This website is an initiative of J-Lab.

Who's Blogging

Karyn Lu

KARYN LU works in the Design Experience Group at, and is the User Experience Lead on, CNN's citizen news initiative. She is passionate about creating a great user experience across multiple disciplines and platforms.

Lila King

LILA KING is an online media producer living in Atlanta. She's pretty sure everyone's story is fascinating if you listen well enough. Echo is all ears.

Click for full bios.

Project Blog: Echo

This public art and civic journalism project will produce and collect stories tied to physical locations throughout Atlanta. Signs with Echo phone number and location ID will invite pedestrians and cyclists to access a story about that site via cell phone, podcast or the Web. When a space becomes inscribed with cultural or personal stories, it transforms into a place of significance, said project leaders Lila King and Karyn Lu, movers behind CNNs user-generated site Follow their progress here. Visit their website.

Big weekend

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Team Echo spent the weekend in New York City, where we met up with our designer and developer in a picturesque start-up-y setting: a giant, open, randomly furnitured office loft in Dumbo. (Thank you, News Groper, for lending a Saturday afternoon perch!)

We spent most of the day Saturday working out some tough questions from our developer Adam about the structure of the Echo database, and how the various pieces of data will flow between the web and phone systems. We also talked through the hierarchies of location data and organizational structures we need to give our stories. Like, what happens when themes begin to emerge among stories and across neighborhoods?  We’ll want to add in some new categories and connectors for, say, a civil war bike tour or a map of tales involving barbeque, on the fly without having to rework the database.

Basically we need to balance the competing needs of an organic, user-generated system with some bigger, flexible principles that will bind the pieces together in some meaningful way. Nothing bigger than the problems the great minds who built the Web in first place are still trying to solve, right? No wonder we wrestled so mightily through the afternoon.

We also got a peek at logo sketches from Ronnie, our designer, offered some direction on finishing them, and topped the evening off with a delicious dinner with the whole crew at a restaurant called, appropriately, Superfine. (Try the pork chop, it’s amazing.)

Sunday we spent mostly walking and talking through lower Manhattan, building lists of to-dos for the next two weeks (meet with our accountant, get wireframes to Ronnie and the first batch of stories and metadata to Adam) and feeling genuinely ecstatic that it’s really coming together.

   • Posted by Lila King on 10/22 at 09:55 AM