By Steve Outing
While I’ve mentioned it a time or two on Twitter, I haven’t written much about the Digital Media Test Kitchen, which the University of Colorado School of Journalism & Mass Communication and I are building. Recently, I got the go-ahead to open up the website and blog for the Test Kitchen and start to spread the word.
Please do take a look around and tell me what you think of our mission and early research and development projects.
The simplest way to describe what the Test Kitchen is about is to emphasize how we are bringing together Journalism students and faculty with their colleagues from Computer Science and Business (and likely other disciplines as well in the future, depending on the project), as well as outside partners, to address the problems of journalism and the news sector and invent new solutions.
Our three primary areas of interest are news business models, new techniques for journalism, and new technologies for news.
The first Test Kitchen project is under way, and focuses on how to present in-depth (a.k.a., enterprise and investigative) news on the small screen of a smart-phone. This is a collaboration with I-News, the non-profit Rocky Mountain Investigative News Network. No, we don’t expect many people to read or view an entire investigative reporting package on an iPhone, but we do want to figure out how to make the limited time you spend on your phone reading and interacting with in-depth journalism a good experience.
I see our project team’s mission as helping news providers (old and new) make the right transition to the mobile platform, and not repeating the news industry’s big mistake when it moved from print to web (i.e., a “shovelware” approach to content rather than taking advantage of what the new medium of the web made possible).
I’d love to hear your ideas for future Test Kitchen projects that will move news forward. (Idea submission form.) And I’d like to hear from media and technology companies about possible collaboration. And, oh yeah, I’d be especially eager to talk with potential additional funders and donors to support the Test Kitchen in combining the ingredients of journalism, business, and technology to create more new recipes for reinventing news for the digital age.