Contributing to Joey Coleman's crowd-funding campaign will enable all of us to be better informed about our city.
By Dan Jelly
Published November 08, 2012
Joey Coleman is a proud Hamiltonian who has been reporting on local stories for the past two years. He started his career at Maclean's magazine in 2007, and has reported for the Globe and Mail and several other newspapers. He has become Hamilton's 24-7 Live Local Journalist.
In spite of Hamilton's number of established corporate media outlets, he is frequently the only reporter covering important stories, often because they happen outside of a reporter's normal working hours.
As an independent journalist, Joey doesn't answer to an assignment editor, he doesn't punch a clock, and he doesn't need to worry about whether a story will anger his publisher or step on the toes of his fellow reporters. In fact, Joey has often found himself in the position to both advise and critique other local media outlets, especially in the area of online reporting and use of social media.
Joey has taken full advantage of leading edge of social media, adopting new technology faster than large media outlets are able to. He brings not just an ability to report the news, but the skill to present it in interesting and meaningful ways online at no cost to the reader.
Joey's local social media presence has allowed him to develop a sizable following. Because he is well known to community, Hamiltonians know they can contact him to ask about or report fires, accidents, police activity and local stories.
It's not uncommon for Joey to report crowd-sourced news, including citizen-submitted photos and videos, to a greater audience. As a media outlet, Joey is the most accessible in town, and can quickly react to and report on what the public is talking about across Hamilton.
Joey has acted as an advocate for the public at City Hall, pushing for greater accountability and transparency, the timely posting of meeting agendas and minutes, and adoption of open data.
He has also worked with the City to adopt a comprehensive, modern media policy that accommodates both professional and citizen journalists at public meetings. Joey continues to report on the City's lack of an adequate web presence, the HSR's refusal to adopt open data, and the City's lack of a proper lobbyist registry, among other stories.
Joey has also been a community leader in the promotion and demonstration of Open Data. He is a project lead at Open Hamilton, and helped organize Random Hacks of Kindness. He has delivered several workshops on the various free and open technologies available for anyone to develop their own projects.
Joey is also involved in giving back to the community. He volunteers with the Boys and Girls Clubs, is a speaker for the United Way, mentors youth in foster care, and numerous other community activities. He has not forgotten where he came from. He is a true Hamilton success story.
Joey is in the final days of his fundraising campaign to introduce the next level of live, local reporting. He hopes to acquire the technology to be able to stream every single public meeting at City Hall, something the City itself has been unable to accomplish in spite of the streaming technology they introduced in 2010.
With this technology, Joey will be able to produce live-to-web video any time of day, from anywhere in the City. In short, he's going to accomplish what it will likely take corporate news outlets several more years to do.
Joey believes in open data, open government, open source, and is the first journalist in Canada to practice open journalism. All of his work is covered by Creative Commons permissive use license. He invites us to use his work to build a better Hamilton.
Contributing to his crowd-funding campaign will enable all of us to be better informed. His livestreams can be viewed right here on Raise the Hammer.
Joey provided the first livestreams of City Council in 2010 and 2011. Without his livestreams, its unlikely the City would be streaming today. The City uses a closed, proprietary technology - Silverlight - to provide their livestreaming, ensuring that few can watch the meetings.
When Joey's campaign is successful, he'll be streaming the meetings using open technology. Everyone, including people using mobile devices, will be able to watch Council live. Not only that, but Joey also posts all his video online for us to review afterwards.
Joey was the first to call out the "Accountability and Transparency" sub-committee for being neither transparent or accountable. He helped mobilize us when the "Accountability and Transparency" sub-committee passed a gag bylaw to stifle citizens critical of Council.
When Council tried to withhold their agendas from the public, Joey forced Council to release their agendas more than 48 hours before meetings. The Hamilton Spectator acknowledged Joey's work making City Hall more accountable during the gag bylaw fiasco.
Joey doesn't stop innovating. His campaign includes a plan to offer a smartphone app for audio streaming of Council meetings. Council meets at 5pm and an audio stream will allow us to listen in to Council during our commute or whatever we're doing.
Contributing to Joey's crowd-funding campaign is a best possible investment in transparency.
Joey has set up an online campaign at Indiegogo. To date, he has raised just over $6200 of his $10,000 goal. He needs to achieve this goal by midnight on November 11, 2012. Joey has set up a tiered contribution system, inviting supporters to donate at levels of $8, $16, $32, $64, $96, $128, $256 levels, with contributor rewards that increase in value with each subsequent level.
See the page for details: http://www.indiegogo.com/hamiltonnews
Contributions at even the $16 and $32 levels are important, because it demonstrates the community's support for live, independent local journalism. It says people are willing to fund high quality journalism and makes Hamilton the first city in Canada to have an open journalism news outlet.
We can count on Joey to help inform us, now it's time for us to help him.
The deadline to contribute is Sunday, let's make this happen for Joey and for all of us.
Thanks for contributing, and best of luck to Joey Coleman!
I have gotten to know Joey Coleman over the past couple of years and consider him a friend. That said, I'm supporting Joey because I want to see this initiative succeed because it will help bring more information to more people, and ensure that City Hall and other city agencies are properly covered. Other local news corporations have hired out-of-towners to cover Hamilton, and while they may have the same skills, they don't have the same skin in the game. It's just their job, not their life.
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