'Building Prototypes on Real Data and Content'

Matt Shearer, Innovation Manager at BBC NewsLabs

01 May 2014

@SJToporoff @LaureNouraout

On 1-2 May, GEN is hosting the first ever double Editors Lab. Two simultaneous events in Dublin and Glasgow and in partnership with with BBC #newsHACK. Follow the action live here. One winning team from each location will win the chance to compete in the Hackdays Final at the GEN Summit 2014 11-13 June in Barcelona. Amid the hacking chaos, Laure from GEN found a moment to speak with Matt Shearer, Innovation Manager at BBC NewsLabs. 


What is #newsHACK?

The idea was to build more partnerships with news organizations, and promote their ideas in open technology. Also, it is about involving BBC News in prototyping really quickly with real data and explore challenges. We're trying to build real things, and not just rapid fancy user experiences. Essentially, it is not far off the Editors Lab!

How can hackathons help build the future of journalism?

The main thing is to get the disciplines together, and make sure that you are building prototypes on real data and content. There are a lot of ideas generated, new possibilities, that you've never seen in normal day to day work. For instance, at the last #newsHACK, we had 30 different teams, 26 used our APIs, and we had feedback on it. [See the projects from the last #newsHACK here.Also on Storyline, we learnt that we needed to put more context in editorial content: this came out the hacking process. Another project was a editorial curation interface, in which journalists can connect concepts semantically with their journalism in real time.

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What is the theme of these hackdays?

The theme is 'The Future of Editorial Curation' (learn more here). Billions of bits of news are available on the internet: how do we turn it into the best news experience? And from a journalism prospective, how do we make the best of journalists' time, so they have the resources to be creative without having to dig for hours through content.

Why are you organising them in two cities at the same time?

There is an excitment factor, we wanted to do somthing fun for the participants! Also we wanted the best of Scottish and Irish media, as GEN already had a Hackday in London. We are using Stagebox, a tool developed by BBC R&D: it is a low latency and highly flexible livestreaming connexion.

Follow the Editors Lab BBC #newsHACK Liveblog here.

Photo credit: @BBC_News_Labs