2018 Annual Report

Meedan designs and develops open source software, leads monitoring projects, produces assessment standards, and conducts trainings in support of global digital journalism, human rights media investigations, and digital media verification.

This Annual Report reflects the state of Meedan and its financial health. Meedan is a US registered, San Francisco based, 501(c) 3 non-profit organization established in 2006 that works on projects to support global journalism and cross-cultural education.

Graphic for verticals

1. CEO's Note

introduction

Note on the note: this writing was both human generated and authored two weeks before the release of the news on the non-release of the AINow text generator.

Friends of Meedan,

First, thanks for being the sort of friend of Meedan who makes their way to the deep corners of our online documentation and finds this year’s annual note. If it is your first time to visit an annual note, welcome to our creative meander through the year’s work.

We take a creative approach because the form itself is a bit starchy. This comes both in the expected formulation - breathless optimism overlaid on a ‘here is how we changed the world this year’ plot line, and in fact that as a CEO note, this is one person standing in to represent the work of a global, diverse, and increasingly complex organization.

Having Important Conversations

So, recognizing this challenge, we did a little daydreaming. Could we perhaps write software to programmatically generate the document? We have a corpora of previous years notes for training data, and in 2018, with the generous support of the AI fund, we brought bots into Check. The thinking was that we might just toss our g-docs (9,718) and travel receipts (653), Slack messages (144,661), tweets (too many), posts (not enough), emails (embarrassing, number withheld), conference talks (17), proposals (15) and board packets (4) into Check and set the AnnualNoteBot to work. We imagined the AI might generate a thoughtful, inspiring, and eloquent overview of the wonderful things that happened at Meedan during another arguably awful year for the planet and, particularly, for the digital surface of it that we have devoted our lives and this organization to improving.

Alas, our end of grant report to the AI Fund will not include any mention of the failed AnnualNoteBot, nor will this note include any algorithmically generated content.

Instead, it falls to me, with all my human biases deployed, to share with my assessment across the continuing story of this organization. Working on tools and programs supporting human rights investigators, election monitoring, and collaborative media annotation we have put our theory of change into motion with significant and award-winning results. In 2018 our team of 16 and our amazing organizational partners created: election media monitoring projects that pushed the boundaries of rigorous classification and creative memetic response to disinformation (Pop-Up Newsroom); structured data standards that generate machine readable signals from such work and might provide an early model for researching and defining standards that could help to bring a contextual layer of credibility signals to the web (CredCo); and, the open source software that keeps all of this work organized (Check).

In the past decade we have had some very successful programs, and certainly these have had impact on policy, spurred new technical approaches to collaborative translation and verification, and powered serious investigative journalism efforts, but in 2018 I think we actually helped change the world. In Mexico, the Verificado team from Animal Politicò, AJ+ Español, and more than 80 media partners had a significant impact on the quality of information flowing through FB, WhatsApp, Twitter, and the interwebs broadly during Mexico’s historic election. This week a Mexican citizen came to me in tears with his thanks for that project - that is impact. It was the beginning of us taking what had been very technical and assessment focused efforts and bridging those to visual, creative, memetic outputs. Verificado cracked the code on high impact collaborative journalism for election monitoring, and perhaps also serves as a point of hope and optimism against the backdrop of a very difficult year for journalism, democracy, and interweb idealism.

So, with that algorithimically identifiable upnote, on behalf of our 2018 team members - Tom, An, Karim, Caio, Noha, Sawy, Alex, Dani, Wafaa, Uva, Dima, Abdul Rehman, Nat, Dwight - and our great board - Jon, Hanan, Zeynep, Tim, Maria - and the many many partners, volunteers, funders, and fans - thanks for helping us keep this crazy dream of an organization going for another year.

Abrazos, Ed


Program Names

Check

Open source technology and programs supporting collaborative verification, election anti-misinformation, fact checking and investigations with partners across Latin America, North America, Europe, Africa, MENA, South and South East Asia.

