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Texting the News

Erik Hersman Discusses Crowd-Sourced Reporting

— December 27, 2011 — Keynote Trends
In this speech, blogger Erik Hersman examines the power of text-message reporting. He retells the story of Ushahidi, a successful project that allowed Kenyan citizens to track and report violence using cell phones. The project, which was enforced following the 2008 elections, has since been implemented in other countries with positive results.

The groundbreaking idea involves tracking violence through text messaging. Violence is tracked and marked on Google maps, ultimately saving lives and keeping citizens safe. The project, started by a team of African developers, urges innovation in underdeveloped as well as developed countries. The tech-savy project was cultivated in Africa and then expanded further around the world.

Erik Hersman aims to give everyday people the power to contribute to journalism and the media. He talks about the multitude of information we are greeted with on a daily basis and states that it is easier to report then to consume. It can often be difficult to dissect large amounts of data, often needing to distinguish more important data from irrelevant information. Hersman urges the media not to waste crisis data but to instead apply crowd-sourcing filters, which work to put emphasis on crucial need-to-know data.