So, what happened to the Populous Project?

Daniel Bachhuber is seeking questions on his blog about the Populous Project. Writes he:

The Populous Project is (was?) an open source, student news content management system which received $275,000 from the Knight Foundation’s 2008 News Challenge. It was supposed to be the panacea for college media, solve all of our College Publisher woes, and offered everything but the kitchen sink. CoPress talked to Anthony and Dharmishta a few times in October 2008, was promised an alpha to play with later that fall, but the project shortly dropped completely off the radar.

What ever happened to the Populous Project, and the Knight Foundation’s smooth $275,000?

Questions I have about the project:

  1. What factors, specifically, contributed to the holdup in progression of the project? (e.g. lack of motivation, lack of pressure from the community, lack of powerful leadership)
  2. What happened to the money? (i.e. Did they spend it all? If so, on what. If not, what’s left?)
  3. How far did they get before they completely stopped? (e.g. is there anything open-sourceable that others can continue working on even if the original team is done?)
  4. Do they plan to continue at some point? If so, what resources do they need in order to continue and how will they ensure it doesn’t fall off the radar again? If not, what about the money?!
  5. What has their interaction with the Knight Foundation been like since they got the money? (e.g. Has there been any pressure from TKF to continue the project?)
  6. What advice do they have for other Knight applicants to ensure a similar situation doesn’t happen to anyone else?
  7. On a related note, what recommendations do they have for TKF to better monitor project progression after the money is granted?

I may have found my calling (someday)

Today while browsing GOOD Magazine, my attention was immediately captured by an ad for the Maryland Institute College of Art:

Yes, that’s right. A Master’s in Social Design program.

This is the first time a master’s program has intrigued me to the point of actually considering going back to grad school someday. The premise is exactly what I seek to achieve through entrepreneurship (social good), but with a focus on my other passion– design. Continue reading

Things I’m thankful for this year

ONA10 Conference

This year was my second year attending the Online News Association conference. Last year was San Francisco. I didn’t know very many people. It was the first time I met Greg Linch, Daniel Bachhuber, Ryan Sholin, Jay Rosen, Scott Karp, Emily Ingram, Jessica Estepa, McKenna Ewen and countless others in person. This year’s conference was like a huge reunion, plus an introduction to dozens and dozens and dozens of people that I’d known from Twitter for years. I met amazing people and learned a lot.

Words cannot convey how at home I feel at conferences when I’m surrounded by my people– my journalism family.


I try not to be too preachy about it (although it happens sometimes), but I went vegan two months ago. Yes, that means two months without meat, dairy, honey– anything that comes from animals. The decision was just a month-long personal experiment, but I can’t go back now. I feel physically better and more energetic. My skin and hair feel healthier. Unlike diets that always make me feel deprived and cheated, veganism empowers me and makes me feel good. I’m going to stick with it for life. Continue reading

A tip for capturing your design ideas quickly

One of my new favorite discoveries is a set of printable sketch sheets that I now keep at my desk and in my purse so I can randomly start sketching ideas if they come to me. I’ve been using the 960 Grid System sketch sheets, of which you can download (in PDF format) at Nathan Smith’s Github. You can also download various templates for wireframing in Photoshop, Illustartor, GIMP, Omnigraffle, inDesign, etc.