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Mashable Wins Election Night With #LegoSenate

The real winner of yesterday’s mid-term elections was Mashable, who tracked the Senate seats with a #LegoSenate. It’s exactly what it sounds like.

Election coverage is always rough, long, and hard to follow as you wait for organization after organization to confirm results. Turning to Vine and Legos is brilliant.

Someone buy the Mashable news team a beer.

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BBC Launches WhatsApp ‘Ebola Lifeline’ Service in West Africa

BBC-NewsThe BBC has launched a WhatsApp service in West Africa to spread information, news alerts, and provide what they’re calling a “lifeline” to people in the affected areas. It will be available in both English and French; you can access it at  +44 7702 348651.

WhatsApp is the most popular messaging service in Africa and while it’s the first time the BBC has used it to spread information on health news, it has used WhatsApp and other messaging services like BBM and WeChat in the past for breaking news alerts. In a statement, Director of the World Service Group Peter Horrocks said:

This outbreak of Ebola shows no signs of abating. Myths and misinformation about Ebola are still widespread – and life-threatening. The BBC is trusted by millions of people in the affected countries, so we are stepping up our efforts to reach people with timely information, whether they’re listening to the radio, watching TV or using chat apps. We’re committed to playing our part and will continue looking at new ways to reach audiences, for example by developing programmes in local vernacular languages.

Read more

Gamifying Current Affairs: Al Jazeera Launches ‘Pirate Fishing’ Game

Al Jazeera launched an interactive game this week based on investigating the illegal pirate fishing in the Sierra Leone. Gamers become a reporter, gathering evidence and notes. By watching videos and viewing photos, the “reporter” puts the content in the correct “notebook” and can move up levels.

The game is based on a report called “Pirate Fishing” done by Juliana Ruhfus for the Al Jazeera series People & Power, nominated for the Royal Television Society Awards. An Italian based agency, Altera Studios, partnered with the news organization to create the interactive game, which can be played on a desktop or on mobile. The angle of “building a case” is a nice lesson for younger students or people outside of the field, even; it makes journalism seem adventurous, which it should be. The game focuses on evidence collection, fact checking, and background note taking. Ruhfus is quoted in the release:

Investigative journalism can be seen as quite high-brow, whereas ‘gamification’ can open it up to  a new generation of digital-savvy journalists. It’s important for us to push the boundaries and explore new ways to reach audiences…The game highlights how news stories are created, and the benchmarks needed to qualify your reporting. We’ve been encouraged by the response so far.

You can play the game here.

BBC Pop Up Launches in Colorado

bbcpopupPop-up food trucks, fashion boutiques, flea markets. Now, there are pop-up newsrooms, too, thanks to BBC Pop Up. A truly mobile newsroom, BBC has sent a small crew of video journalists to travel around North America for six months to embed themselves in a place and dig around for good stories.

For their first stop, the team is in Boulder, Colo., where they’ve been since last week. Here’s their first dispatch on how residents have dealt with the aftermath of the Jamestown floods:

Mathew Danzico, of the Pop Up team and BBC’s Video Innovation Lab, says the project is about “empowering residents to tell their stories.” The team is posted together in a house and working out of a co-working space in the area. Since arriving, they’ve held town hall meetings to announce their presence, meet with residents and pick their brains about what to cover. They’re also holding journalism workshops at local universities.   Read more

Reddit Launches Live Blogging Platform

reddilive.jpgReddit has officially launched RedditLive, a new feature where anyone on the platform can create their own live blog via a subreddit. The feature has been in beta for a few months but now anyone can get at it and live blog at will.

Are we still in a place where this means journos will whine about professionalism, ethics, and recall the mob mentality surrounding some reddit threads and news events? Probably. If so, it’s probably time to shed the pretense. Reporting needs to be mobile, live, and transparent. RedditLive doesn’t have to be a publisher, though that’s technically what it is, but could be a really good source for you in the newsroom. Although, someone is live-blogging their midnight snack.

I think that reddit is sort of a self-cleaning machine. There’s a lot of noise over there, and that’s a good thing. When something is wrong or missing, people notice. It’s like the “eyes on the street” effect for the web. Read more

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