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Community KnowledgeBase

Posted by absolutelyape on September 12, 2008

When people aren’t connected to their community, said Lewis Friedland, they don’t read the news. They aren’t as concerned with becoming socially and civically responsible or educated.

Community Knowledgebase was created on this concept – the software searches a newspapers’ archives and keeps track of contacts withing hundred of groups. The groups are organized by race, religion, job, well-known citizens in the community.

These types of software seem to be very helpful in a newsroom (ah, how far we have progressed from the traditional Morgue). No doubt they speed up the process of source-hunting… but I wonder about the dangers of depending on a software like this. Will reporters visit the same community contacts when they have a story on a specific community or issue? For example, if they are writing a story on an issue in the Hispanic community, will they click on “Hispanic community,” see four sources (that’s how many there are for the Columbia database, through the Missourian), and rely on those four for their information?

I suppose this is the danger within any newsroom – a constricted database of sources. I just wonder how much new journalists may find themselves depending on technological software like CKB because it’s easier than scouring the actual community for significant sources.

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