Occupy Chicago: Curating a Story over Time and Space

Curator's Note

 View the interactive timeline after you watch the video. As a journalism educator at Columbia College Chicago, I find myself exploring the idea of journalism as curation. The Occupy Movement, particularly, Occupy Chicago, seemed like a great place to start exploring  a story that was unfolding in space and across time, in a way that traditional media couldn't fit into its short episodic format. 

My undergraduates in Mobile Journalism began taking photos and geotagging them on Panaramio. They did some spot reporting on Occupy Chicago via smartphones and mobile blogs. The initial aim was to capture photos with brief stories, and to populate a map of the area near the Federal Reserve Bank and the Board of Trade building with images of Occupy Chicago unfolding over time. We discovered typical geotags didn't have enough precision to actually place individual images on site with precision, but we could make galleries in Panaramio that put them near where they were taken. Geotag coordinates are scaled for automobile more than for pedestrians. 

The timeline tool was better suited to the pacing of Occupy Chicago. With time, it was natural to connect with events outside of Chicago, and these fit on our timeline. Our posts consist of photos, links to blog posts, videos, links to tweets for #occupychicago, and more. On #N17, reporter Lindsey Romain used storify.com to add voices from outside Chicago. On 12/1/11, we officially ended our curating, and students added summaries or predictions for the future of the Occupy Movement. The tweetstream will continue as long as anyone uses the hashtag.

The story of Occupy isn't over. Will the timeline have value when we look at it next year? Did we manage to tell a story within this framework? Reporters are still learning to work with "user-generated content" and how to use and attribute it in their reporting. Non-linear narratives are effective learning environments for the creators. How well they inform viewer/users is still an open question. 






Add new comment

Log in or register to add a comment.