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Startups for News: The Best of Newsroom Innovation

22 January 2015


The Global Editors Network is proud to launch its new programme: Startups for News! Evangéline de Bourgoing, Programme Manager, is introducing it.

You would like to create more innovative content, but you have no time to dig around for the tools that will make your content shine. Worry no more! We have done the job for you. From now until May, we will introduce to you 20 startups that will enrich your reporting and improve your storytelling.

We favored usefulness over glitz when we selected the startups. We bravely fought the lure of shiny gadgets and opted for tools that solve real problems. Over the next few months, we will present you tools tackling crucial issues such as:

  • How can newsrooms free themselves from relying on external social networks and take back ownership of the conversations around their content?
  • How to verify the flow of user generated content in a way that would be both efficient and ethical?
  • How to create impressive storytelling and visualisations when you are in a small newsroom with neither designers nor developers?

In addition to solving real issues, simplicity was the other essential element in our hunt for the best media startups. Our goal was to charm even the most technophobic journalists with tools that empower them and do not add more hassle to their busy schedules. With Startups for News, we would like to showcase implementable innovations for our diverse network of newsrooms. We strive for accessibility and universality: not cryptic techy gibberish. Many small newsrooms do not have enough human and financial resources to build their own tools and could greatly benefit from the 20 easy-to-use tools featured in Startups for News.

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The 20 chosen startups will face off through online pitch battles. Two startups working on a similar theme will present intro videos and interviews on the GEN website. The public will vote for their favorite startup during each battle. It is not our goal to pit competitors against each other in a knock-down-drag-out brawl where winner takes all. Certainly not! Each battle will feature two startups from different countries that address a similar problem but have adopted a different approach to the solution. This format will give each voter the opportunity to choose the tool that is the most adaptive to their newsroom’s specific needs and resources.

The 10 winning startups will pitch to the GEN Summit in June 2015. The winner will receive private mentoring sessions with GEN board members, great exposure to our powerful network of media innovators and a stand at the GEN Summit 2016.

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We will kick things off with a pitch battle about drone journalism. But wait  drones? Isn’t it a bit gadgety, you might think? We had our doubts as well.  But then we saw this powerful and informative drone footage showing the destruction caused by months of fighting at Donetsk Airport. Our doubts disappeared when considering the number of situations in which a drone can be used: to cover a protest, to shoot a sports competition, to evaluate damages caused by conflicts or environmental catastrophes, etc. And it is not only reserved to big American newsrooms: look at how flying drones are helping journalists in Kenya report on disaster stories. We cannot deny that there are legal barriers, but regulations are beginning to loosen, at least in the US.

Now their fate is in your hands, discover our two drone startups and select your favourite!

Vote here!

[Check back regularly to see all the upcoming battles. In the coming weeks we’ve got a Social Newsroom battle: how to keep sharing in your own backyard!]