Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
A Swiss publisher is trying to attract a paying audience with an app sampling stories across publications
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
June 14, 2012, 4:44 p.m.
Reporting & Production

Reporters’ Lab seeks a new boss as Sarah Cohen moves on

The head of Duke University’s tools-for-journalism initiative is moving to The New York Times.

Sarah Cohen, director of Duke University’s still-pretty-new Reporters’ Lab at Duke University, says the project will remain active after she takes a new reporting job at The New York Times on Aug. 1.

Jim Romenesko posted the internal memo about her new gig as a computer-assisted reporter for the Times. Cohen has made a career of data-driven storytelling.

Cohen tells me she plans to “stay involved” with the project remotely, at least until Duke can fill her Knight Chair in Computational Journalism.

We covered the Reporters’ Lab as it got formally underway in March. Cohen, with managing editor Tyler Dukes and developer Charlie Szymanski, set out to build tools that make reporters’ lives easier and review existing tools that do the same.

The team has made good progress on Video Notebook, an app that simplifies transcription of long video recordings. I tried out an alpha version; the app is still buggy, but it’s clear that it could be a big time-saver for reporters. Say a newsmaker delivers a speech and the reporter live-tweets it. Later, Video Notebook can check the timestamps of those tweets and match them to video timecode. The tweets serve as bookmarks for quick access. If the reporter begins typing to transcribe, the video politely pauses. The Lab is now accepting signups for a public beta.

Szymanski is also building a tool that archives the tweets of designated Twitter users. Say a city hall reporter follows all of the local politicians’ Twitter accounts. Twitter search is all but useless after two or three days, so this program would maintain a permanent, searchable archive. (It’s could also be good way to track the tweets politicians delete.)

The public is invited to help with this and other “developer challenges,” which include a better RSS reader for journalists and an interactive timeline tool.

Cohen’s departure “isn’t going to affect the way we’re going to operate for the next year or so,” Dukes told me. “The university is still committed to the project.” The Reporters’ Lab is funded through June 2013.

POSTED     June 14, 2012, 4:44 p.m.
SEE MORE ON Reporting & Production
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
A Swiss publisher is trying to attract a paying audience with an app sampling stories across publications
Tamedia’s 12-App collects the 12 best stories each day from the company’s 20-plus publications.
What does it take to be a “full-service” digital journalism organization? Ask Discourse Media
“We’ve gone down lots of experimental rabbit holes.”
Spain’s Eldiario.es has 18,000 paying members, and its eye on the next several million
“We have a potential of six million readers. You may not convince all six million people to be your socios, but if you learn more about their interests, you can get closer.”
What to read next
0
tweets
The Guardian’s first VR project makes viewers experience the horrors of solitary confinement
“It’s a story which is all about space and the environment you’re in. Even though this is a small space, the story is all about that space.”
0TipOff, an email newsletter, is trying to explain sports to non-fans
Launched last fall by a team of investors and writers, TipOff has attracted 50,000 subscribers.
0Good news, publishers: People will read your long stories on their phones (for two minutes, anyway)
People will read longer content on their smartphones, a new Pew report finds.
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
The Sunlight Foundation
Grist
The Wall Street Journal
News Corp
Medium
Animal Político
Alaska Dispatch
Los Angeles Times
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Upworthy
Reddit
Tribune Publishing