12 November 2015
Eva Domínguez @edominguez
Startups For News 2015 Finalist - NEWSKID - launched a crowdfunding campaign in October aimed at turning its media prototype into a fully functional product. The goal was to raise €10,000 in one month. At the end of the campaign last Saturday, the total raised had come to €3,445. In order to reach the amount needed to make NEWSKID a commerical service in 2016, the startup is applying to funds and investors who share the same vision. NEWSKID is the brainchild of Eva Domínguez, a multimedia journalist with 25 years’ experience of making the news more engaging through the use of strong storytelling techniques combined with emerging technologies. In this blogpost, Eva explains what NEWSKID aims to give to its young audience.
Children today are exposed to more sources of information than any generation before. Some are reliable, but some are not. If children don’t get used to being interested in what is happening in the world and learning to be critical in the use of media, how will they have an interest in accurate and quality information as adults? Information can be free but not always reliable. Let's empower kids to get accurate news by making news fun. Let's empower them to be critical to information.
The seed for NEWSKID was planted over twenty years ago when I was given the opportunity to be in charge of a new monthly magazine for children as a young reporter working for El Periódico de Catalunya, in Barcelona, my city home.
Journalism for young readers is a great journalistic challenge, reporting has to be extremely informative and entertaining, not taking anything for granted, not defeating their innate curiosity and, furthermore, turning reality into an exciting adventure to discover. Reporting for children certainly made me a better journalist and a passion for Journalism for children was born.
NUSHU is a small alien lost in the Earth surface
I built the first prototype of this project in the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU, in 1999. When I came back to Barcelona after the programme, the idea seemed too advanced for the media industry as well as for the kids market. I understood this project had to wait for the right moment.
This moment is now. The industry is ready and the technology and platforms are in place. There is still a gap in the market for this kind of service.
In this first year of work, we have created a very innovative service feasible to be produced and distributed with a very small team of talented people. The positive feedback from the industry, teachers and parents indicate we are on the right track.
"Journalism for young readers is a great journalistic challenge," Eva Domínguez
Instead of creating a media for children, we have created a fun and engaging story-world across different platforms and technologies and we have embedded news into it. Why? Because there is nothing more powerful than stories to engage people, to make things easier to understand, to make us think, to make us enjoy, wonder and care. And journalism is a storytelling activity. We should not forget that. So we decided to create and engaging storytelling with the tools of the 21st century. And today’s children play and interact with stories, with objects, with screens and with each other. We have designed NEWSKID based on that.
NUSHU is a small alien lost in the Earth surface. NUSHU has the mission to send reports back to its people giving the clues to understand our species. Each report is the result of the adventure of discovery what’s is behind a news signal. In order to succeed, our small alien enlists the help of children around the world. NUSHU explores current affairs with a global impact. In the era of globalisation, children from all countries can learn and research further on how interconnected is everything.
Storytelling with the tools of the 21st century
We combine traditional platforms with technologies such as Augmented Reality to create an immersive storytelling experience. We don’t use technologies for the sake for it. They are seamless integrated in the adventure of news. Each platform and technology has a specific function in the story-world. It is a part of the whole and at the same time each of them works as a standalone asset.
My goal is to expand NEWSKID across different media around the world in order to help future generations to embrace the news as a tool for learning about and understanding their environment. The crowdfunding campaign has been a positive experience. Although we didn’t reach our expected goal of €10,000, the outcome was very good. We've learned a lot from it and there are things, of course, that we would do in a different way. We have learned that, right now, the crowdfunding platforms are a great way to pre-order services or products. So expectations of getting a perk for the price of a commercially finished product were playing against us. The crowdfunding campaign has become an interesting marketing tool: we got good media impact and we’ve reached rellevant people. Overall, we had a very enriching experience.
See Also: GEN's interview with Newskid