Archive - December 2007

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Case Foundation Walks the Talk
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Journalism 2.0
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I'm Not Sure We Are Having an Election

Case Foundation Walks the Talk

The Case Foundation (full disclosure: I am currently working on a project with the Foundation) announced yesterday a new grant challenge aimed at catalyzing a large number of donors to give this holiday season. Beginning last year, Case has focused on providing opportunities to highlight and reward the power of individual giving and activism.

As the Washington Post reports (registration stupidly required here) this morning. Here’s the gist of the article:

The Case Foundation, the philanthropy of Steve and Jean Case, is promoting America’s Giving Challenge, which aims to draw people who do not consider themselves to be philanthropists to donate as little as $10 to charities around the world. The foundation is working with Network for Good and GlobalGiving, nonprofit groups that allow donors to conduct online searches for charities to support.

The foundation has also begun a similar challenge on Facebook. Facebook users can donate to any of 1.5 million charities through the site’s “causes” section and have their donations and causes displayed as part of their personal profiles.

The Case Foundation is giving away $750,000 in the two online efforts, which start today and end January 31. People who recruit the most friends from their social networks will each receive $50,000 to donate to charity. The 100 charities that garner the highest number of online donations will each get $1,000.

There are many exciting aspects of this grant program. One in particular is recognizing the power of friends instead of just dollars to support causes. Young people in particular are not only not in a position to fund causes with large dollars, but don’t see the world through that lens alone. That’s the power behind the social networking sites; friends are their commerce and Case is recoginizing that and bringing that same passion to their causes.

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Journalism 2.0

When I speak to groups this question inevitably comes up, “I don’t know what information to trust online.” Fair question. I also struggle with the opposite problem, there are so many information sources that I feel overwhelmed trying to read through them. Well, wait five minutes in the Connected Age and someone will have a new application to solve any problem. Welcome NewsTrust!

NewsTrust has taken the idea of social networks and applied it to journalism. In their words it is:

The free NewsTrust.net website features daily feeds of quality news and opinions, which are carefully rated by our members, using our unique review tools. We rate the news based on quality, not just popularity. NewsTrust reviewers evaluate each article against core journalistic principles such as fairness, evidence, sourcing and context.

NewsTrust presents news articles to their membership who review tools using criteria such as fairness, evidence, sourcing and context. Reviewing articles takes some time and consideration on the part of members – but thoughtfulness has never been time-free. NewsTrust is built upon two powerful characteristics of the web: the power of reputation systems (ratings systems that a large number of users or customers can help shape and increase their trust over time), and the power of social networks to help build and shape large communities over time.

The folks at NewsTrust did a lot of testing and research prior to their launch. The site is based on solid research that indicates that citizens who are not journalists can provide valuable feedback on the quality of news articles. According to its website, NewsTrust had initial seed funding from the Mitch Kapor Foundation, the Ayrshire Foundation and the Tides Foundation, as well as Craig Newmark (Craigslist), Doug Carlston (Public Radio International), Fabrice Florin and other private donors. It recently secured multi-year funding from the MacArthur Foundation for $450,000.

NewsTrust is one of the most exciting developments I’ve come across in a while – it really does have transformational possibilities.

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I'm Not Sure We Are Having an Election

My friend, Micah Sifry, writes here about the woeful information on the Board of Elections websites for New York State. According to the Board, the next primary election in New York is last September, to match last November’s election. It wouldn’t be quite so woeful, I guess, if the primaries were scheduled for next fall, about a year away, but we’re having a presidential primary in New York State in two months!

This is similar to what I saw and wrote about in California on Election Day (here), it didn’t appear that California’s officials who decertified almost all of the machinery used on Election Day, have a game plan for their primary that also happens in about 60 days.

This may be one of the few instances when when we should be thankful that the Board of Elections in New York State is so utterly incompetent — at least we haven’t spent millions of dollars on election machinery that doesn’t work!

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