Subbu Vincent is working to help local newsrooms track ongoing civic proceedings with community support. During his fellowship, using a design thinking approach he interviewed around 45 people and met more than 100: editors, reporters, activists, designers, architects, nonprofit leaders, and professors. He took classes in computer science, business, communications and law. His central findings were:
- Both citizens and journalists benefit from being able to track city proceedings asynchronously. A ‘civic radar screen’ that sends alerts and early warnings will help both groups. Local newsrooms can surface the deeper stories sooner.
- The radar screen will source in three directions: a) crowdsourcing from citizens; b) city open data sets (structured); c) city open documents (unstructured).
- Subbu ran a successful crowdsourcing pilot in an San Francisco newsroom, and is working on a prototype for a narrow set of alert use cases on San Francisco’s data and documents.
With his newsroom counterparts at KALW and WBUR, he two co-authored case study-like articles on two successful crowdsourcing experiments. The WBUR case involved gathering insights ahead of reporting on a charter schools ballot measure and the KALW case was on local elections. He has also authored a free do-it-yourself guide to this type of crowdsourcing, and it is available on request.
How can newsrooms track ongoing public issues and proceedings ahead of the reporting process, instead of parachuting in?
Posts by Subramaniam
At Hack/Hackers Connect San Francisco, JSK Fellow Subramaniam Vincent discovers that visuals are the key to defining startup goals.
Subramaniam Vincent is a software engineer turned journalist entrepreneur. He first came to the United States to pursue a master’s degree in computer engineering at the University of Southern California. After graduating, he went to work at Cisco Systems in San Jose, Calif. He kept up with news of home by reading Indian newspapers online. When he and a friend became frustrated with their coverage of socio-economic issues, they decided in 1998 to start India Together, an e-journal focused on tracking campaigns for reform in India. Five years later, in Bangalore, they turned India Together into the country’s first reader-financed publication covering development. Vincent later co-founded and is also editor-in-chief of Citizen Matters, a Bangalore-focused civic newsmagazine that integrates the work of citizen and professional journalists. It is owned by Oorvani Media, of which he is CEO and co-founder. The journalism in both publications has won 10 awards in all, and is currently funded by the nonprofit Oorvani Foundation, where he is a trustee. A nurturer of young talent, he also teaches at journalism seminars.
Information on this page is from the fellowship year.