Every spring at MIT, Ethan Zuckerman teaches a class called “Future of News and Participatory Media.” It’s a class tailor-made for people who read Nieman Lab, because Zuckerman’s approach is treating news “as a design and engineering challenge.” (Not coincidentally, it’s a class you’ll often find Nieman Fellows and Lab staffers attending.)
We’ll explore the systems journalists have used to report and share the news, but we’ll focus on developing our own tools and methods to address these challenges.
One of the most interesting parts of the class are the final projects from students, which focus on applying technology to newsgathering and distributing information. This year’s crop of projects included tools to help add more context to the news, new platforms for audience engagement, ideas for media startups, and a tool for exploring data.
Some ideas go on to find life beyond MIT as independent projects. FOLD, a platform that lets users build context through multimedia elements, was first developed in Zuckerman’s class and now has been released to the public.
Here are a few of this year’s projects that I thought were interesting. You can find the full roster of projects here.