Hey everyone! I'm Corbin, from Canada. (Living in Toronto right now.)
My involvement in the MoJo project happened completely by chance. I had just abandoned my original masters thesis project (a multimedia ethnographic documentary project) in favour of what has now become my MoJo project.
It all happened quite quickly – I mentioned my new project to a prof of a new media course I was taking at Ryerson University and he suggested that I get involved in the Hacks/Hackers community in Toronto. At the Hacks/Hackers meetup, I found out about the MoJo initiative and a week later I had submitted my pitch.
Looking back now, I am realizing that my MoJo project is the practical response to my thesis paper I wrote in the University of Guelph-Humber's Media Studies program. My paper discussed the inadequacies of mainstream news dissemination formats and the deleterious impact on the news consumers knowledge and public discourse of issues in the news.
My MoJo project (which is now currently my MFA thesis project) started as the desire for a fact-checking-the-news system, similar to factchek.org
. We don't really have something like this in Canada right now. But simply re-creating a fact checking organization, to me, seemed like a lot of effort for a very local impact. Instead, I am developing a kind of fact-checking and narrative building platform.
Rather than people going to one source of "fact checking" for information, they can bring the platform with them. The basic ideas is that items of information, or "evidence", about an issue in the news are all collected in one visual screen location. Users can add additional information, and view the information based on the criteria which they determine. Criteria like timeliness, credibility, relevancy, usefulness, interest, and I'm sure more will be able to determine how the information is organized for the viewer to navigate. The result is that the user is able to determine the visual narrative of news stories based on these important criteria.
But how do you rate relevancy or credibility? By providing a rigid rating system for users to interact with, the weighting of different criteria develop as the stories develop through user's interaction with he story.
Ideally, this platform would be able to be embedded into news organizations websites, peoples personal sites and blogs.
There are two critical elements, I think, to building this: a smooth and approachable user interface, and a genius data organization system. Saying I am even a novice at either of these elements would be generous. This is why I am so looking forward to the MoJo learning lab.