Live Blog

NewsHack-VIII

Organised by BBC and the Global Editors Network, this hack will gather teams from News organisations, academic and research institutions and members of the Global Editors Network.This #newsHACK theme is “The 2015 News Industry Accelerator” – What might we create together, to improve the NEWS industry for UK & global publishers?

  • The team from @thetimes/@thesundaytimes built a site for journalists to find digital reporting tools at #newsHack bit.ly/1IgsT0e

  • The Sunday Times now presenting "The Journalist Toolbox", a peer reviewed searchable index of tools, with tutorials. #newsHACK
  • 4/17 - The Financial Times team is next, with Voxpopper, "the man in the street for a social crowd"

    "The man in the street is the core of journalist, and the stories are better with real people - and when can you see what's happening."

    But we're stuck in the past with vox-pops and hacks sent in the street to ask people what they think about something they don't know about. 

    VoxPopper is a widget included in an article or on Twitter, a call to action to the reader for sharing his or her opinion by sending back a video to the newsroom  - with an Instagram backend. 

    Journalists create their call-outs, and are then asked to curate the videos that will appear in groups... directly in the article itself!


  • Team @ReutersUK - making it easier for people to respond to news videos, interact through Twitter & find highlights in 1 place #newsHACK
  • 5/17 - the Reuters team is now plugged in for their presentation

    For them, news videos are more prevalent than ever, but news broadcasting is one way, there's no engagement. 


    Everybody has something to say, but many are a bit lazy to do so, or the news might break when you're busy. And after a while, catching up is impossible. 

    Their idea includes live chat, Twitter commentary from trusted sources using a hashtag, a neutral and effortless Like they call a "Pulse", immediate highlights for replay, and an aggregation of the data. 

    They show the judges a live demo, with comment and pulses overlaid on the video playing, demonstrating how the editing is based on the highlights of the video. 

    Our judges ask the question of curation, to which Reuters responds by saying they'd like to keep as open as possible
  • Team Swansea Uni hit a low blow with terrible puns! On the plus side they're pitching using smart watch/tech for news discussion #newsHACK
  • 6/17 - FIT Lab - Swansea university, that we saw earlier last month is Wales, is once again facing the judges and the audience!

    NewsWatch: Public display of the news on a smart-watch

    Aside from puns, they declare their love for the pub, drinking, and coffee shops. How can we utilise these places to project the news and promote discussion?

    With smart-watches, the news are displayed almost publicly, hopefully leading to a discussion and a constructive debate. Their persona, Emma, loves to discuss her passions on Twitter but she feels she can't be passionate about them - through current medium. 

    With NewsWatch, news (from the Juicer) are picked by Emma in the morning... and later, she gets a notification on her wrist, that her friend sees, and starts a discussion about the topic. 

    On the tech front, articles are coming from the Juicer, sent to an Android app and then to a Sony smartwatch thanks to Sony SmartConnect. 

    An idea for the future: linking people with similar interests, so they can... let's say discuss the news.
  • Pitching ideas for innovative media at #newsHACK in Shoreditch. International media, Swansea Uni & us!
  • "We love alcohol. We love the pub!" Great start to a #newsHACK demo :-)
  • 7/17 - BBC and The Conversation, with Smalltalk

    The joint team presents a meaningful link between BBC and The Conversation content, the BBC offering the breadth and The Conversation the depth. 

    The pipeline is shown as a live demo by Rob (from News Labs). It is based on the tags presented on the Conversation website as a starting point. A bookmarklet would allow you to query related content from the BBC, and then presented on the right-hand side on the original article. 

    About accuracy, Sylvia looked at the intersection of different bits, such as Politics, Economy, and Health. With a bit of graph theory, all the tags are matched against BBC content to provide highly related stories for better content. 

    They also thought of a Nugget displaying both the BBC and The Conversation content, highly shareable... before our Hello Kitty bell rang!
  • Really impressive project from Team Conversation - small talk - provides a shared news source experience using linked tags data. #newsHACK
  • Secretly glad to not be participating in #newsHACK because all the teams are On It
  • 8/17 - And now, The Telegraph:

    Rapid video annotation with semantic tags, helping form a data card timeline.

    Basically, live-blogging videos!

    An editor can watch a stream of videos and add annotation attached to a specific moment on timeline. They demo their idea with a PMQ extract, adding annotations on the fly, placed at specific moments on the video. 

    Each annotation brings up a sidebar with background information about the annotation: biographies, related articles taken from the Juicer. 

    On the user side of things, an app displays the background information as well. Of course, navigating between the highlights in the video is possible! This way, the information is not lost as soon as the moment is passed.


  • 9/17, half-way through the presentations, comes The Times, our serial-winners:

    Matt, Owen, and Pietro, show us OneStory: a seamless cross-media content experience for whatever the *experientist* wants...


    Editing your piece in unison with narration and copy side by side: the copy and the audio recording are shown next to one another. 

    The *experientist* can choose at any time how they want to consume the piece: through reading, or through their headphones, without missing anything. 

    The product would be available on mobile and on smartwatches. 

    And now for a live demo. The really interesting bit are the quotes, taken from the translator of Sepp Blatter when he announced his resignation - and they can be listened just by tapping on a word on the written piece. 

    Downloading an offline version of the audio is available - and for longform pieces, you'd only download the parts of the piece you haven't read to save you data. 


