Huffington partners with Ushahidi to monitor US elections

Popular US news website, Huffington Post, has announced a partnership with the crowd sourcing and mapping Ushahidi platform, in a project that will highlight major issues as identified by the US electorate.

Project ‘Firsthand’ will crowd source information and opinion from millions of Huffington Post readers. Firsthand will allow users to share ideas and images that tell their story during the campaign period.

Announcing the partnership, Huffington Post founder, Arriana Huffington, said the project will allow the audience to share every-day stories that may not make the evening news.

“The result will be a vivid multimedia mosaic that captures the everyday events that are a testament to the changes underway in American communities – the stories that define our lives but rarely show up on the news,” posted Arianna on her blog.

The crowd information published on the website will be live but monitored and curated. Arianna added that HuffPost endeavors to “put flesh and blood on all the poll data that are out there.”

“To tell these stories – or more accurately, to enable you tell them – we’re launching a mobile app for the iPhone and Droid, in partnership with Ushahidi, the open source platform that uses crowdsourcing to map crises around the world,” announced Arianna.

Founded by three Kenyans, Juliana Rotich, Ory Okolloh and Erik Hersman, Ushahidi was first used during Kenya’s post election violence to monitor hotspots through an SMS and web platform.

Hersman said the relationship with HuffPost is a continuation of a trend where news outlets are increasingly using Ushahidi to gather information.

“A lot of news organizations use Ushahidi to track crowd information. We’ve seen this with Al Jazeera, BBC, Washington Post and others since 2009,” said Hersman.

Ushahidi has since been deployed to crowd source information in earthquakes, civil unrest, human trafficking in Japan, Chile, Russia, Haiti, New Zealand, US among other countries.

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