In fall of 2008, Team Crunchberry- six journalism students at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism – partnered with Gazette Communications in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to explore the broad idea of building better conversations around news. After four weeks of researching and defining our project, six weeks of designing & developing software, and two weeks polishing & presenting our work, we went live with our final product, News Mixer.

And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for – how we did it. Now available for download is our final report (80 pages – 2.7MB pdf file), which documents all 12 weeks of our research, design and development processes. We also provide our findings and recommendations for the journalism industry, as well as further development of News Mixer.

You might also be interested in this roundup of reactions to the News Mixer site, written by our professor, Rich Gordon.

This has been a very educational experience for us, and we hope this final report will help educate journalists, media organizations and journalism schools (in addition to bettering conversations around the news!). We would like to extend one last thank you to our partners at the Gazette, our industry experts, our research panel, and of course – you - our readers who helped us develop News Mixer. Thanks!

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4 comments until now

  1. Congratulations to you Joshua and the entire Newsmixer team, I’ll be reading your report with considerable interest! :-)

  2. Thanks Josh, for getting this report out, and thanks to the entire Crunchberry team for your inspired, creative and timely work.

    We look forward to making Newsmixer a key component as we make progress on creating C3 – Complete Community Connection.

    I hope to be blogging soon on how Newsmixer fits in with our overall technology structure.

    We have spent enough time on concepts, attitudes, tasks, organization and projects, 2009 is the year of great progress on using tools such as Newsmixer to engage and inform the numerous micro-communities of specific geography, affinity and relation that exist primarily within our service area and reach out well beyond it.

    Thanks for the partnership.


  3. This type of work is interesting and important. Long ago, the commission run by Robert Hutchins said… “Civilized society is a working system of ideas. It lives and changes by the consumption of ideas. Therefore it must make sure that as many as possible of the ideas which its members have are available for its examination. … ( On the other hand, the Hutchins report also said) … “…when the man who claims the moral right of free expression is a liar, a prostitute whose political judgments can be bought, a dishonest inflamer or hatred and suspicion, his claim is unwarranted and groundless. From the moral point of view, at least, freedom of expression does not include the right to lie as a deliberate instrument of policy.” Creating tools that allow experiments that will find the cyberspace version of “accurate, fair, contextual” debate in search of truth is a very cool idea. Perhaps you should contact the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the Online News Association and let them know about your work so you can get more papers to try it. Good luck.

  4. News Mixer is great and unique from many angles. Great job, guys, and thanks for open-sourcing it!

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