Articles by

John Keefe

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    John Keefe is senior editor for data news at WNYC and one of the Knight Foundation-funded Innovators in Residence at the West Virginia University Reed College of Media. Photo: Don Blair building Riffle water sensors at MIT. Photo by John Keefe. In a classroom uphill from the Monongahela River, we are doing sensor journalism all wrong. We’re using untested, inaccurate water-sensing devices, we don’t have a solid story to pursue and we probably will fail. All of that is part of the plan. Throughout this semester, 14 students and four instructors will learn from those failures and discoveries as we run a live experiment of journalism, technology and water studies at the Reed College of Media at West Virginia University. It’s a class called “StreamLab,” and as we go along, we hope to inform the practice of sensor journalism and also citizen science. The class is the third of its kind at the Reed College of Media and part of their Innovator-in-Residence program, which brings industry professionals into the classroom to lead a journalism experiment. Recent support from Knight Foundation expands the program over the next two years to embed two innovators per class to widen the network of collaboration and, we hope, accelerate problem-solving for our respective newsrooms and communities. Earlier projects involved The Wall Street Journal’s Sarah Slobin, who worked with faculty and students on a reporting project for mobile-first delivery, and Derek Willis of The New York Times, who worked with investigative reporting and interactive design students on a data-driven elections reporting project.