Mozilla partners with public media to empower citizen engagement in U.S. election coverage
Tuesday’s State of the Union Address from U.S. President Barack Obama will include something special: crowdsourced captions and subtitles provided by everyday citizens around the world.
Using new web tools from Mozilla and the Participatory Culture Foundation, participants will transcribe and translate the President’s speech into dozens of languages in a matter of hours, making it more accessible to those with disabilities and in other countries across the globe.
Launching “Open Election 2012″
The event marks the launch of “Open Election 2012,” a new partnership between Mozilla, PBS NEWSHOUR, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and Participatory Culture Foundation.
Open Election 2012 will showcase how new open web technologies and citizen participation can make election coverage more accessible to diverse audiences, and provide new ways to engage with the news.
Adding context and interactivity with Mozilla Popcorn
Throughout the election, PBS NEWSHOUR will also use “Mozilla Popcorn,” a new HTML5 media tool Fast Company recently called “the future of online video.”
Popcorn makes it possible to pull other content and context from across the web right into the story, providing new ways for viewers to interact with video news.
Engaging and inspiring audiences
“It is part of the mission of public media to make our content available to everyone,” explained Hari Sreenivasan, Correspondent and Director of Digital Partnerships for PBS NEWSHOUR.
“From Chinese to Dutch, the speech translation is a true service for those for whom English is a second language and the hard of hearing. We hope to engage and inspire audiences too often forgotten.”
Phillip Smith’s “Catalyzing news innovation” post contains crucial ideas and talking points for MoJo. Especially given the back-and-forth and real-world testing with Geoff Samek — one of the smart folks behind the online news start-up Sacramento Press — who has written a pair of extremely thoughtful posts on this as well here.
Here’s a quick dirty capture of their talking points. For us to bake into our messaging for the upcoming MoJo web site launch. These are meant to supplement — not replace — the messaging already on the MoJo wiki and in our most recent Board Slides.
What are we looking for?
- Are highly innovative, with potential for broad adoption in the news community.
- Useful to real-world media organizations, or born out of long-established newsroom experience.
- Produce re-usable, open-source software that benefits the web as a whole.
How is our approach different? What do we want to do?
- Empower tech people. Bring Silicon Valley-style innovation to news, instead of the same-old Old Media mindset.
- Seek proposals from non-journalists and fund them.
- Create challenges and pitch contests for entrepreneurs looking to fund really outside the box ideas.
- Direct money to fund breakthrough innovations, instead of just specific stories.
- Take more risk. Give out more grants, smaller grants, and ask different people to take that risk. People outside the traditional comfort zone.
- Don’t just push the large players forward an inch. Focus on pushing the entire industry forward a mile.
Why is Mozilla interested in news?
- To advance its mission of protecting the open nature of the Internet.
- We want to ensure that the same ideas that make the web awesome — openness, generativity, co-creation, massive collaboration, “hacking” and Maker Culture — are embedded and embraced by news organizations around the world.
- Our theory of change is: “The web is changing, and journalism is changing with it.”
- Put another way: news organizations have a massive influence over the web’s future. The Knight-Mozilla project wants to ensure they change it for the better. And vice versa.
Working with news partners to disrupt the market
- By working with some of the world’s leading news partners, we’re aiming for the broadest possible exposure of the new ideas that come out of our design challenges and fellowships.
- We believe these ideas will be embraced by news organizations of all shapes and sizes, both ‘traditional’ and radically new.
- The emphasis is on news partners that can host fellows effectively: embracing innovation and committing to really implement new ideas and software.
Protecting the web and journalism from new risks
- Start-up frenzy is resulting in the “appification” of everything. This is reinforcing some negative trends:
- encroachment on user privacy
- social silos
- less focus on the creation of free and open-source software.
- We need to guard against market failure and business models that involve lock-in or threaten consumer choice.
- And also financial failure. We don’t just need ideas, but also the financial models that can sustain those ideas.
- Those models will take a broad range of forms. From ‘values-based’ start-ups to ‘public trusts’ to traditional news organizations to new for-profit start-ups.