Incubator for Digital Storytellers

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Oregon Story Board is an accelerator to help digital storytellers create companies, explains Rick Turoczy of Silicon Florist. The startup incubator is now accepting applications for the first class of its accelerator program.

The collaborative working environment is housed at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. It offers a four-month program where companies receive access to technical and business support from entrepreneurs, investors and executives with expertise in the digital storytelling and funding.

Portland’s Independent Publishing Resource Center opened in 1998 with classes and resources to small publications, while The Portland Zine Symposium gathers writers, publishers and fans of the small, informal publications.

I’m intrigued by ePub3 which utilizes HTML 5, CSS and Javascript for interactivity – without constant internet connectivity – while delivering revenue for authors.

E-Pub3 is a natural for textbooks, but many authors object to interrupting the narrative flow. If it doesn’t serve the story, extraneous content (mostly) gets in the way.

Author Corey Fayman may have cracked the code in his e-book, Border Field Blues.

I decided on one essential interface design rule. There would be only one button on the screen, an ‘Extras’ button that sat at the bottom of the screen.

That button would open a new window, from which users had access to the following:

  • Photographs of various locations
  • Related videos from YouTube
  • Playable audio files of music referenced in the book
  • My own notes on each chapter
  • Google Maps of the areas
  • Email functionality, so readers could contact me
  • A way for readers to share comments within the app itself

All of the above were embedded into one “Extras” screen so that navigating the interface remained simple and clear. Readers can pop into the “Extras” section and pop back to the text with one simple tap in either direction.

If you want to build interactivity but aren’t a coder, there are free or cheap mobile app development tools that don’t require a lot of skill, such as AppMakr, Codiqa and Infinite Monkeys. They allow just about anyone to build simple apps by adding text, images and other features into templates. PhoneGap lets you code once – without going native – while targeting many different platforms including Android, IOS and Windows Phone. It can also detect your location with GPS and utilize a camera or other platform sensors.

Mobile Meetups help connect developers to share experience and knowledge.

Python has surpassed Java as the top language used to introduce U.S. students to programming, according to a recent survey by the ACM. The three largest, most popular online class providers — Coursera, edX and Udacity also offer introductory programming courses in Python.

The Readium Foundation ( develops technology to accelerate adoption of EPUB 3 and the Open Web Platform by the global digital publishing industry. The non-profit organization’s projects include Readium Web (an EPUB 3 rendering engine for browser-based cloud readers) and Readium SDK (an EPUB 3 rendering engine for native apps). Their Readium for Chrome has garnered the highest scores out of over two dozen reading systems.

Portland Radio Project, a new online radio station, aims to capture the growing popularity of internet listening by bucking a trend. More and more commercial radio stations downplay local coverage, but PRP plans to go in the opposite direction. It’s available on IOS and Android. They work with OPB and their original content can be distributed through PRX.

Another Kickstarter funded on-line radio station,, has recruited 75 local DJs to “ignite both hemispheres of the brain with music, talk, culture, and more.”

Live Wire Radio is a weekly variety show taped in front of a live audience in Portland, Oregon and aired on public radio stations around the country.

The expanding portfolio of Public Radio Exchange, the Internet-based distribution platform, has prompted some public radio insiders to question whether NPR’s Public Radio Satellite System can adapt to stiffer competition from independent content producers. Both aspiring and established producers can distribute their work on PRX. offers new work and voices to public radio and public media, with tools, advice, and community.

This American Life split from distributor Public Radio International on July 1, ending a 17-year relationship and now relies on PRX to deliver weekly editions to stations.

The BiblioTech digital library in Bexar County Texas has officially opened their doors to the public. Patrons will be able to access to over 10,000 eBooks and residents will be able checkout 600 E-readers, 9 laptops and 40 tablets to read them on.

BiblioTech branch manager Catarina Velasquez explained you won’t find rows and rows of books. “Instead, you’re going to see rows and rows of computers,” said Velasquez. “We have all of our content digital and online.”

Posted by Sam Churchill on Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 at 12:56 pm .

Leave a Reply