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

Arianna Huffington
Founder, Huffington Post

Project Background

For media organisations, attracting more online readers and finding new, engaging ways to cover stories is challenging. In 2012, Huffington Post wanted to cover the US economic recovery from the Great Recession in 2008, the worst economic crisis in the country since the Great Depression, but they struggled to find an angle that would be appealing and cause readers to interact more with the story.

After consulting with Ushahidi, Huffington Post decided to create a web-based crowdsourcing platform to unearth the vast number of ordinary people’s experiences with the recession, including stories of perseverance and personal success in the face of hardship.

Building a Solution

Ushahidi deployed the Ushahidi data-gathering platform on the Huffington Post website. The platform gathered personal testimonials from citizens via media feeds such as Twitter, RSS, SMS, and Facebook, and displayed them on an interactive map.

Ushahidi customised the Ushahidi iOS and Android apps for the project, so that contributors had even more channels through which to share their stories.

The platform design was customised to reflect Huffington Post’s brand. Ushahidi also trained Huffington Post editors to manage the incoming flow of information in the system so that they were able to efficiently manage the data and ensure editorial quality was consistent.


The First-Hand platform became a place to share, store, analyze, and learn from the impact of the global financial crisis and how people have persevered. As an innovative citizen journalism initiative, it took the engagement of Huffington Post’s readers beyond news consumption and into news creation.