productive time together?

Registration -- at the Domain Hotel (MAP)

(formerly Radisson Inn)


1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Located at the Domain Hotel, 1085 East El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, Calif., 408-247-0800

6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Over dinner in the Yahoo "URL Cafeteria"
coffee/tea/juice etc. available (offsite parking details will be emailed shortly before the event)

Orientation Afternoon - at Yahoo! Sunnyvale (MAP)

4:15 p.m.-4:30 p.m. -- A short welcome to NewsTools2008 and who is here


4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. -- Exploring the "Value Network of Journalism" -- The News Mapping Project (SEE A PREVIEW) / A BLOG POST / ANOTHER BLOG POST / PHOTOS by Ytaelena López

  • How do we understand the resource flow of information, money, the intangibles and the tangibles?
  • Looking back -- What was it before 2000?
  • Looking forward -- What is it now -- what could it be?

Outcome: -- Journalists and technologists gain a shared framework for talking about the creation/definition of news and how it has been/can be augmented by technology. The "Value Network Maps" process provides a way to talk about the movement of information and money from a systems perspective. New tools for the news ecology can be described, designed and articulated within this shared system view.

6:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. -- Reception/informal discussion

Circulating Dinner 6:30 p.m. -7:30 p.m.


Buffet style, in the half of the wide-open Yahoo URL Cafeteria, with plenty of opportunity for networking. Knives optional -- eat with one hand, hold your plate in the other, and keep circulating -- or settle at one of the tables.

Disruption and Reinvention -- One-Minute Headlines / Innovation Circles -- 7:30 p.m. -9 p.m.

See: 10 innovations reshaping journalism
  • Arizona State University Prof. Dan Gillmor, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School, "We The Media" author, and former San Jose Mercury News tech columnist, will lead a half-hour discussion with two other invited commentators.
  • 10 designated discussion leaders will each take one minute to introduce an innovation that is or will likely reshape journalism. They'll tell us what stage they're at and the potential effect on journalism, news and democracy. Then we'll scatter to 10 tables where our One-Minute Headliners will lead discussions of current experiments, new applications, new business models, new management, new ethics and other aspects of these emerging innovations. These discussions will stimulate our thinking about translating the 10 ideas into concept/design/build work sessions on Thursday and Friday.

Free-pass for the Right Coast -- For participants who have arrived from the East Coast, we know this will make for a late night. Some gracious nodding off is completely expected! There will be plenty of coffee, tea, cookies and brownies.

Outcome: Journalists will get oriented to innovations that are and have potential to change how journalism is done. Understanding a few core innovations helps build a 'shared understanding' among journalists, technologists and others at NewsTools2008. The result: A foundation for richer conversations about specific technologies and design ideas.

9 p.m. -- Shuttle bus/vans depart for the Domain Hotel.

For those not sleep-deprived, discussions will continue at the hotel.

Thursday, May 1 -- Possibilities Day: Explore/design ideas/projects

  • Purpose: To explore a wide range of possibilities at the intersection of journalism and technology
  • Organizing question: "What can we create at the intersection of journalism and technology to support the well-being of democracy?"
  • Structure: We'll use "open-space technology" to organize our activity. In addition, the NewsTools2008 wiki includes a sessions TOPICS PAGE for describing and scheduling breakout working sessions. Breakout convenors are responsible to "call the session" as participants call make the day's agenda.

Session breakout topics already posted cover how the concept and practice of journalism may adapt to search and social networks, crowdsourcing, diverse, fragmented audiences and digital, participatory politics. Other topics may include social networks and the treatment of user identity, preferences, privacy and trust. SET UP A BREAKOUT TOPIC.

Continental breakfast and networking 7:30 a.m.-8:15 a.m.

(convene in the Yahoo conference center, cafeteria building, second floor)

Agenda Creation 8:15 a.m. -9:00 a.m.

Open Space 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

  • Throughout the day, session topics will begin and end at times established by the convenors. A buffet lunch will be available from approximately noon to 1:30 p.m. Sessions will be asked to break by 12:30 p.m. and not resume before 1 p.m.

Luncheon buffet sponsored by DailyMe.com / noon-1:30 p.m.

Briefly during lunch, sponsor DailyMe.com founder/CEO Eduardo Hauser will demonstrate and discuss the company's versatile platform for news customization.

Open Space 1:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.

  • Throughout the day, session topics begin and end at times established by the convenors.

Closing -- What did we do today? -- 4:45 p.m.-5:15 p.m.

5:15 p.m.-- Vans depart for The Domain Hotel.

DOMAIN HOTEL: Hors d'oeuvres reception with VillageSoup.com -- 5:45 p.m.-6:45 p.m.

Our reception at the Domain Hotel is sponsored by VillageSoup.com. Just before dinner, VillageSoup.com CEO Richard Anderson and colleagues will preview the open-source re-engineering of the learn-share-shop local online news community-building platform. The development is supported by an $885,000 Knight Foundation grant.

Dinner, seminar and UnTalent Show -- 6:45 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Sponsor: Topix

  • A buffet-line and open seating will allow participants to select ongoing discussion/project creation partners. Dinner sponsors from Topix will background us for 10 minutes on developments in the local-news community-building space. Then . . .
  • An "Untalent Show." Consider this entertainment. This is the evening opportunity to unwind a bit, get out of your analytical mind and stretch your thinking. Any participant in NewsTools is welcome to present or perform -- serious or whimsical. It tends to be unexpected and creative and brings a whole different quality into the next day's deliberations.

