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Task Discussion

  • Jordan Wirfs-Brock   July 11, 2011, 12:30 p.m.

    Hello! My name is Jordan and I live in Boulder, Colorado. This fact is relevant because yesterday I was in Canada, 1000 miles of deer-splattered highway from home, recovering from a trail relay race called Sinister 7. But I drove all through the night (with the help of a friend) and made it back just in time for the first Learning Lab lecture, woot!

    One thing I'd really like to discuss in the Learning Lab (and I know we don't have time for everything) is data literacy. Data visualization - which I do at my job in the foundation world - is an increasingly prominent part of journalism. I love this trend and want to see more data-based storytelling. But how can we make sure that as data becomes more prevalent in reporting, it is communicated responsibly? And read responsibly? I'm especially interested in how this fits into crowd-sourced and citizen journalism projects.

    That's my quick intro, which I tried to keep as unzombielike as possible considering the circumstances.

    I'm looking forward to learning with you all!

  • Saleem Khan   July 11, 2011, 12:07 p.m.

    Hi, I'm Saleem Khan, an independent journalist based in Toronto. Throughout my career, I've been a proponent of new approaches to news because I have long believed that technology would disrupt the news industry, but also renew it.

    Most of my self-directed learning in this area has been focused on newsgathering skills, tools and techniques for working journalists — people directly involved in the collection, production and dissemination of news — so I'm looking forward to rounding out my journalistic, planning and organizational skills with information and insights from the Learning Lab lecturers and participants. I'm especially interested in the technical material and subjects that aren't typically part of the journalistic process or routine.

    A little about me: I've been employed as an editor and reporter by CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp.), Metro International newspaper and Toronto Star newspapers, and done work for the New York Times, Globe and Mail, and PBS among other outlets. Areas of editorial responsibility include business, media, security, technology and municipal, national and international affairs and politics.

    For most of my career, I've been active in public-interest advocacy for freedom of information and expression, and journalism professional development and education. Much of this in the last decade has been in my role as chairman and director of the Canadian Association of Journalists, and director roles at the John H. McDonald Foundation and Canadian Journalists Education Foundation.

    Unlike many in my sector, I am optimistic about the future of journalism. I see the shift now occuring as a great opportunity to solve systemic problems and enable journalists to fulfill their mission of informing the public in ways and to a degree not possible before. Even better: There is a wellspring of interest in this effort from outside of journalism circles, which can only be good for the development of open societies. That's why I'm excited about the potential that this collaboration between Mozilla and the Knight Foundation represents, and look forward to learning and sharing with all of you.

  • Engin Erdogan   July 11, 2011, 11:15 a.m.


    Hello people, here is 'me in 10'. Looking forward to connecting, sharing, making.

    1. I am an interaction designer with broad experience in design research, product development and strategic consulting. I can program what I design, which is rare for designers. 
    2. Currently, I prototype and evaluate new tech venture concepts. That means, rapidly making lo-res / hi-res demos of new ideas and validating their value.  
    3. On a limited time basis, I consult with companies, startups, and organizations on challenges in UX, interaction design, and new product development for internet. 
    4. I quit my full time job in March to pursue new ventures. Since then, I have been in an exploratory state of mind, sharpening my skills in programming and meeting with future collaborators.  
    5. I worked for IDEO for over 5 years as an interaction designer and design leader, on human centered design and product innovation projects in education, energy, health, finance, media, and entertainment.
    6. I enjoy taking active part in the the evolution of our online species. I have an interest in social systems where tools and their users co-evolve to unfold novel norms and behaviors. 
    7. I have a master's degree in Information Design and Technology (now called Digital Media) from Georgia Tech. My undergrad is in civil engineering! 
    8. I live in New York now. In the last 10 years, I lived in San Francisco, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Istanbul. 
    9. I am Turkish, born and raised in a small town called Terme on the Black Sea Coast. I moved to Istanbul for college and lived there for ~8 years. 
    10. I believe that journalism must reincarnate with new professional practices in engaging and activating civics as well as what it does today: informing.
  • Alan Haburchak   July 11, 2011, 10:28 a.m.

    Hi Everybody!


