Reporters’ Lab wins ONA grant for Structured Stories NYC

Duke students will cover local government in New York this summer in an experimental structured journalism project.

By Bill Adair – April 24, 2015 | Print this article

The Reporters’ Lab has been awarded an ONA Challenge Grant for a project that will develop new forms of journalism to cover local government in New York City.

Structured Stories NYC will use a structured journalism approach to cover major stories in New York this summer. It will be a new form of storytelling, a networked account of local news that accumulates over time and enables the local community to quickly access, query, and contribute to sprawling and complex local government stories.

Structured Stories NYC logo shade.001The project will be run by the Duke Reporters’ Lab in conjunction with Structured Stories, a news platform being developed by former Yahoo! product director David Caswell, and WNYC Radio, New York’s flagship public radio station.

The Duke team will be headed by Bill Adair, the Knight Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy. The students are Ishan Thakore, Natalie Ritchie and Rachel Chason.

The students will spend the summer covering local government in New York and will be publishing on structuredstoriesnyc.com. They will meet periodically with journalists from WNYC’s newsroom who will help the students select topics to follow.

The Reporters’ Lab will receive $35,000 for the project. For more details about it, see our entry.

Structured journalism is a new way to present the news. Instead of the traditional news article, it dices the news into smaller fields that readers can sort, tally and combine in different ways. Examples of structured journalism include Homicide Watch, which tracks homicides in several cities, and PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter fact-checking.

ONA is the world’s largest association of digital journalists. The ONA Challenge Fund was created in 2014 to encourage journalism programs to experiment with new ways of providing news and information. This year’s winning projects cover issues ranging from poverty to juvenile justice, and food truck lines to logging.

The fund is the brainchild of a collaborative that includes the Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund and the Rita Allen Foundation, and is managed by ONA, the world’s largest membership group of digital journalists.

For details about the 10 other winners, see the ONA news release.

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