A publishing toolkit for crisis situations

Providing a toolkit that will help communities gather and publish information during natural disasters and other crises.

How will your approach answer the journalism challenge you are trying to solve?

In the middle of a disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane, information needs to be shared. But traditional media – TV, radio, newspapers, internet – are often unavailable, and/or do not provide reliable information specific to the needs of a community. The toolkit I’m creating will empower community organizers to gather, verify and distribute information, whatever the situation.

How is your approach different from what already exists?

There are resources focused on helping journalists during crisis situations, and efforts by government agencies such as the CDC to coordinate existing media and first responders. However, the only community-based resource is the (excellent) The Use of Social Media for Disaster Recovery by Rebecca and Genevieve Williams, which focuses solely on digital platforms. My approach attempts to create easy-to-understand guidelines for both online and offline solutions, as well as focusing on questions of trauma and stress.

What elements of your proposal have you already researched, tested or created?

I’ve been speaking to, and reading accounts from, people who have experienced numerous crisis situations, as well as taking online courses and reading various handbooks designed for first responders.

What are your immediate next steps and your estimated timeline for completing them?

I’m currently working on a first draft, which I will then show to a varied group of advisors for their feedback. I expect to have completed that stage in the next few weeks, at which point I’ll start talking to designers about building a first prototype.

What resources or advice do you need to complete those steps?

If anyone would like to be added to the list of first readers, please let me know.

Would you like to receive feedback on any particular aspects of your project?

I am interested in hearing about the experiences of people who have been directly affected by a crisis situation that affected large numbers of people. I’ve created for them a short survey that can be completed in about five minutes. Also, once I have a prototype, it would be very useful to have feedback from a wide variety of readers. Contact me if you’d like to be added to the list.

You are viewing the refinement phase of a year long effort to resolve a challenge to journalism. Learn more about this challenge in the result phase of the process.