4 min

Network News in a Box - 2007

Reading through this Toledo Talk post from October 2007 titled Reporting on the San Diego County fires, saw this section Network News in a Box and found this unused open, wiki https://newsinabox.jottit.com/. That wiki's home page was munged, but it was easily reverted back to a former, valid state. Now saving some of those page here. It was interesting info in the fall of 2007.


Network News in a Box

Creating a free grassroots news collection/distribution tool in response to breaking news events

Creating an Instant Grassroots Driven Network

(Wiki site created by Gabe Wachob )

What is this

This site is to document the tools and process used to create the sandiegofire twitter account. The next time there is a large scale breaking news event for which eyewitness and other reports are not otherwise easily consolidated, the mechanism discussed here could be deployed within minutes. Twitter could be a instant news channel for eyewitness reports and other important info.

What was built for the San Diego Fires twitter?

1) Chris Messina suggested that various tweeters giving first hand accounts or other info use the "hashtag" #sandiegofire. This would allow users to "track #sandiegofire" and be given realtime SMS or XMPP IMs for these updates. Several tweeters such as Nate Ritter began tweeting very heavily using this tag.

2) Numist, on the freenode IRC network, created a twitter/XMPP -> IRC bot for those in the #sandiegofire IRC channel to get consolidated updates - he added both #sandiegofire hashtag track feed as well as certain other tweeters, such as KPBS that did not use the hashtag.

3) Gabe Wachob asked if there was a URL on the web that non-techie people could be sent for seeing the consolidated list of tweets. After a brief discussion with Blaine Cook @ Twitter, it was decided that the IRC bot simply post the consolidated tweets to a newer Twitter account

Source code and Schematics

Other Uses

Architecture Diagram

This diagram is in ascii art so it is editable in the wiki! Do not delete this line.

      TWITTER FEEDS                            NEWS BOT                 OUTPUT STREAMS
      +-----------------------+                (called p5py)
      |                       |
      |  <a href="/cgi-bin/junco.pl/tag/sandiegofire">#sandiegofire</a> track  |
      |                       |
      +-----------------------+                +-----------+         \  +-----------------------------+
                                               |           |     XMPP \ |                             |
                                               |           +-----------&gt;|  twitter.com/sandiegofire  |
      +-----------------------+            \   |           |          / |                             |
      |                       |   XMPP      \  |   News    |         /  +-----------------------------+
      |  KPBS Feed            |  ------------&gt; |    Bot    |
      |                       |             /  |           |
      +-----------------------+            /   |           |         \  +-----------------------------+
                                               |           |     IRC  \ |                             |
                                               |           +-----------&gt;|    freenode/#sandiegofire   |
      +-----------------------+                |           |          / |                             |
      |                       |                +-----------+         /  +-----------------------------+
      |  Other Feeds          |
      |                       |

Aggregated Citizen News Network (ACNN)


  • centralized domain name
  • subdomains used for new disasters, locations, etc (need to standardize)
  • design accompanies mainstream media sources (streaming video, audio, feeds), as well as a standardized method of streaming our own types of content
  • process of organizing task-force teams should be documented including how to grant access to publish
  • build a first rev quickly, possibly using tools like Deki Wiki from MindTouch


What we need:

Strictly speaking, the needs reflect what it takes to create a web site which would enable citizen journalists, programmers, and others to publish media quickly and easily during crisis periods

  • Needed to create this site:
    • system administrators
    • web hosts with major bandwidth (what about load balancing?)
    • designers and usability experts
    • programmers
  • People who will be involved (ie, "users" or the citizen journalists):
    • graphic designers
    • videographers
    • podcasters
    • google maps mashup experts (gmaps is very cumbersome, perhaps a realtime flash app with layered vector diagrams updated to the minute with zoom-capability? [taylor])
    • writers
    • photographers
    • programmers (doesn't matter the expertise, it would be used)

What we have:


Please add your name, email, and what you can provide to the bottom of this list

  • Nate Ritter, nate [at] perfectspace [dot] com
    • hosting
    • domain names
    • PHP/MySql
    • project management, process flow
  • Lee Fuhr, lee [at] gmail [dot] com
    • interaction design
    • some graphic design
    • thinking :)
  • Tola Oguntoyinbo, tola [at] sonecast [dot] net
    • strategy, process
  • Derek Payton, derek [dot] payton [at] gmail [dot] com
    • Python (Django), PHP, MySQL, SQLite
    • Hosting (can maybe get a good deal on a dedicated w/ static IP through work)
    • Server Admin. Experience (Debian/Debian-based (Ubuntu) distro's)
    • LightTPD Experience
  • Taylor Neilson, tneilson [at] cstv [dot] com / taylor [at] e-nlight [dot] us / FireStormSD [dot] com
    • stradegy, infrastructure, cisco programming, systems administration, high-bandwidth models, load-balancing, high-storage management SAN, project management, 7 years experience.
    • currently has several dedicated servers & 100mbit/10mbit pipes with terabytes of storage.
    • Macromedia Flash+Actionscript 5 years
    • Photoshop/Graphic Design 7 years
    • Web interface incl. apps/graphics/programming
    • HTML, CSS, XHTML, w3C Standardization, FlashComm, PHP, ASP, Javascript, BASH Scripting, TCL, 3D Modeling, C+, UI, AI, Mobile data, etc..

#forums - #wiki - #socialmedia - #media - #government - #blog_jr

By JR - 807 words
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