CSL grad student Colin Rhinesmith wins best paper at 2011 CIRN Conference
GSLIS doctoral student Colin Rhinesmith recently won the Best Paper award at the 2011 CIRN Conference for his paper that proposed a methodology for evaluating the success of training citizen journalists. Rhinesmith's adviser, Christian Sandvig, is a professor in the Coordinated Science Laboratory.
His paper, titled, “"Measuring the Impact of Citizen Journalism: A Study of Community Newsrooms in North Champaign and East St. Louis, Illinois," was based on a participatory action research project that he had worked on with his Best Paper coauthors Adam Kehoe, a GSLIS doctoral student, and Martin Wolske, a GSLIS Senior Research Scientist. The project was a collaboration with Illinois' Department of Journalism.
Last year Wolske began working with Brant Houston, who teaches investigative and advanced reporting in the department of journalism, and Pam Dempsey, who works for C-U Citizen Access, and began considering the uses of citizen journalism. During the summer, they held an 8-week workshop called “Community Informatics Studio: The Community Media Newsroom,” in which they worked on applying everything in the field of citizen journalism. According to the official GSLIS website, participants in the workshop worked with pilot sites in Champaign, Illinois and East St. Louis “to help integrate community media and citizen journalism concepts and programming within established public computing collaborative spaces.”
At the end of the workshop, it was Rhinesmith job to assess the results. He interviewed both students and community participants involved in the project to help measure the impact of the workshop.
Kehoe said it was then his job to convert ideas that had been formed about the project into hypotheses. He also focused on developing quantitative models out of this kind of research. The group put their heads together to write their paper about the methodologies that can be used to measure the impact of community media newsrooms.
Rhinesmith and Kehoe attended the CIRN Conference that took place from Nov. 9 through Nov. 11 in Prato, Italy. Wolske said a total of 33 papers were submitted and that the conference was extremely international. “We were one of the few from the United States,” he said.
The winners were officially announced at a banquet held toward the end of the conference; however Kehoe was casually told beforehand that he had won the Best Paper award.
After the shock wore off, Rhinesmith said that “it was a real honor, total amazement. I was, like, wow.” He said about working on the paper: “I think that one of the things that was really great was this collaboration.”
Kehoe added, “The dialogue we had together was really enlightening. I think that was an asset.”