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Congratulations, Zeega!

a winner of the 2011 Knight News Challenge

The Berkman Center is pleased to share some terrific news from our metaLAB (at) Harvard colleagues: Zeega is a winner of the 2011 Knight News Challenge!

The full announcement from Zeega instigators Kara Oehler, Jesse Shapins, and James Burns can be found below.

Zeega is an open-source HTML5 platform for creating interactive documentaries. It's being developed at the recently founded metaLAB (at) Harvard, hosted by the Berkman Center. We're proud to have supported Mapping Main Street -- Kara, Jesse, and James's earlier collaboration, which inspired the development of Zeega -- and we're excited to be continuing to help via the metaLAB.

The Harvard Gazette has a story up with more background. Check it out, and the announcement below...

And congratulations, Kara, Jesse, James, and team!

(Not to mention all the other awesome 2011 Knight News Challenge winners...congrats!)


June 22, 2011

Dear Friends,

We are excited to announce that Zeega is a winner of the 2011 Knight News Challenge!

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight News Challenge is an international contest to fund digital news experiments that use technology to inform and engage communities.

So what is Zeega? It’s an open-source HTML5 platform for creating interactive documentaries. Zeega makes it easy to collaboratively produce, curate and publish participatory multimedia projects on web, tablet and mobile devices.

Zeega was founded in 2010 by journalist Kara Oehler, media artist Jesse Shapins, and creative technologist James Burns. We first started working together while developing Mapping Main Street, a collaborative documentary co-created with radio producer Ann Heppermann and funded through the Association of Independents in Radio’s MQ2 initiative and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

We built Mapping Main Street from scratch while also producing stories for NPR. But ultimately, to pull it off, Kara had to put her stuff in storage and live out of her car for the summer. Afterward, we decided people shouldn’t have to give up their homes to make collaborative documentaries. So, we’re creating Zeega.

Zeega will enable anyone to craft participatory documentary projects that combine original content with photos, videos, text, audio and maps via APIs from across the web. Our mission is not only to give voice to individuals, but to create a platform that empowers individuals to give voice to others.

Zeega is being developed into a mature and robust open source platform at the metaLAB (at) Harvard, a new hub for innovation in the arts, media and humanities at the Berkman Center, as well as at AIR, PRX, The Sensory Ethnography Lab and UnionDocs. Zeega is housed within the independent 501(c)3 non-profit Media And Place (MAP) Productions, created with the help of the Citizen Media Law Project. Our ultra-early alpha prototype has been tested with Sensate, a journal for experiments in critical media practice, as well in new media documentary courses such as The Mixed-Reality City and Media Archaeology of Place. Zeega is also being furthered with the support of the Harvard Library Lab through extraMUROS (a project in the Beta Sprint of the Digital Public Library of America), which provides new tools to browse and visualize media from repositories across the web.

With the Knight News Challenge grant, we will expand our experimental Zeega prototype to work on web, tablet and mobile devices. We will be starting a new audio and interactive documentary show, as well as partnering with AIR on their new MQ2-inspired initiative, a national hyperlocal storytelling project, and looking for other pilot partners starting in the fall. Stay tuned for an announcement on our website and join our list to sign up for updates and to become a beta tester: http://zeega.org/

- Kara, James, Jesse and the Zeega team

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