Pop-Up Newsroom

Collaborative initiative co-design and training events (Verificado 2018, Riksdagsvalet 2018, Pop-Up Newsroom: India, Pop-Up Newsroom: Natural Disaster). Meedan does this work in collaboration with Dig Deeper

Credibility Coalition

Better standards for online content through rigorous research. Meedan does this work in collaboration with Hacks/Hackers.

Bridge

Open source infrastructure for humanitarian and crisis response translation.


Geographic areas served

  • Latin America
  • North America
  • Europe
  • MENA
  • East Africa
  • South Asia
  • South East Asia

Timeline

A timeline of the events that took place and Meedan participated at in 2018!

01
An Xiao Mina attended and presented on the Credibility Coalition at the Global Standards for News Organizations meeting

The Shorenstein Center at Harvard University

Ed Bice attended and presented on the Credibility Coalition working meetings for the Factful project in New York City hosted by the Open Society Foundation

NY City

02
Caio Almeida gave a talk about the software stack behind Check at Rubyfuza, a conference about the Ruby programming language

Cape Town, South Africa

03
Daniela Feitosa and Caio Almeida gave a talk about Check at the Chicas Poderosas event at Google Campus in São Paulo, Brazil. During a Hackathon at this event a Check project was used to verify information about candidates.

Later on, this same project evolved to be used during the actual elections in Brazil.

São Paulo, Brazil

Tom Trewinnard organized and led a workshop in Mexico City for 100 journalists from across Mexico, to lead training and co-design in collaborative verification and kick off Verificado 2018.

Mexico City

Wafaa Heikal led workshops at the Internet Freedom Festival in Valencia on verification and translation.

Valencia, Spain

04
Ed Bice, Tom Trewinnard and An Xiao Mina presented on their work at the International Journalism Festival.

Perugia, Italy

Caio Almeida joined a discussion in "Media Chat" event about fake news - where he presented Check.

Natal, Brazil

05
Meedan with the help of Arabic, French and Spanish volunteer translators translated RightsCon.

Toronto, Canada

Meedan team and partner meeting with friends from Syria Archive, Bad Idea Factory and Moderator

Toronto, Canada

06
Wafaa Heikal presented on Check at Global Fact V.

Rome, Italy

Caio Almeida gave a talk about Check at Campus Party.

Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

07
Ed Bice and Tom Trewinnard in the newsroom for the Verificado project.
Meedan hosted (W3C F2F Meeting) the first W3C Credible Web Comunity Group meeting, with representatives from Mozilla, Google, Facebook and Twitter present, along with core members via remote calls and in person.

San Francisco

Dev team joined the 18° Free Software Internacional Forum and gave two talks: "Microservices Architecture with Ruby On Rails and multiclients with React.js" and another about Check for users.
Caio Almeida gave a talk about Check at Campus Party.

Brasília, Brazil

Verificado beats out NYTimes and Guardian to win the inaugural OJA (Online Journalism Award) for Large Scale Collaborative Journalism Project .

Austin, TX

Tom Trewinnard led trainings and the usage of Check tool at Pop-Up Newsroom for the Sweden general election.

Stockholm, Sweden

Ed Bice presented Verificado and Connie Moon Sehat presented CredCo at TED Truth and Trust in New York.
10
Meedan led trainings in Check and verification best practices at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Caio Almeida gave a talk about Check at the Science and Technology National Week.

Governador Mangabeira, Brazil

Caio Almeida gave a talk about Check at the Computing Security Meetup.

Salvador, Brazil

With the Credibility Coalition, Meedan presented workshops at MisinfoCon.

London, UK

11
Pop-Up Newsroom-led Verificado 2018 wins WAN-IFRA LATAM award for Innovation in Engaging Young Audiences at WAN-IFRA LATAM Summit.

Bogota

Wafaa Heikal presented Bridge at Bread and Net.

Beirut, Lebanon

Tom Trewinnard and Fergus Bell led Pop-Up Newsroom workshops to co-design a collaboration around misinformation and the 2019 Indian elections.

