I recently spent a week in Washington, D.C., hanging out and learning from lots of smart journalists and Web geeks. I’m still trying to process everything I saw and heard, but here are some efforts that inspired me:

  • Knight-Batten Award winners JDLand.com and Ushahidi.com each demonstrate in different ways how powerful community journalism can be and how technology can be harnessed to tell stories. JDLand.com is the effort of one woman, who has a separate full-time job, to chronicle the changes going on in one D.C. neighborhood. Ushahidi.com, on the other hand, provides the tools for people in the midst of a crisis to report what is going on around them.
     
  • NowPublic.com takes stories reported by people around the world and gives them a place to grow, change and reach a wider audience. I’m fascinated by the idea that the original story, whether it’s a few paragraphs or a long-form narrative, is just the beginning. People who read it take time to add their own observations, links to traditional news coverage, photos, videos, ratings and comments to create something that becomes more meaningful over time.
     
  • Similar to NowPublic.com and also recognized by the Knight-Batten Awards, CNN’s iReport allows people around the world to tell stories, using their own definitions of what makes news. It’s encouraging to see a mainstream media outlet taking these stories seriously and using them to inform their professional reporting.