    My name is Alan and I live in Brooklyn, which I like a great deal. For the last two years I've been teaching digital video, photogrraphy and web development at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism to the up-and-coming next generation of J-School grads.

    This summer I'm working with a group of students on another Knight-funded project, the News21 Initiative. If you like, you can check out the Columbia News21 Fellows' reporting process on their blog, which they've been updating since May.

    I also work as a freelance video shooter/producer and web developer, and I like doing both of those a lot. Unfortunately I've found it's difficult to be spending a lot of time in code and a lot of time shooting and editing video concurrently, so I tend to bounce back and forth from one to the other every few months or so. Right now I'm very much in my code cycle, which I'm happy is coinciding well with this course!

    Looking through everyone else's bio and intros, I'm very excited for the next four weeks and can't wait to meet more of you as the course goes on.

  • Ted Han   July 11, 2011, 10:13 a.m.

    Hey folks,

    I'm Ted, and a sort of holistic nerd.  As i've got in my bio-blurb, i'm a linguist by degree, a ruby programmer by profession and a scifi geek, open source developer, news junkie and futurist by interest.  Although i am not going to be fully participating in the course (i'm auditing, and i'll explain why later this week perhaps), i feel strongly in MoJo's mission in developing a community to offer innovative ideas and implementations from inside and outside the core of the journalistic community.

    My interest in MoJo stems from a couple places.  I've participated in open source development, a little bit in the world of online hacktivism, and along side the open data movement.  While online hacktivist and volunteer groups like Random Hacks of Kindness, CrisisCommons and CrisisMappers make up a sensible and solid axis with the ethos of the Open Data movement, i've come to believe that journalism, forms the third leg of a triangle along with open data and online volunteerism.

    As a linguist, i'm interested in the news media as a data source, and what can be done with production in the journalistic process because at its core, journalism is about the communication of facts and ideas as its major mechanism for success.  MoJo presents itself as a particularly cool opportunity as it, like Hacks/Hackers resides in the space between civic programming and pushing the boundaries of journalism/news production.

    As a programmer i've discovered over the past two months that the vanguard of developer/journalist collaborations have already found early success (c.f. DocumentCloud, ProPublica) and are looking for people to swell the ranks of people who can help journalists accomplish their jobs more efficiently and tear down the technological impediments that prevent journalists from accomplishing their goals.

    So, i'm interested and excited to participate in this space, and i can't wait to see how everyones' ideas develop.  If there's anything i can do to help, please let me know :)

  • Kersten A. Riechers   July 11, 2011, 8:57 a.m.

    Guten Tag…

    … and hello from Germany! My name is Kersten and I'm looking forward to some great weeks with you.

    I will join you together with my colleague Tobi who is also the co-author of our diploma thesis Corrigo – the reason we're here. We call it a "crowdsourced media accountability system". It basically helps you flag and correct factual errors in online news media without having the latter implement it on their own sites.

    Until now we've developed the theoretical part of Corrigo since we both studied online journalism (at h_da University of Applied Sciences) and worked as Editors at the news desks of German newspapers ZEIT online and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

    After describing our idea on more than 160 pages we now want to get more people involved and get to know their opinions on it.

    I really like the idea of combining "tech innovation" and the visions about tomorrow's journalism. So let us bring those two worlds together!

  • Jamie King   July 11, 2011, 7:02 a.m.

    Hi all, 

    Brief intro. 

    My main interest ever since first encountering Jamie Boyle's work on the Public Domain (must have been sometime around the turn of the millenium while working as an editor at Mute Magazine, has been around the commons, p2p and creative application of technology for progressive media distribution. 

    To this end I made and distributed the STEAL THIS FILM ( series from 2006-2009, and an ill-fated (as in under-funded) documentary series THE OIL OF THE 21st CENTURY, of which I managed to make precisely one part, REPUBLIC OF SOYA, which looked at how Monsanto utilises IP over lifeforms to effect political control in the manner of a nation-state actor in territories like Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. The idea was to show how intellectual reources are increasingly marshalled as means to produce socio-economic dominance. Unfortunately this is a difficult pitch for commissioners :) I didn't try to crowdsource it yet.

