Newsmotion Takes A New Approach To ‘Civic Journalism’

Newsmotion is a startup journalism project that seeks to give voice to important international stories, but do so in an artistic, narrative way. In this new model of “civic media,” the organization wants to communicate stories in a way that connects people around issues and gives a voice to the voiceless, all while promoting open access to information through open source tools. 

The project seems like it fits the prescription for an international, collaborative manifestation of The Knight Foundation’s recommendations for informing communities in a digital era.  The mission is about being more inclusive and giving more open access, while harnessing a community around rich content. As Nieman Lab describes it, “Newsmotion aims to cover international events both as they’re happening and over the long-term — to marry immediacy and continuity in a single product.”

Big names are involved with Newsmotion, in terms of both institutional partners and organizational coordinators.  Julian Rubinstein, the series producer, is an adjunct professor at Columbia’s j-school and Marisa Jahn, creative director, was an artist-in-resdient at MIT’s Media Lab.  Partners include the Peoples Production House, NYU’s Environmental Health Clinic, and technologists from MIT, and Columbia University’s Journalism School. See a full list of team members here.

By Dec. 29, the organization hopes to meet its goal of raising $35,000 through Kickstarter, and as of today, they’ve raised $16,281.

From Newsmotion’s Kickstarter project, here’s a more detailed outline of their goals (emphasis added by me):

  • Create and distribute innovative, original content on under-reported topics and themes that will be made available online and at curated public events, and festivals,
  • Facilitate media training and production from under-represented communities, including at-risk youth, low-wage workers, immigrants, and others,
  • Support media literacy and democratic media policy, ensuring a free and open global communication network, and
  • Provide open source technology tools that ensure reliability, accuracy, and ease in accessing important information and compelling stories. Newsmotion’s ‘Originator’ tool authenticates sources and delineates them by category (Official, Unofficial, Citizen) in multiple languages, and in real time. ‘Reticulator’ is a tool designed to network and reward citizens for accurate and effective reporting and storytelling.

The ‘Originator’ tool mentioned above is an interface for the website that allows for filtering of news by source. The official site has not yet been launched, but will exist in its full form at Read more about the project on Nieman Lab. You can donate to the project on Kickstarter.