Turning the Microscope on Localore's Collaborative DNA

Notch"It's all about the stance and style," Ignacio Gonzales told reporter Charla Bear.

Known to friends as "Notch," he builds hot rods for his shop, Top Notch Kustoms, and tiki bars on the side. Localore producers the Kitchen Sisters gleaned the best bits from Bear's interview with Gonzales for their project The Making Of... and worked with Bay Area illustrator Wendy MacNaughton to capture them visually. Then, they connected with Cowbird—an image-focused storytelling site built by digital artist Jonathan Harris—to post the finished product: a one-two storytelling punch.

This one experiment reflects the larger collaborative ethos that spans the Localore projects. Not only are the initiative's producers leading multimedia teams that include station staff, designers, developers, field producers and others—they're working hand-in-hand with other journalism and storytelling innovators to kick the tires on emerging tools.

The dynamic is most apparent in the collaboration between eight of the ten projects and interactive storytelling team Zeega. The recipient of a Knight News Challenge grant, Zeega emerged from AIR's MQ2 initiative, and is co-producing participatory and immersive sites such as Austin Music MapCurious City, and Planet Takeout with the Localore producer-station teams. The Kitchen Sisters are working with Zeega to refine and deepen their project site (more on that soon), and in the coming weeks, Zeega-powered sites will launch for Black Gold Boom, iSeeChange, Sonic Trace and Reinvention.

Social audio platform SoundCloud has also become a hub for not only distribution, but creative curation of Localore pieces. Check out the story map that the Hear Here producers Erica Mu and Audrey Dilling have built with SoundCloud Labs to show how their project at KALW is bridging the Bay.

curious city comicLocalore producers such as Jennifer Brandel and her Curious City team at WBEZ have been actively experimenting with other tools—such as Timeline, developed for the Knight News Innovation Lab at Northwestern, and ThingLink, which allows makers to embed social content into images. Try out the interactive comic that the Illustrated Press created with Curious City using ThingLink, which explores the shifting boundaries of Chicago neighborhoods.

The producers are acting as catalysts and connectors at their incubator stations—road-testing rising methods for interacting with communities, and building links between the stations and the broader sphere of news innovation. Check back for more examples of Localore invention in action.