    Moving swiftly along I started the VODO project in 2009 ( to help other filmmakers (and soon writers and musicians) distribute their work via P2P (BitTorrent) and make money doing so. We encourage the large audiences that are reached via our distributions (sometimes in the millions, as with our show Pioneer One, to sponsor artists in return for a variety of cool incentives. We're also working on ways of connecting brands to this distribution structure in a way that will hopefully underwrite free-to-share distribution of creative works. 

    More than anything VODO seeks to open up ways that individuals and organisations can put the power P2P to work, eventually rivalling the capacity of traditional broadcasters and media owners to define social and cultural agendas or motifs. it's also to this end that I proposed the Spark'd project here. The idea is to leverage what I have learned from VODO, and I'm sure will learn from the resources here, to create a distributed, scalable, open A/V publishing infrastructure that could be plugged into a variety of information situations. The key use-case, however, is dissident or marginal audiovisual news reporting: getting information from an individual citizen-reporter, for example, into a distribution environment and out through the social graph.

    Sorry I'm late to post here, but I have read all your profiles and I'm really happy to be invited to be around so many amazing, accomplished and cheerful people. Hope to meet you soon. :)





  • Mark Boas   July 11, 2011, 6:05 a.m.


    My name is Mark Boas and I'm currently living in a town called San Casciano just outside Florence, Italy.

    I work for a very small company Happyworm Ltd which I co-founded 11 years ago. Since then I have been following my interests (and occassionally working for clients when beer money ran low).

    My interests include researching and working with the very latest web technologies to make shiny things.

    I'm especially interested in media and love all things audio-related, with a great deal of help from my colleagues I created a free and opensource JavaScript media library called jPlayer

    Recently I have been working with Mozilla to create some demos around a concept dubbed Hyperaudio. I'm now hoping to apply some ideas I have to video.

    I believe that keeping the web open is the single most important challenge to our generation and that media in particlular needs to evolve to incorporate new technologies and benefit from the open spirit of the web.

    I love to learn, share and generally interact with passionate individuals from all walks of life and this looks like a great place to do so.

    I can't wait to get started!

    (I am @maboa on Twitter and blog at

  • Artem Dudarev   July 11, 2011, 5:29 a.m.

    Hello everybody!

    I am a web developer from Donetsk, Ukraine. My tools are mostly Python and Javascript.

    During the lab I would like to learn some useful ideas for a project Locovidi


    which is aimed to improve connection of videos to places.

  • Tobias Reitz   July 11, 2011, 5:05 a.m.

    Hi everyone,

    My name is Tobias (or Tobi as it is easier to pronounce in English). I live and work in Darmstadt, a small town in Germany located closed to Frankfurt. I've just gratuated from University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt (h_da) with a degree in online journalism. The topic of the diploma thesis, I wrote together with my colleague and fellow student Kersten is "corrigo – conception of a crowdsourced media accountability service". And this is why I'm here.

    Our aim is helping users flag and correct factual errors, missing links and typos in online news sources. Corrigo comes as a browser add-on based on web annotation technology, which makes you see errors and corrections right in context.

    Up to now it is not more than a great idea. We already know a lot about corrigo's frontend, now we need to learn more about it's backend. With the help of all these smart people in the MoJo learning lab we hope to find a way to realize this project and to make future online journalism a bit better, a bit "correcter".

    Beside this project I work for a small agency for online communications and public relations. During my studies I worked for several German speaking online media such as Zeit Online or

    I'm really looking forward to the MoJo learning lab, to meet some great people and to think about the future of online journalism. It's gonna be four interesting weeks. Cheers!

  • Julien Dorra   July 11, 2011, 3:24 a.m.

    Me at Future Everything, just after having low-tech-hqcked one of the artworkHi, I'm Julien.

    I'm really happy to share this lab with you all, there is so many great people and energy here it's crazy!


    So, about me…

    What I do is getting people to be (even) more creative with digital tools.

    In particular I setup events like ArtGame weekend, Théâtre+YouTube, or Switch On Switch Off to help participants create and produce together.


    With similar goals I recently setup the mentoring program for Le Camping, the first startup accelerator in France.

    I also teach web video at Paris 1 and De Vinci and I’m a team member of Dorkbot Paris ("People doing strange things with electricity", in Paris).


