What happens when you mix the addictive, ongoing appeal of a well-told story like Serial with the crowdsourcing that Mechanical Turk has helped popularize? Michael Morisy spent his time at Stanford pursuing this question. He explored how giving users small, distributed tasks might be used to provide a personalized news experience for various types of stories — from large, ongoing investigative pieces to trend and pop culture stories. His goal was to develop engaging mobile encounters that last a minute or two at a time and draw users back multiple times a day, to keep tabs on a story about over a sustained period of time and to help shape coverage they care about. He emerged from his fellowship with a working prototype app, Whitewash, as well as a platform for managing these kinds of campaigns.
Q: Can games help crowdsource journalism while bringing in new revenue?
A: Our prototype found that telling the news through interactive tasks works, and might even help re-engage busy audiences that want depth but that don’t have a lot of time.
Posts by Michael
Can short crowdsourcing tasks on mobile devices help not just find news and understand data, but engage an audience in a new, more engaging form of storytelling?
Michael Morisy is the founder of MuckRock, America’s first collaborative Freedom of Information Act filing website, which has broken news on everything from NSA contracts and drone usage to domestic surveillance and Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s FBI files. Previously, he launched and edited tech news site BetaBoston.com for The Boston Globe and managed a blog network of 80-plus writers and a tech question-and-answer site.
He was also a network fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and is a frequent speaker on public records, data-driven journalism, and startups.
Information on this page is from the fellowship year.