This was perhaps one of the busiest weeks in the history of the Guardian newspaper after it was thrown into a tailspin on Monday following some small organization publishing a few secret documents. It was incredibly convenient timing that it coincided with a friendly visit from Ushahidi who had long been scheduled to spend some time with the Guardian staff. Jonathan Gosier (Director of Product, SwiftRiver) and Brian Herbert (Lead Software Developer, Ushahidi) have spent the past week with the Guardian staff as part of their Guardian Activate program.
What is Guardian Activate? A Guardian platform aimed at world-changers who have proven that through the use of technology and the Internet, we can make the world a better place. Past speakers at Guardian Activate Summit have included Katrin Verclas (Mobile Active), Rose Shuman (QuestionBox.org), Eric Schmidt (Google) and Ethan Zuckerman (Global Voices).
Our own discussions with the Guardian staff spanned a number of topics:
- Lessons learned from Guardian’s uses and modifications of Ushahidi
- The role open source software like Ushahidi plays in investigative journalism
- Data Visualizing and Informatic Cartography (mapping)
- Exploring the SwiftRiver platform and products
- Ideas for new open source products for newsrooms and journalists
We also had a great tour of the massive four executive floors of the Guardian’s operations in London and the opportunity to sit in on a few non-sensitive meetings and editorial discussions. In the past, Ushahidi has collaborated with newsgroups like Al Jazeera, the Guardian, BBC, Thomson Reuters and others. So it was good to finally have an intense week of discussion with one of the world’s foremost leaders in news, to get some insight as to how our products can be improved to aid the journalistic process.
At the 2010 Guardian Activate Summit our very own Juliana Rotich (Program Director, Ushahidi) gave this talk: