CNN, Amanpour and Debategraph

As you may have spotted already, the collaboration between Amanpour and Debategraph launched on CNN last night, with Christiane’s new live global program featuring interviews with the Secretary General of Nato and the Prime Minister of Spain.

If you missed lat night’s episode, it’s available via Podcast here.

Debategraph’s working with Amanpour’s production team and viewers to create debate maps around the interviews and global issues addressed in the programs – and to provide a forum for non-linear, interactive and cumulative debate to complement the program’s thought-provoking analysis and interviews with the global leaders confronting those issues.

Christiane’s aims for the program “to offer multiple perspectives… and serve as the hub for a global community of inquiring minds, hungry for a more daring perspective and a strong, clear, thoughtful take on international stories” emphasize the resonance between our mutual approaches and the reason why Peter and I are delighted to be collaborating with Amanpour’s New York based production team.

 art_amanpour_cnn


“I want this show to stir the global conscience. I have witnessed so much that it’s time to start making real sense of it all”


 
The program airs on Monday to Thursday at 2100 CET, with a round-up of the best of the week on Fridays on CNN International and Sundays on CNN in the United States – and tonight’s show features interviews with Tony Blair, Terje Roed-Larsen (UN Middle East Envoy), Dan Meridor (Israeli Intelligence Minister), and Saeb Erakat (Chief Palestinian Negotiator).

In conjunction with the launch of program, Peter and I have released a new interface for Debategraph (which will also feature  in the forthcoming WAVE climate change project for the European Commission). More on both later — but for now here’s a quick video introduction to the new Debategraph Stream interface:

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What should Obama do Next? The Independent series launches…

In the build up to Obama’s inauguration on 20th January 2009, The Independent and Debategraph have teamed up to give the world a chance to map and explore what Obama should do next. Click here for the map.

Over the next 10 weeks, Independent readers and the Debategraph team will develop a series of interrelated debate maps of the key policy and political questions facing Obama as he prepares for office.

Whether it’s tackling the global financial crisis, deciding who to appoint to key cabinet posts, or determining how to proceed on climate change, Iraq or the crisis in the Congo, you are welcome to join us in building comprehensive maps of the political choices open to Obama, the arguments for and against the different options, and the path you think Obama should follow.

Each week, we’ll be seeding the maps with an article from The Independent or The Independent on Sunday and beginning to layer in the positions and arguments from the Obama team’s published agenda and public statements.

You can watch the maps evolve in the build up to the inauguration, or better still register and begin to comment, suggest new issues, rate the options and arguments, and add new options and arguments of your own.

I’ll describe the process in more detail over the coming weeks, but for now we have seeded the opening map on The Independent’s website with the arguments from Philip Bobbitt’s article The flag-waving is over. This is how the president can change the world (examining some of the international policy options open to Obama), and Leonard Doyle’s Obama Starts to Build a ‘Team of Rivals’ (considering whether Obama should appoint Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State).

Public Service Broadcasters in the Digital Age

Two quick reminders for anyone thinking about the reformation of public service broadcasting in the UK:

(1) The closing date for responding to Phase 1 of Ofcom’s PSB Review is Thursday 19th June. You can read further details here and here about the Review which was launched in April by Ofcom’s Chief Executive Ed Richards.

Ofcom and Tom Loosemore, in particular, are to be congratulated for bringing the consultation process into the blogosphere, and for experimenting with the CommentOnThis / CommentPress approach to allow readers to comment directly on each paragraph in the PSB Review’s interactive Executive Summary.

I love the simplicity of the CommentOnThis and CommentPress approach, which is clearly motivated by similar urge to transparency and read/write participation as Debategraph.

The document-centric approach of CommentOnThis / CommentPress also makes it comparatively simple to enable public participation once the initial time, energy and resources has been expended on creating the original consultation documents.

Debategraph takes a more radical, subject-oriented approach to the same challenge, which if followed to its logical conclusion could (we think) significantly reduce the overall time spent by the consulting body and its stakeholders on the consultation process.

Instead of creating a long consultation document at the outset, the consultation team could start building a public debate map of the consultation issues, and invite the stakeholders to join them in this process—decomposing the subject matter into the individual issue, positions, arguments, evidence and scenarios, and allowing the stakeholders as well as the consultation team to edit, rate, challenge or support the individual arguments.

To give a sense of how this process might work I have produced a seed map of some of the arguments live Ofcom’s interactive summary executive summary (below).

As each element on the map is also its own wiki-page it’s easy to layer in longer commentaries (up to 50,000 words), images, tables, and charts etc as the map builds towards maturity. And as the core, hierarchical structure of the map is similar to the hierarchical outline of a standard report, it’s relatively straightforward at the end of the consultation period to automatically generate the basis of a final report directly from map—with the a key difference being that everyone’s contributions are already represented in the report.

In this way, rather than having multiple people create multiple documents that redundantly repeat many of the same arguments (each of which has to be written and read multiple times), everyone can focus collaboratively and directly on the issues at hand and ensure that all pertinent considerations and all voices are represented fairly on the map. Visualising and exploring the issues and arguments in this way also enhances transparency and trust in the consultation process and helps to ensure that every issues is surfaced and addressed comprehensively.

As well as potentially reducing the cycle time of the consultation process, the debate map could save further time and resources when the next consultation round on the topic begins; as many of the relevant arguments will already be in place on the map and will not need to be recreated from scratch. Indeed, once created, the debate map can be updated over time by the different stakeholders as new arguments, evidence and scenarios emerge; providing a continuously evolving view of the subject; so that when the next formal consultation process begins the majority of the thinking and work involved may have been accomplished on the map already.

(2) The second PSB reminder is that TechCrunch and the BBC are holding a debate at Broadcasting House on 25th June to discuss the issues around the BBC’s assets and technology prompted by the debates here and here.

The debate will be chaired by Steve Bowbrick, with an impressive list of speakers:

* Tony Ageh, BBC New Media controller of internet.

* James Cridland, Head of Future Media & Technology for BBC Audio & Music Interactive.

* Jem Stone, Portfolio Executive, BBC new media.

* Azeem Azhar, startups angel investor, ex-BBC, proposer of the BBC Public License.

* Mike Butcher, Editor, TechCrunch UK.

Web startups and developers are encouraged to attend, with tickets available here. And for anyone interested in exploring the debate in detail in advance or afterwards I have seeded a debate map here:

News Junkie, Cold Turkey

Ceased to be?

Rachel Carson or Monty Python?

Dead or merely resting?*

While the blogosphere ponders the implications of Twitter’s latest Silent Spring, it has been nervous week for twitchers everywhere.

While “Twitter’s down” is starting to develop the inane and comic familiarity of a catchphrase, “Amazon’s down” sounds like a global cataclysm.

No Flow...

Still, there’s always the TV News, isn’t there?

Being wired’s no fun when there’s nothing coming down the wires—and while the absence of Twitter, Amazon, and the TV news might be survivable, I’m not sure that my nervous system could cope with this:

No news is frankly disturbing...

Thank heavens for Dave Winer’s News Junk….

*Resting (and expecting big things to follow).