MDN does not have "digital" or "cyberspace" reporters. Instead, MDN's stories come from the efforts of journalists working for a variety of media -- digital, TV, radio and print -- all working in what now is termed within the profession as a converged newsroom.
In fact, MDN was the first converged newsroom at the Missouri School of Journalism. And, it remains the only newsroom of the school where print, broadcast and new media reporters work together, as teams, in covering news for a variety of outside outlets.
In addition, many of the databases available on MDN are the information resources maintained by the bureau that also are used for the bureau's news coverage. Several of these databases also are generated by applications developed by MDN's Web Master Phill Brooks to extract information automatically from government-based digital databases available on Internet.
MDN is an all PC-based operation with multiple servers. The servers and workstations use the Microsoft Windows operating systems. The Web servers run on Apache while our audio servers are based on Shoutcast.
Missouri Digital News was inaugurated in January 1995 on the WWW server of the University of Missouri-Columbia. A year later, MDN moved to its own server located in the statehouse bureau (www.mdn.org). This move simplified updating information, provided greater stability and gave us more flexibility in automatic page layout and database retrievals.
Since then, MDN has gained international attention for the simplicity of its design as well as the contents. It has been ranked by Lycos as one of the top 5% of the web sites in the world for political news.
In 2000, MDN inaugurated live MP3 audio streaming of House and Senate chamber sessions. It was the world's first non-entertainment application of Internet MP3 streaming. Later that year, we also began Missouri Capital Caucus -- an MP3 streaming audio news program of headlines and features about Missouri government. A Spanish-language version was inaugurated for the legislative session of 2001 (but subsequently discontinued after the government-reporting program with the University of Navarra was suspended).
The English-language version of MCC was discontinued a few years later due to lack of significant user interest in a Web-accessed streaming audio service of public affairs. While we have millions who choose to read information on the Web, we found that few want to listen to it on the Web.
Just about all of the digital applications used by MDN (database access, news copy-flow, word processing, etc.) were developed in-house and are copy written by © by MDN's Webmaster, Phill Brooks.
In 2006, we inaugurated what may be the world's first fully Web-based newsroom system -- W3: Newsroom without Walls. W3 provides (thru a security-protected Web site) access for reporters and editors from anywhere in the world to write and edit stories, file stories for the Web, update MDN data, file audio stories for distribution to stations and much more. W3 was developed by Phill from a Web-based news-editing program he developed for a school in India.
Phill was the author of a multi-year development project between the Missouri School of Journalism and IBM. From that project, Phill received extensive professional training in a variety of digital fields including network management, system design and programming. He has provided consulting services on computing and digital issues to educational and news outlets throughout the world.
[Missouri Digital News is supported by the Missouri School of Journalism (home of the The Journalist's Creed),
the Missouri Press Association,
KMOX Radio in St. Louis,and
KSMU Radio in Springfield
MDN was designed and is managed by Phill Brooks]