Two links caught our attention this week that could be of interest to stations covering H1N1. While these examples are not directly related to swine flu, they may inspire you to try new approaches in your coverage.
The first is Crowdsourcing: A Field Guide from WNYC. Crowdsourcing entails soliciting your audience to help collect, curate, and vet information around a specific topic or issue. WNYC has been experimenting with crowdsourcing for the last few years, most notably on the Brian Lehrer Show (recently, the program asked the audience to contribute examples of the recession’s impact for their Uncommon Economic Indicators project). The guide provides case studies on how to implement crowdsourcing at your station, along with tips on where it fits in your existing editorial process and standards. There’s a useful 10 point quick-guide that rounds up the big takeaways from the field guide.
While the recent snowstorms in the Washington DC area don’t reach the crisis threshold, it’s fair to say they had a major impact on the region. The Washington Post is using the Ushahidi platform (which we mentioned in our round-up of responses to the earthquake in Haiti) to map the impact of the storm. The map provides an online tool that allows the audience to highlight locations still buried from the storm — impassable streets and sidewalks, cars buried, and power outages. But they also encourage folks to map opportunities to help in the dig out — snow blowers available or a shovel to share.
Getting to know emerging tools and techniques during more routine scenarios will allow public media outlets to respond more effectively when and if a crisis hits.