List of Coral tool users?


I was talking with a potential Coral Ask/Talk user yesterday, and they asked what sites were already using one of them. I didn’t have a good answer for that. Is there a list somewhere, or at least a handful of examples I could point them at? Thanks…


Hi Luis_in_140 –

Happy to! There are no Talk users yet — our beta comes out next month, so that answer will change shortly.

Ask users include:, which used Ask and the Tell Our Next President visualization we created with the team at Bocoup:

– Chicago Magazine, which used Ask to get users’ thoughts on former President Obama’s farewell speech:

– Mozilla, which is using an Ask form in its Internet Health Report:


Yes! also used Ask for election poll monitoring, and is working on future feature series building on its functionality.


I have been thinking lately about news organizations’ practical use of these tools. Some of you know that I was the founder and manager of sfgate,com back in the 1990s. That is a situation where the site has a different name than the parent organization (San Francisco Chronicle now owned by Hearst) and has a kind of parallel existence to what Hearst emphasizes as their true flagship offering, In addition, like many other papers, they also offer a pdf-like version of the paper as well. The LA Times also does this, and so do a lot of other papers.

Hearst acquired along with the Chronicle in 2000. That year they made it clear to me that their philosophy for their online offering was going to be based on the Chronicle being their chief brand. They didn’t want SF Gate to interfere with or otherwise confuse the public. I had other ideas and we parted ways, amicably.

So now it is 16 years later and they have three ways you can read their content. One of the guys who still works at told me not too long ago that Hearst is willing to keep it going as long as it keep paying for itself. There is a new guy managing it (Brandon Mercer, by all accounts a very good, forward-thinking guy) and I am going to meet with him and his team pretty soon, mainly just to get acquainted and lend whatever wisdom I may have to share. We’ll see.

But as I spend more time here at Coral, it occurs to me that would be a perfect place for the journalists at the Chronicle to use these tools like Ask and Talk to improve their reporting and engage more deeply with the community they serve. And if they did that, they would in fact be fulfilling much more the original vision I pitched in 1994 as the ultimate point of the project to begin with.

When I first proposed that vision I said it would be a new way for the news organization to evolve its relationship with the community it serves. Back then what we did was the usual 90s web stuff of figuring out how to present multimedia content in a coherent, responsible and enjoyable way plus a variety of experiments in direct interaction with the public. We did pretty well with it all, but it was all so new to the journalists and the editors that the buy-in was always pretty tentative. Thus, I never had the right atmosphere to do the kind of experiments and products that we see here with Coral.

It is completely fair to say that what you are doing is the kind of thing I wanted to do (in addition to the things we did do), but there was no way for me to get there back then.

So now I’m thinking that given the reality that a brand like SF Gate is never going to amount to very much while remaining sibling of the Chronicle brand, why fight it? Why not convert much of what SF Gate is about to a serious experiment in community engagement using these Coral tools and whatever else the larger news community cooks up to try to solve these very real problems of evolving quality journalism into more fruitful community involvement?

My meeting with Brandon the new SF Gate manager and his team was postponed last week, but when it happens I plan to map my original vision for the project to the use of the tools you are building here. Maybe they already know all about it, I’m not sure. I’m going to find out soon.