WeCott, an online platform to act on journalism

WeCott is a tool for investigative journalists to engage with users in creating a civic movement around investigative stories. The original prototype was built by Amy Zhang and friends during the iCorruption hackathon. They envisioned a platform of communities where people could participate in boycotts together – offering advice on alternatives, uploading photos of their boycott, and otherwise supporting each other.

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We (Amy, Wahyu, Alicia, Giovana and Anna) updated the idea in order that WeCott could serve to engage readers based on solid evidences and compelling stories produced by investigative journalists. They could engage not only in boycott, but also buycott or even “vericott” where we ask users to verify a story in their nearest community/neighborhood.

The objective is also allow the participants to offer advice on alternatives, uploading photos of their boycott or buycott or vericott, and otherwise supporting each other. Not only would this make the process more fun and supportive, it also allows people and companies to see the effects of the movement all in one place.

The nail salon exposé published by The New York Times this week is one of the best examples of stories that could generate this kind of engagement. After the first part being published, hundreds of readers wrote to NYTimes asking what they could do, as customers, to help solving the problem. We believe that a tool as WeCott could be perfect to offer some options. For example, people could contribute to create a map pointing salons with bad practices, but also those who develop good practices.

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One thought on “WeCott, an online platform to act on journalism

  1. I think the example of linking boycotts to the nail salon example is a lovely way to introduce the WeCott idea. People can predict how much money they’d likely spend on manicures, and those amounts can add up very quickly. As we discussed in class, the boycotts seem to work better conceptually when you can provide alternatives, as you’ve presented in linking to the stories that look for ethical nail salons in NYC. I thought the combination of the tool and campaigns worked well, but would have liked an original story and campaign rather than one building on existing stories.

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