  • Team @thetimes pitching Read, listen, watch - seamless transition between how you consume the same story based on what youre doing #newsHACK
  • 10/17 now, and team VRT:

    Alexander and his magnificent beard from Belgium explains how we can't keep up with all the news published all the time. How can it be brought together?


    Kagu pulls RSS feeds from around the world and displays a patchwork of images and headlines

    Yes, this is quite a lot of content. Thankfully, you can select continent or countries to filter the view of the news. Their experience is very visual and quite slick. 

    Something they wished they'd did is auto-translating the headlines to make their idea even more global and browsable by all. 
  • 11/17, it's Johnston Press' slot!

    Oh, and there's a link on the screen... to a demo!

    The group of three really liked the idea of the Juicer and wanted to make it more visual.


    After logging in with Facebook, Newsvalise pulls in the user's interests and the Juicer sends related content to those. A fancy treemap shows the user related tags and concepts to what you're exploring, as well as some news articles. 
  • 12/17 - and our friends at Sky News get on stage

    TV broadcasting has changed a lot since Sky started broadcasting 26 years ago. And now TV lives online afterwards, but searching videos is... quite a mess. 

    Searching videos is useful for producers, video editors, researchers... and thus for the news. 

    Vinion is a global search engine, real-time, automated video minion. For videos. 

    Producers can pinpoint exactly a quote in the past, get the right length of shot for the end of their piece... and many more. 

    George shoes us a live demo, based on full-text search, without the auto-transcription of the sound, but with some clever Final Cut Pro-like hovering of the video. 
    He also mentions "for all the executives" that the business-model is viable and "will get you lots of money!"
  • Sharing the collaborative love in the room at #newsHACK - @SkyNews w multi branded slides
  • Team @SkyNews have created a continuously updated database called Vinion cutting to the exact point in video needed #newsHACK
  • 13/17 is the Wall Street Journal on stage, with Autocast:


    One of the hardest task of news publishers today is to reach people into their cars. But not with Audiocast, a mobile-only app using Factiva API and speech-synthesis to create a custom audio broadcast for each user, based on preferences.


    Eliot shows us a live demo on iPhone, and after some sound issues resolved by using the handheld microphone, the speech synthesis starts reading a news article. It keeps on playing the Factiva feed of news. 

    Some to-dos: "a voice-control of the app would be awesome" for cars, auto-generated market reports, smart learning of what the user skips, and also *real* humans reading copy!
  • 14/17 - BBC News/ Newsbeat is our second BBC team at this newsHACK:

    They wanted to apply the "choose you own adventure" to news - as even news nerds don't have time to explore every news source. 


    The user starts with a nine-squares screen, very specific or very broad. They're in fact curated at the moment, but they could be automated by associating content and tags, that they grab from Juicer already. 

    When the user picks a square, he is presented with two stories. These two stories have something in common, a tag - and some content related to this tag is displayed as well. And so the user makes his way from one article to another.

    Along the way, you will only see new things, thanks to random calls to the Juicer content, and to social media related posts. Different modes are also available: Random, Popular, Friends, Pick a Timescale. 

  • A lot of love for the #Juicer from the teams at #newsHACK today #data @BBC_News_Labs
  • Consistently impressed by @annadoble and the newsbeat team @charlierevett @integralist @dblooman @dan_arnould v strong user focus #newsHACK
  • 15/17 is BBC DREAM team - the last one, I promise

    The team, coming from Digital, R&D, Engineering and Monitoring (D.R.E.A.M.), fits three categories: Connecting the News, Using and Sharing Live Video, and Journalism in a Social Edge. 

    Catch Up News presents a dynamic news broadcast from the BBC with the most relevant slices of information.

    It allows the audience to discover the main stories covered by the BBC while they were away. 

    Oh, and Alex shows the base of their project: the News Slicer (more information here), which can be used to slice videos into smaller chunks that can be played, or associated with tags and storylines.

    The Catchup service is quite simple: select a date, filter the categories you want to see, and it will show the Top Stories you've missed, related content from the Juicer, content from around the world. 

    Behind the scenes, it's a React.js based on the Slicer API, some Python/Flask, Meerkat and  Periscope... to generate a dynamic running order - before the Hello Kitty clock rings!
  • 16/17, the penultimate team is Contented with NewsOrator:

    Contented is working on engaging people in international complex issues. The challenge they set themselves is: How to make international news more accessible?

    NewsOrator supports news editor in curating international news, using a range of open data sources to create a series of indicators.

    Open data connects a foreign story to where a particular user is coming from. The algorithm goes through the stories to deliver a relevant feed to the user. For example, a user in a constituency where the Green Party scored very high is likely to be presented with a story about environment - all the stories have been crawled by the algorithms and associated a set of marks for each indicator.


  • 17/17 - And last but not least, the Guardian team will finish this round of presentations. 

    Saucer is a platform for journalists to crowd-source data for citizen journalists. 


    Imagine you did a FOI request for the letters Prince Charles sent ministers. You now need to digitise them, but you need help for that - get it online! 

    Small newsrooms could use it as is, as could citizen journalists. It's modular and takes advantages of open sources plugins. 

    With the example of the Ferguson riots, it is time for a demo. The user is presented with a video and add tags in real time to bits of the video. 

    There is also a verification stage of all the tagging done by people online. A journalist can then accept or reject the tags at each time-stamp.

    The admin panel shows for each video how many data points have been verified - how close an asset is close to completion. And 5 minutes passed already!

    We now send the judges away while we grab a drink... before the prizes!
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