Innovative ideas that might make your head explode

Dating back a few years, the prestigious John. S. Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University has culminated with Knight Talks, on-stage presentations in an auditorium complete with velvet curtains and wireless headpieces.

It’s a look that recalls tech moguls and formality.

This year they chose to go a different route, with short, engaging explanatory videos that introduce the concepts and projects fellows focused on during their fellowships. I’ve watched these videos for years and I’m pretty sure Cordelia Hebblethwaite’s use of an Elvis impersonator, a fake beard and a tiny typewriter is a first.

First published about a month ago on YouTube, the videos have been slowly trickled into the social media stream on Facebook.

JSK has brought together some of the most impactful and innovative minds in journalism to rethink the industry since the 1960s.

Have a look.

Fellows whose projects have a crowdfunding component and we’ve written about before include Radio Ambulante and Chicas Poderosas. MuckRock founder Michael Morisy also has a background in crowdfunding FOIA requests, but his time at Stanford centered on the use of gamification and small tasks to crowdsource investigative journalism.

The following descriptions come directly from the JSK website, where you can also find more detailed descriptions of projects:

Using virtual reality to tell scene stories by Anh Hoa Truong

Creating immersive experiences that help users feel more engaged with important scientific issues.

The Social Media Reporter by Cordelia Hebblethwaite

A guide for journalists on how to use social media for newsgathering.

Transforming media landscapes by Jeremy Hay

EPANow: A pilot effort to help underserved communities develop their own news services.

Culture + Data = Better Stories by Akoto Ofori-Atta

Using data journalism on the culture beat.

Messaging is the Medium by Yvonne Leow

It’s time for journalists to produce content specifically for messaging platforms.

Securing the future of drone journalism in Africa by Dickens Olewe

A plan to convene key stakeholders to discuss obstacles and opportunities.

Samecloth: Stories behind the label by Christina Passariello

Creating data-driven interactive maps to help people learn how and where their clothing is made.

The Washington Post Talent Network by Anne Kornblut

Creating software that helps editors and freelancers more easily connect.

City matter: Data that is engaging by Lope Gutiérrez-Ruiz

Providing citizens with information that is timely, beautifully designed and useful.

Mind the storytelling gap by Izabela Moi

Increasing diversity, engagement, conversation and relevancy in Brazil’s mainstream news.

The future of video is vertical by Zena Barakat

It’s time for news organizations to give mobile audiences a better video viewing experience.

Teaching Pakistani journalists to work safely by Najia Ashar

Visual training materials are quickly understood and more easily remembered.

Meet Walter: Your personal journalist by Donna Borak

Control how and when the news is delivered to you, all through the sound of your voice.

Using games to crowdsource investigative journalism by Michael Morisy

Can the same techniques that made apps like Tinder and Candy Crush runaway successes be used to reshape how we tackle investigative reporting?

Unlocking journalistic innovation by Charla Bear

Lessons for public media newsrooms seeking to better engage and represent diverse audiences.

La Escuela Radio Ambulante by Carolina Guerrero

An online space, in Spanish, for learning how to tell, produce and share audio stories.

SciTech Talks by Jing Jiang

Improving science reporting in China by helping journalists and scientists communicate.

Global Student Square by Beatrice Motamedi

Creating a space for student journalists to connect and create global stories.

The news media and mobile publishing by Louis Hansen

Newspapers need to do better at serving readers and advertisers on mobile devices.

Chicas Poderosas by Mariana Santos

Building a network that will bring more women into technology in newsrooms.

If you enjoyed these videos, take a look at pitch videos from this year’s Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism fellows.

You can also watch Knight Talks from years past on the JSK Stanford website.


Follow us on Twitter and Through the Cracks on Facebook to get a hold of stories crowdfunding and journalism innovation that chances are you can’t find anywhere else.

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Khari Johnson
Khari is founder and editor of Through the Cracks: Crowdfunding in Journalism. He also writes about bots and artificial intelligence for VentureBeat. He has built news startups in the U.S. and Europe for the last decade.

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