Entrants An early adopter of the Web, Jeff Worthington is an IT technology professional who has co-founded and served as chief technology officer of several technology startups, and has been a consultant to major corporations. Now a principal of consulting firm 408West, LLC (http://408west.com/) Worthington has created and managed information technology solutions for Fortune 500 companies such as SmithKline, Sun Oil, Becton-Dickinson, and Merck. He has expertise in service-oriented, Internet-based architecture, relational databases, data and object modeling, human-computer interface design, and several programming languages. Worthington has developed intellectual property that led to the filing of two patents, and has taught at Villanova University and Montgomery County (Pennsylvania) Community College, in addition to guest lecturing at Pennsylvania State University and the Executive MBA program at Villanova. He has served in technical organizations including the Open Buying on the Internet (OBI) consortium and the Advisory Committee of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Worthington earned his BA from Temple University in 1982 and completed MBA coursework at Villanova in 1991. An award-winning investigative reporter for major newspapers and magazines, Keith Epstein got his start in community journalism and was an early innovator of online journalism Web sites and content. Now an investigative reporter in BusinessWeek Magazine’s Washington Bureau, Epstein’s work has included examinations of microlending, medical experimentation, cyber intrusions into government and corporate networks, regulatory delays, nonprofits, the space program and pharmaceutical side effects. Before coming to Washington in 1986 with The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Epstein covered communities in Broward County for The Miami Herald, including Knight Ridder’s “Neighbors” zoning experiment, and in upstate New York for The Watertown Daily Times. His articles have appeared in The Washington Post, Post-Newsweek’s Techway, CIO Insight, Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Discovery Channel’s health Web site, and he created a self-syndicated travel-oriented column and journalism Web site, RelationTrips. Among honors: A Barlett & Steele Award for Investigative Business Journalism, Hunter College’s James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, and awards from Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, Society of American Business Editors and Writers, National Press Club, and has been a finalist for the Gerald Loeb Award. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1979. Project Title: Anyplace News: Journalism’s first useful and user-tailored real-time micro-zoned community news map, www.anyplacenews.com “News for Any Place, Any Time, by Any Body” Requested Amount: $550,000 Time to Complete: Following an agile practice that involves real users in the iterative design and release processes, Anyplace News will debut early beta functionality within six months, building up to a first ‘real’ version within a year. Describe your project: Our product, an online mashup of gatekeeper-mediated news and user-generated content accessed through an innovative interactive interface, will enhance the usefulness, relevance and immediacy of community journalism while transforming citizen journalism. Mapping traditional online news augmented with user-submitted text and multimedia content, our product provides user-tailored micro-zoning of news, editorial content, and community information. We aim to realize the elusive goal of new media entrepreneurs who have long envisioned revitalizing community news operations by putting users in control while creating the model for local reporting, precisely targeted advertising, and a viable online revenue stream. Yet for such ambitions, our proposed method is startlingly straightforward, achievable, and makes use almost entirely of existing technology and available data streams. Users will define their own dimensions of space and time by identifying micro-zones of coverage on an interactive map, and through the use of interactive tools such as a time-bar that adjusts for preferred periods of interest. Users select geographical areas of interest, such as where they or their relatives live, work, visit, go to school, and imagine living or visiting, defining perimeters that are as constrained or broad as they desire. They also establish preferences for a timeframe – for example, today, this afternoon, next week, the last six months. Result: Icons representing different types of news, events, advisories, and other location-specific content on an interactive map. By adjusting the period of time into the past or future, users can see events of the past, the day, scheduled activities for the upcoming weekend, or all news stories of a certain type for the last year. Anyplace News crawls the Web to harvest, categorize, and geocode localized content. For example, we will compile accident statistics by intersection, based on transportation data, news accounts, and user-submitted reports. Other types of information would include utility service outages, zoning issues, commuter bus or rail delays, gas prices, and scheduled community events such as fundraising dinners, 10K races, and youth sporting events – the meat and potatoes of community journalism and disparate services now available in cyberspace, but united at www.anyplacenews.com, one convenient, personalized stop on the Internet that offers a more useful, adaptable format than the traditional local newspaper or its generally static, read-and-respond Web site. Once citizens have established geographical and topical preferences, our product will alert them of news stories and events within their microzones of interest. The accumulated information can lead to monetization of the system through microtargeted advertising based on geographic and news topic interests. How will your project improve the way news and information are delivered to geographic communities? Let’s imagine a tangible hypothetical. Imelda Jones, a retired schoolteacher who lives in a section of San Jose just east of downtown, defines her geographic area of interest as bordered by the Bayshore Freeway, Alum Rock Road, Observatory Drive and Story Road. She doesn’t really live that close to Bayshore Freeway, but she knows her grandchildren sometimes play soccer at a field near the sports center, and that her son frequently plays in tournaments at the Rancho del Pueblo Golf Course, and she doesn’t want to miss reports of their accomplishments. Meanwhile, she knows if she includes the senior center, her town’s local council building, and the grocery stores she prefers, she’ll never miss events, proposed ordinances, or sales she cares about. When Mrs. Jones logs onto www.anyplacenews.com, she’s actually interacting with Imelda Jones News; icons on the map of her personalized geoworld identify a car accident that injured three people an hour ago at the corner of King and Story; a notice of a meeting for tutors at the school Thursday afternoon (she still likes to spend time with students and hadn’t been sure of the time); a rezoning of a lot down the street that worries her (she’ll click on a button and, after reading the request for rezoning, will submit an online public comment); and the death of a friend’s husband two streets from her own (she’ll immediately click on the tab for the florist on Berona Way, and see if the bakery has anything she might bring when she stops by to pay her condolences). While glancing at her interactive map, Mrs. Jones will also notice a new icon popping up, with a warning about a traffic jam, and a story about a woman down the street involved in a local political campaign. She inserts a comment at the bottom of the story. Our hypothetical Imelda Jones prefers getting her information this way, because it’s less confusing and laborious than combing multiple sources online or even sitting down with the local newspaper. Meanwhile, it gives her a sense of involvement in her community, because it is a community she has defined based on her needs and interests. Encouraging users to generate community-based content involves citizens in the news and gets them to be more engaged in local issues, giving them a greater sense of community and accountability. Engagement in the process enhances user and citizen participation. How is your idea innovative? While many Web sites have attempted to combine mapping software with news aggregation to display location-oriented news items, and still others have wedded traditional news content with user comments, our product mashes up all three; more finely resolves the geographic focus so that the micro-zone could cover the smallest of neighborhoods; and additionally adds the dimension of user control over time and space. For all the struggles that followed, an important thought lay behind the concept of territorial micro-zoning initiated by many newspapers starting during the 1980s. The underpinning is still true: People are intensely interested in news about their most local communities, and that larger newspapers can encroach on community newspapers by offering narrowly customized news, features and notices. But especially in this age of competing media and a flood of information, acquisition of this information must be useful and adaptive to the needs of readers who exist, after all, within the boundaries of their own personal and social making – not political, circulation, or advertising boundaries. Our combination of traditional and user-contributed news content displayed on an interactive, time-varied map gives users unprecedented levels of control over, and participation in, local online news in a way that is not yet possible. What experience do you or your organization have to successfully develop this project? The team has unique experience and depth of knowledge in journalism, including community journalism, information technology innovation, and the creation and management of high-tech startups. This enhances prospects not only for successful completion of this first-of-a-kind delivery model for news and engagement of readers, but increases the odds that we will be able to turn it into a model for acquiring viewers, creating journalism that is meaningful to peoples’ lives, and generating revenues from targeted advertising.