    And, oh, as you might have guessed I'm based in Paris… but I'm in Montreal until july 18th – I love this city!


    I currently have two ongoing art projects, Blind Model and Le Sac à Main.

     Le Sac à main  is at the origin of my submission for the MoJo Learning Lab :

    Solve the video interview problem: «how to unleash the full data potential of video interviews»





  • Kabir Soorya   July 11, 2011, 3:13 a.m.

    Hi, my name's Kabir, I'm a recent grad of Oxford's Computing Lab[1] and a New Yorker.

    I'm interested in building expressive technology that lets us create as fluidly as we think, and inspires us to think dangerous thoughts. I'm crazy about AI, synthetic biology, and all kinds of technologies that let us do things that we think are impossible. I love storytelling in all its forms, from the written word to cartoons. And I believe that one day soon, technology will let us harness the motivation and creativity of everyone on the planet to solve problems from poverty to epidemics to war.

    Why am I excited about digital journalism? Because it means writing Javascript that helps safeguard human rights, vanquish tyrants, and keep democracies free! The web is a community where an idea can become a global movement in moments, and digital journalism promises to harness that power to build a better world.

    My new blog is:

    [1] Yes, I did get to live in a castle.

  • Raynor Vliegendhart   July 11, 2011, 2:10 a.m.

    Hi all,

    My name is Raynor Vliegendhart and I live in a small town in the Netherlands called Waddinxveen. I'm currently a scientific programmer at the Delft University of Technology in the Multimedia Information Retrieval Lab (D-MIR). I have a background in peer-to-peer (P2P) stuff and have worked on Tribler, a P2P file-sharing application that is being developed here at the university.

    I am still working on Tribler in the context of the D-MIR lab, but my work is now more focused on the information retrieval (IR) side, a field that's new for me and I've only been working in for about a year now. IR is about finding material of an unstructured nature that satisfies an information need from within large collections [IRBook]. For journalism, the information need consists of documents (e.g., video footage) related to a particular news event, but only those documents or fragments thereof that are relevant to the information need. We cannot possibly present everything to the user if we don't want him or her to drown in it. I hope that I can develop my submitted idea that will help in adding more structure to video and thus making it easier to retrieve the interesting bits from a video. In this Learning Lab, I'm looking forward to learning all kind of stuff to support this development.

    Anyway, my (currently not so active, but hopefully that will change during this lab) blog can be found here. My (more active) Twitter page is located here.

    (edited on July 15th: fixed a typo)

  • Katie Zhu   July 11, 2011, 1:55 a.m.

    Hi everyone! Nice to meet you all. I'm Katie (alias: @kzhu91), a rising junior at Northwestern University majoring in journalism and computer science. I escaped Chicago for L.A. this summer -- I'm working at GOOD as a web engineering apprentice and getting my hands dirty in all things Rails and Ruby.

    As my combination of majors may suggest, I'm very passionate about the intersection of media and technology (with particular interests in human-computer interaction, data visualization and interaction design). I firmly believe people's consumption habits and practices are changing -- the way in which we get our information and consume our news is drastically different -- and it is vital for the journalism industry to keep up with technology, both in form and practice. Simply reading an article isn't always enough anymore. For journalism to truly adapt to the "digital age," it must look for new ways to deliver content in an engaging manner and get an audience to interact with it.

    I've been doing web development this summer, but in Evanston, I also work for a campus publication called North by Northwestern -- interactive graphics, writing and page design -- and in a social network analysis lab called SONIC.

    I'm really excited to broaden my skill base (more of the techie side of things) and bounce ideas off all y'all! I'm sure our discussions will be great, and from everyone's bio that I've read so far, I'm looking forward to chatting more as a group. Analyzing the journo/media industries (and how they build/influence communities) is another big draw for me, and I can't wait to dive in.

    I will be blogging here: (Tumblr powered). In terms of responses/discussions, you can post comments or ask anything via this link OR there's a big question mark icon at the top of my blog. Woo MoJo!

  • Shaminder Dulai   July 11, 2011, 1:53 a.m.

