The Amplification Project submitted an entry to the Knight News Challenge: Data on June 21st. The contest, funded by the John S. And James L. Knight Foundation, aims to find “new ways of collecting, understanding, visualizing and helping the public use the large amounts of information generated each day. “ The Amplification Project has partnered with key organizations in New Jersey to craft a proposal to create a public information workspace, PINFO.
Partners of the Amplification Project in the project include: the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Townstats.org, NJ Spotlight, and the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University. Through PINFO, the Amplification Project and its partners will establish a collaborative workspace for public users to access, analyze and disseminate data. Our partners on this project will fill out the expertise in database creation, as well as the news media expertise needed to make this project a success.
The Amplification Project will work with Mark Magyar, creator of Townstats.org, to build out the database of information that will feed into PINFO. As the database is built, the Amplification Project will also contract with a software company to provide the web-based platform for the PINFO worksite. Data will be curated around policy issues, and added to PINFO where the public can access, analyze and work on advocacy campaigns or reports using the data.
The goal of the policy-based worksites in PINFO is for users focused on common policy areas to collaborate and identify key findings. As PINFO users extract narratives about the relation between the data and their advocacy campaigns, the Amplification Project will create digital tools to translate narratives for a broad audience. Our partners at the Center for Collaborative Media will help circulate key findings through the New Jersey news media.
Winners of the Knight News Challenge will be notified in late September, but until then please go to the PINFO Knight News Challenge site to view our contest submission, reblog it and comment on it. The Amplification Project and our partners are excited about PINFO, as it will help resolve two key dilemmas: 1) non-profits and advocacy groups lack the capacity to dig through various data sites to find useful data, and 2) New Jersey’s open record laws are ineffective in fostering information-gathering. By addressing these issues, PINFO will strengthen policy debates in our state by increasing access to data-backed advocacy and policy research.