News Mixer: Making Commenting More Civil

In Fall Quarter of 2008, six Medill students in a class I co-directed with Rich Gordon built a prototype for new ways of commenting on news stories called News Mixer. Working with the Cedar Rapids Gazette, a newspaper in eastern Iowa, the team spent 11 weeks conceiving, designing and building open source tools to improve online dialogue.

The final product was built in the open-source web framework Django, uses Facebook Connect for registration and is available on Google Code for your use. The project went on to win an award from AEJMC’s 2008 Best of the Web and be a finalist for a 2008 ONA award. The two journalists-coders, Brian Boyer and Ryan Mark have gone on to found the Chicago Tribune’s News Application Team.


As Deputy Editor, Digital for the National Geographic Society, Jeremy oversees editorial, missions-based and advertising storytelling on National Geographic's digital platforms. Before coming to the Society he was an associate professor teaching media product design, interactive storytelling, web and print design tools and techniques for Medill and the Segal Institute of Design at Northwestern University. He also served in the Medill administration as the Director of Technology and Space Design. Previously Jeremy led The Poynter Institute in rethinking and redesigning its industry leading website and served as an art director at a couple of newspapers.

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