Journalist Incident Reporting Tool

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Project Title:

Journalist Incident Reporting Tool

Presentation Videos

Associated Presentation Material

Project Participants:

Gary Goldman, Taylor Corbett, Jenn Henrichsen, Andrés Correa, Geoffrey King, Annie Wilkinson, Bryan Nunez, Elia Baltazar, Michael Dwyer

Project Presenter:

Michael, Gary and Annie.

Group Number:


Problem Set Format

Problem sets and solutions provide a method that details everything you need to get support to a critical problem to which an NGO or a grassroots organization faces.

Summary of the Problem

This is a description of the problem situation. What kind of people mission better if this problem is solved?

  • Violence against journalists often creates a culture of self-censorship, journalists may choose not to report on particular issues, organizations or people, or may not visit certain places for reporting.
  • There are a wide range of national and international journalist support organizations who collect information about different kinds of violence against journalists. Many of these organizations collect information independently and without coordination, according to different data standards, and according to their own organizational priorities. They do so through a range of formal and informal networks and regular review of media reports. National level journalist support organizations share information with international support organizations, but often in an ad hoc or non-systematic way.
  • Journalists in the field may or may not know how to contact national or international level journalism support organizations to report incidents. Even when they make reports they may provide only partial information that makes it harder for journalist support organizations to verify or prioritize cases.
  • If journalists cannot quickly report incidents for themselves or others because they don’t know how (or are concerned about lack of security of comms) they may lose motivation to report cases. This may lead to journalists being attacked with no redress.

Summary of the Proposed Solution

This should provide an outline of the basic need that would solve the above problem.

  • ACCESSIBILITY: The incident reporting tool needs to be easily accessible to journalists in remote locations. Other barriers to entry should be low, eg preferably should not involve hard to use tools; any app or other download required should be quick and simple. Many journalists carry mobile phones and mobile networks are more widespread than other communications, and so a mobile + web solution is desirable.
  • SECURITY: The tool should allow journalists to report information securely where that is important. Some situations may not require secure reporting, but many will.
  • DATA: The tool should facilitate journalists reporting sufficient core data to allow quick or effective follow-up. In addition to text data, the tool should allow photos and other media files to be uploaded so that they form part of the report and so that those files can be deleted from local devices. The data collection will be based on a data standard agreed by participating journalist support orgs.
  • DATABASE: The reports with associated files will be stored securely. The database will be common resource for different journalist support organizations, but with limited access.
  • ALERTS: The system will send an alert to relevant national and international organizations based on data in the report and preferences of support organizations.
  • VISUALIZATION: The database could allow visualization or other presentation of reports. The data collection standard will include geo-data (where possible).
  • PHASED APPROACH: Get a simple tool out there, while working on a more systematic solution.

Technology to Solve the Problem

Areas of technology that you believe have the potential to solve this problem? (eg mobile devices, social networks, geospatial technology, etc.). As the proposed solution could be used?

Mobile Martus Android and Desktop app. Data can be easily exported to be used in other visualization platforms. Language localization (currently 9 languages, could be expanded)

Existing solutions or relevant links

What other information could help technologists working on this idea?

  • There are a range of organizations collecting this data, they have greater or lesser technical focus, but some could advise on the data they need, modifications to data standards, and other features. Eg CPJ, IFJ, RSF, ICRC etc.
  • Human rights organizations that focus on other thematic areas that have experience in data collection and incident reporting may have useful input.

Follow-on Actions

Once a potential solution has been developed, what is your plan of action to implement it? Should arise as a series of steps and goals, preferably together with actions assigned to a specific group of people.

  • Work with the UN Action Plan organizations so that this system can be integrated into that work.
  • Work with international and national journalist support organizations to publicize the tool within their networks.
  • Work with media development and security training organizations to publicize the tool and use it as part of their training plans.
  • Work with larger media organizations in target countries to make the tools known/available to their employees.
  • Seeks funds/support from donors/foundations for further development.