Delhi, India

Members of Meedan's engineering, design and product teams converged for a team retreat and, with the Credibility Coalition, led workshops, presentations and hacking sessions at CredCon.

Austin, Texas

12
Caio Almeida joined a discussion about democracy and technology where he talked about Check for election monitoring.

Federal University of Bahia, Brazil

Dwight Knell presented on Pop-Up Newsroom at Rebuilding Trust In Information Ecosystems.

New York

2. In Numbers

in-numbers

Here are some important numbers that show how our year went:


Check

Check

Check combines smart checklists, workflow integrations, and intuitive design to make digital newsgathering an efficient and collaborative process. Invite your team and online community in a secure environment to work together to validate breaking news content. Then, quickly show the work to your audience on social media or your news site.


List of top things added to Check in 2018

  • Check localization to Spanish
  • Schema.org’s ClaimReview schema to extract structured data from articles.
  • Items and tasks assignments to users. Displaying progress of assignments per each team member to owners.
  • Items relationships and locking statuses.
  • Check bot for Slack workspaces.
  • Bot Garden to enable third party AIs/bots into workflows.
  • Users to delete their own accounts.
in-numbers
NPS
89
Net Promoter Score - the industry standard for measuring product quality (This is very good NPS score - go team!)
New Users
1409
Number of items created
16139
(This number may include some testing data)
Annotations
446,074
BOTs Created
3
Bot garden is now released and available, with 3 key bots: Keep, a tool for sending items to archive.org automatically Smooch, which receives data from Smooch, a tool for handling users submissions to and from the WhatsApp Business API Alegre, which automatically identifies the language of a received item, allowing the user to filter and sort by language.

Keep

Items archived
19156
Unique Items Archived
8479
Items archived and deleted
2664
Number of teams with Archive.is
36
Items archived on Archive.is
8644
Number of teams with Archive.org
36
(went up from 2 teams in 2107)
Items Archived on Archive.org
6290

Bridge

Bridge

Bridge helps communities translate, annotate, share, and source the most compelling global content on social media. Starting with a pilot with the National Geographic Society and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Paul Salopek’s Out of Eden Walk project, the product aims to support a team of translators with tools like glossaries and translation memories.

in-numbers
NPS
100
(NPS went up from 75 last year)
Translations requested
1067
This number may include testing data
Actual Translations Added
927
Average time to completed translation
~ 2 hours
Number of new users
46

Credibility Coalition

Credibility Coalition

Credibility Coalition is an interdisciplinary community committed to improving information ecosystems and media literacy through transparent and collaborative exploration.

Articles Annotated
5168
Annotations submitted
71802
annotations of hyper-partisan media using CredCo indicator set
Average time to annotating an article
~ 11 days

3. What are people saying

reviews

We are humbled by these quotes from our partners using Meedan’s tools in 2018.

Una herramienta para hacer verificaciones en equipo: es posible administrarlas, ver el estatus, no duplicar esfuerzos y en días de elección, por ejemplo, ayuda mucho a coordinar una redacción.

English

A tool for team verification: It’s possible to manage verification, see a status, not duplicate efforts on election days and, for example, coordinate a newsroom.

Daniela Méndez member of Verificado team on using Check covering the Mexican election

Check is easy to use and the learning curve isn’t difficult, it helps break down the way you verify and fact-check stories or claims.

Sean Ndlovu from Centre for Innovation & Technology on using Check covering Zimbabwe election

Press

Stories covering Meedan’s work in 2018.

For its part, the Meedan team in Brazil, made up of developers Daniela Feitosa and Caio Almeida, explained the use and operation of Check

A platform that allows the structuring the information for the fact-checking process and customizes it according to the needs of each team.

4. Financials

financials

We are pleased to share our financial report for 2018.


Revenue

financials
Contributions and Grants
$1,603,322
Program service revenue
$167,878
Other revenue
$21,989
Total revenue
$1,793,196

Expenditures

Total expenditures
$1,338,172