Following: Networking and discussions can continue at the Domain Hotel.

Friday, May 2 -- Design-Build Day: What's your next step?

ADDED SPECIAL: Friday is "Drupal Day"

Teach -- and learn -- about the Drupal open-source content management system, in a series of created-on-the-spot breakout sessions curated by Kieran Lal of Acquia, Sheldon Rampton of the Center for Media and Democracy and others. DRUPAL DAY INFO/REGISTRATION.

  • Purpose: To provide space for taking action on initiatives which have life beyond this event.

Continental breakfast and networking 7:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m.

8:30 a.m. - Public-interest tools / two reports

The power of the network is opening up new vistas for journalism in the public interest and two examples of this are Newstrust.net and Sunlight Labs. Our day starts with two back-to-back, 30-minute conversations:

  • Sunlight Labs -- 8:30 a.m. -- Widgets and data mashups bring new transparency to the flow of dollars and influence in Washington, D.C. Bill Allison, senior fellow at the non-profit Sunlight Labs, will demonstrate their latest open-source tools to allow any website to provide (a) graphical, real-time, interactive data on the relationships among campaign contributions, "earmarks" and federal grants -- dropped into context and (b) Always-updated voting records of congressmen and senators.

Organizing the day 9:45 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.


Marketplace of Ideas/Agenda Creation -- Project or discussion breakout leaders each get one minute to explain their initiative and concept-design-build workplan for the day.

The space will be formated so projects can break out and "hunker down" for a whole day or for a 1/2 day in addition to those who want to get work done in shorter break out sessions.

We recommend for those with half-day and full-day work efforts to think about when you might talk about critical issues -- such as legal or back-end technical stuff or business models. That way, those who may contribute to those specific aspects will know when to drop by.

Project and Breakouts 10:15 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Lunch will be available for a two-hour time period during this day -- it is a working lunch. There will also be snacks, coffee, tea and juices available mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

RECEPTION: Project Reports and Closing reflection 4:30 p.m. -5:30 p.m.

What has been accomplished? What's next? We'll serve up a light hors d'oeuvres reception as we share reports from projects wrapping up after two days (or continuing on Saturday), and then join in closing reflections among those participants not continuing on Saturday.


  • This is the evening to join the NewsTools2008 No Host Dinner. We'll prepare the venue at a nearby Silicon Valley establishment, you pay a la carte' and join other NewsTools collaborators or your specific project workers. This may be the perfect opportunity to invite that additional friend or co-worker who could not join us for all of NewsTools. Or take dinner on your own elsewhere.

SATURDAY, May 3, Agenda: Bringing it on Home

Saturday represents a joining of two rivers involving both journalists and technologists. On Saturday, some NewsTools2008 participants will continue their work at the Yahoo facility; at the same time, the [Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists(SPJ) co-hosts with us "Innovations in Journalism Expo 2008," at the nearby Domain Hotel -- a showcase for tech breakthroughs in business, technology, media and democracy.

Participation in the JournaTech Expo and all SPJ discussions Domain Hotel on Saturday is included at no charge for NewsTools2008-registered participants. For information on renting an expo table, or to attend just on Saturday, CLICK HERE. To go directly to Saturday-only registration, CLICK HERE.

NewsTools Saturday purpose: Provide the time and space to:

  • Take the NewsTools2008 design/build work further
  • Share concept/design/build results with others
  • Connect with more regional working journalists

Continental breakfast and networking 9:00 a.m.- 10:00 a.m.

NewsTools 2008 project work continues 10:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.

  • Those NewsTools2008 participants who still have work to do on their concept/design/build projects from Thursday and Friday can resume their work in the Yahoo center. These projects, initiatives and seedling companies can continue hacking.

(Box lunches will be available for from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. There will also be snacks, coffee, tea and juices available mid-morning and mid-afternoon.)

Snacks and networking 3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Briefings and the next steps 3:30 p.m.- 5:00 p.m.

  • At day's end, NewsTools participants will adjourn to the Domain Hotel and gather for final briefings and next-step announcements from NewsTools2008 project workers. SPJ attendees will be invited to hear and react to the final briefings.

One-day registration for Saturday only available

NewsTools2008.org participants are automatically enrolled in the day; a one-day registration (including box lunch) for Saturday's SPJ gathering at the Domain Hotel is [To go directly to Saturday-only registration, available from SPJ.

Journalism That Matters background

The NewsTools2008 approach -- linking journalists with a constituent group with a focus on a particular task -- is similar to five other convenings around the country as the Journalism That Matters collaborative, the most recent at The George Washington University in August. There our focus was on journalism and education, because we deliberately chose a time and venue alongside the annual convention of the Association of Educators in Journalism and Mass Communications (AEJMC).


Valley, Yahoo roles

The news business is now being driven more than anything by technology, and that's why the Journalism That Matters collaborative and the Media Giraffe Project chose to locate this event in Silicon Valley, seeking to involve the leadership of the venture-capital, entrepreneurial and technology/developer communities. Yahoo! is a participating sponsor in order to help convene a dialog about the future of journalism and participatory democracy.