    Hello everyone. My name is Shaminder Dulai and I'm a freelance photojournalist/multimedia producer and independent filmmaker. Most recently I was a multimedia journalist for The Houston Chronicle, which meant I was tweeting, writing, photographing, filming and producing for the metro desk. Since 2006 I've been a nomad, traveling from state to state and newsroom to newsroom.

    At the moment I am traveling cross country in an Airstream with two recent grads and producing a documentary travel show about finding homegrown heroes along America's roadways. We're in the middle of episode four which is all about Montana and right now I'm typing this from a cabin under a half full moon next to the Yellowstone River. It's breathtaking, to say the least. If you're interested you can find our first show on my blog.

    I'm passionate about telling stories and producing the type of journalism that lasts beyond the daily news cycle. I love to experiment, collaborate and use new tools to deliver rich, deep, layered stories that will better serve the journalistic narrative and serve our community. 

    As such I am very humbled and excited to be invited to join the Learning Lab and share in this knowledge pool to learn more about employing javascript and HTML5 audio/video codecs for implementing interactive visualizations to create richer informational experiences. I'm also interested in the topics of mobile video, gamification (I often daydream about what journalism would look like if Will Wright was in charge), closing the internet divide, usuability and design, education and how we archive information and use it to shape past, present and future history.

    I am honored to meet all of you and I look forward to learning all your names. Among the like-minded peers I'll meet in the coming weeks, I'm sure I'll find great collaborators of ideas and compatriots in reinventing the fourth estate.

    I'm also on Google+ if anyone's interested in hanging out or taking that beast apart.

    Thank you.

  • Juan Gonzalez   July 11, 2011, 1:23 a.m.

    Hi all,

    My name is Juan Gonzalez, live in Toronto, Canada and make a living as an independent Software Architect.   I've done big consulting for global brands, jquery mobile development and pretty much everything in between.   I ventured early into the geolocation space and continue to provide expert advice in that area.  These days my focus is mostly on production platforms, remix patterns, high-bandwidth user interfaces, realtime streams and whatever tools are required to digest the overwhelming amount of information we're all exposed to.   

    I'm a very active blogger and digital citizen in general.   My media diet consists of exhausting a Twitter timeline of about 120 of the smartest people I've found around, consistently saving the best for later, finding inspiration in Tumblr, and writing the more digested ideas to my globalculture or blogs.  This last one is where you can find my thoughts related to this Lab.

    I look forward to the next 4 weeks as an opportunity to meet you all, ignite the discussion around what is next for Journalism and doing everything possible to put my skills to the service of this worthy cause.


  • Alex Samur   July 11, 2011, 1:10 a.m.

    Hi everyone!

    My name is Alex – and as you know, I’m one of the lab organizers. I hail from Canada’s west coast – specifically, from Vancouver, BC. I come to the MoJo learning lab from an independent media background and currently work with, which is one of Canada’s largest independent news sites. I also teach journalism (online and otherwise!) with a couple of local colleges.

    Despite what you may have heard about Canucks, I am not obsessed with maple syrup-soaked bacon, or hockey – though true to the Canadian stereotype, I am pretty friendly. :)  I’ll welcome your feedback about the course, at any and all times.

    I will be blogging about the lab on the Drumbeat site – feel free to engage with me there, via P2PU or via @asamur on Twitter.

    Very exciting to meet all of you! Looking forward to learning more about you and your interests in the weeks to come.  Until then…
    Welcome aboard!

  • Seth Vincent   July 11, 2011, 12:46 a.m.

    Hello. I'm Seth Vincent.

    I'm excited about javascript, couchdb, and node.js, and learning how to implement those technologies to build unique news-oriented software.

    My project proposal was about creating a people-powered news project, and through this course I want to study things like wikis, distributed reporting, source management, ui and ux patterns for news, and cross-platform web development.

    I blog here:

    I graduated from The Evergreen State College in 2009 with a focus on journalism and web development. I served as editor in chief of the student newspaper at Evergreen, and in my senior year I helped transition the newspaper to having a web presence. After graduation I served as the assistant advisor to Evergreen's student newspaper, training students on web development and computer and equipment usage.

  • Corbin Smith   July 11, 2011, 12:45 a.m.


    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 or 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.