Editors Lab

Prototyping the Future of News

A Worldwide Series of Hackathons

The GEN Editors Lab programme is a worldwide series of hackathons hosted by leading news organisations such as BBC, El País, The New York Times and Süddeutsche Zeitung. Editors Lab brings together developers, journalists and designers from top newsrooms to build news prototypes during an intensive two-day competition. The Global Editors Network has already run six successful Editors Lab seasons.

The new Editors Lab Season 7 started in April 2019.

Hosted by the world's leading newsrooms:

BBC Sueddeutsche El Pais logo NewYorkTimes huffington-post-logoretouché the guardian logo test Clarin leparisien Lespresso Die-Zeit india-today-logo VRT rappler-transparent 24com

How does it work?

Editors Lab gathers around ten teams from a region’s leading newsrooms for an intensive two-day hackathon. Each team has a developer, a journalist and a designer and builds a news prototype. The prototype can take on many forms such as website features, experiments in interactive and visual journalism, apps, games or new tools for reporting. Each hackathon has a central theme, such as disaster reporting, mobile-first news, building audience trust or newsgaming. We invite industry experts to give workshops and mentor teams during the prototyping process. Teams pitch their prototypes to a jury who selects a winner to compete in the Editors Lab Final.

Why participate in Editors Lab?

Editors Lab is the solution for...

High-pressure newsrooms: Editors Lab creates a space for experimentation away from the constraints of a conventional work environment. Each team comes back to the newsroom with a viable prototype which can be developed into a new product. See examples here.

Segmented teams: Editors Lab breaks the barriers between the editorial and technical teams in newsrooms.

Competitive landscapes: Editors Lab fosters collaboration between newsrooms on a national and international level.



Hosts and partners 

“Editors Lab can be summarised as three Cs: Creativity, Collaboration, Competition. It's a great opportunity to put together people from different backgrounds and skills and produce innovative ideas for journalism. It was challenging and exciting to be involved in organising an event that left me with inspiring projects, more confidence and, most of all, some special new friends.” — Andrea Iannuzzi, Head of the Digital and Visual Lab at Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso

“Hackathons such as Editors Lab have taken journalists out of their comfort zones, at least in Indian newsrooms and opened their eyes to the possibilities that their stories could take visually. It's also important that journalists and newsrooms themselves discover newer ways of working rather than waiting for it to be a company-wide mandate. Hackathons such as this enable more innovation from the bottom up.” — Irshad Daftari, ICFJ-Google Fellow

"The excitement and enthusiasm created by The Editors Lab programme led to some of the most creative thinking I've seen at a journalism event. Making technology work in service of journalism to solve the biggest issues will require expertise from all parts of the newsroom; The Editors Lab programme recognises this and uses it to spark change." — Clare Carr, VP of Marketing at Parse.ly


“We want to empower millennials to make informed electoral decisions, in a language that works for them. We feel so grateful — none of this would have been possible without Editors Lab.” — Rayoon Hyung, Social Media Strategist at Deepr Media 

"Editors Lab help my newsroom to think outside the box. After the hackathon, we realise innovation and experiment have to be integral parts of a digital news production." — Wahyu Dhyatmika, Editor-in-Chief at Tempo.co

"It was the first time for Japanese media joining Editors Lab. We learned a lot from other media from all over the world. It is not only about the idea and technology, but also how engineers and journalists collaborate to develop a solution. I also appreciate that Editors Lab gives brought me into a global network of news organisations. It was a great occasion for me to discuss with journalists from so many countries about big problems for us like fake news." — Daisuke Furuta, Founding Editor of BuzzFeed Japan

“I only have positive memories when I reflect back on my experience competing at the Editors Lab in New York, and the Editors Lab final in Vienna, Austria. You could tell that everyone on the GEN team really cared about the mission of the competition—but more importantly—the success of all the teams who participated. After both competitions, I came back to National Geographic, and presented our prototypes to top digital executives in our organisation. I would have never had that opportunity if it wasn't for the brilliant work that you all are doing with the Editors Lab.” — Scott Burkhard, UX Designer at National Geographic



Editors Lab has been featured in many prestigious publications such as La Repubblica, The Times of India, Nieman Lab and more.


  • Who can participate ? 

Each team must have three people: One journalist, one graphic designer and one coder/developer. (Team members can also have hybrid profiles as long as all three skillsets are represented.) Each team must represent a media organisation. At least one member must come from the represented media organisation and have a mandate, others may be freelance or from other organisations.


  • What are the teams expected to produce ? 

The teams are expected to produce a working prototype. If they are not able to do so, they can present a proof of concept and mock-ups. At the end of the Editors Lab, each team will give a five-minute pitch. Even if a working prototype is not produced at the end of the event, the team must work with the primary objective of publishing their project during the following weeks, at least as a demo or a beta version.


  • What are the judging criteria ?

1. Editorial quality: How innovative is the project? How useful will it be to the target audience?
2. Design: How user-friendly is the interface? How creative is the design?
3. Development: How functional is the prototype? What level of technical expertise does this project demonstrate?
4. ImplementationWhat is the potential scale of the idea? Is it logistically and technically feasible? 

Note: No preparation is needed before the event. All participants will be provided with the relevant information to start their projects on the first day of the event. Teams may begin brainstorming prior to the hackathon, but all prototypes should be built within the two-day timeframe.


  • Who keeps the copyright ?

A description of each project will be published by GEN after the event, but each team is free to decide what information about the project can be published and shared by GEN. The copyright of the project is held by the media represented by the team. 

Supported by:


Google's mission is to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Google News Lab was created to support the creation and distribution of the information that keeps us all informed about what's happening in our world today—quality journalism.


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 Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.


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Yahoo is the world's largest start-up, which means that we move fast and always let our users lead the way. Founded in 1994 by two Stanford PhD candidates, we've grown into a company that helps you find what you're looking for on any Internet-connected device. Our employees are rewarded for curiosity and we celebrate explorers, relying on our passionate and transformative talent to do what's right for our users.

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