Editors Lab Reuters Hackdays

Sponsored by Cxense

30 May 2014 - 31 May 2014

An incredible Editors Lab at Reuters Headquarters

Innovate to Improve Loyalty:

On the 30-31 May 2014, GEN held their first Editors Lab of Season 3 at the Reuters Headquarters  with the support of Cxense. The participants innovated around the theme: 'Improving Loyalty'.Participants created tools that met needs such as: How to boost the 'stickiness' of your website? How to build a community of frequent users and encourage them to stay longer on the website? How to optimize loyalty using Big Data analytics and real-time tools? Cxense opened access to their analytics and content tools to help participants meet their objectives.


Read about the Hackdays:

Top News Organizations Go Head-to-Head Using Innovative Big Data Tools

Hackday Insights: How to make your website stickier and more engaging?

Sticky data tools win hackdays for BBC


Our White Paper: 

Our White Paper offers an in-depth look at the best ideas developed during the event and provides an overview of its highlights. 

A great partnership with Cxense

Cxense offers solutions to help publishers know their audience better in order to deliver them the right content at the right time. It is why Cxense and the GEN have logically partnered together around the Editors Lab Reuters Hackdays. Cxense granted acess to their Cxense analytics Tool and Cxense content tool:

Cxense Analytics: Cxense combines real-time web stats, historical data and other data sources in to a single web analytics package. This big data approach is the key to unlocking extraordinary insights. All you do is add a simple and small code snippet to your webpages. Our Extraordinary Insight Engine takes care of creating anonymized profiles, that enable specific user sessions with automatically optimized content and ads.

Cxense Content: Your personalized content strategy will be matched with the interests and objectives of your audience groups. We are able to do this via our Extraordinary Insight Engine (EIE), which collects and analyzes context, user data, behaviour, trends, external data, demographical data, historical data and many other data sources.



The winners, the Jury, the Speakers and Cxense team members

And the winner was ...

The BBC team, with their app “Takeaway”, won the Hackdays and were invited to compete in the Hackdays Final at the GEN Summit 2015.

The winning team was composed of Nathalie Malinarich, Editor mobile & new formats, Dima Jarkas, Senior UX designer, Sam French, Web developer. 

According to the team, “Takeaway is a mobile-first product aimed at growing engagement among regular and casual users. For regulars, it is a page tailored to the time of day and known interests. For the casual user, suggestions are based on entry point and choices made by similar users. It can be consumed offline or as email. It provides a new, relevant and contextual offer, while meeting our public service obligations.” On the technical side, “the prototype is built in Ruby because it’s lightweight. The demo replicates our site and dynamically inserts a Takeaway module that is contextual. The data for the widget is from Cxense.” 

You can check it out at bit.ly/bbctakeaway 



The BBC Team


Honourable Mentions

McClatchy’s project, “Engage”, won an honourable mention. It also won the audience’s choice award, selected by all participating innovators. The focus was on rewarding loyal readers with a better userexperience with fewer ads. In an interview given to Reuters Inside Agency, McClatchy team member, Erik Frederick describes the prototype: “The challenge was to use theCxense analytics tool and build a feature that made our news website stickier andmore engaging. We developed a way to measure true engagement and reward it byimproving the user experience — namely, by reducing ad content. We wrote the “rulesof engagement,” which would be explained to users in general terms but notspecifically revealed (so readers couldn’t cheat). We would award points for things likesharing a story, eliciting referrals to our site through a share and making commentsthat inspired reaction from others. We did not award points for a page view, or for acomment that got no reaction, or for time spent on site — in other words, things that can be faked and don’t indicate true interaction. A registered user’s “engagementscore” would be displayed at the top of the page seeing their score rise (andoccasionally fall). When they reached certain benchmarks, they’d see fewer ads, andmore news content higher on the page. More-engaged users would get fewer but morefinely targeted ads, based on their reading habits“.

See their presentation here


The McClatchy team


Montclair University won also an honourable mention. According to Montclair team, the goal of their project, Read4Life was to use “a news corporation's charitable donations to leverage reader loyalty.”. Read4LIfe offer the opportunity to publishers to base their charitable donations on what their readers are really passionate about. To build their prototype, they used “Cxense tracking software to determine reader habits and to calculate pageviews, in order to determine donations to charity.” 



Reuters also won a mention for Goal Keeper : a social, interactive predictions games. This game is a great tool for the newsroom as it can be used in many different contexts (elections, awards ceremonies, sports events...)


Lessons Learned

This Editors Lab highlighted different approaches to content personalization and the use of analytics for this purpose. Most news organizations use analytics to delivercustomized content based on previous reading habits. They conceive features to offer personalized content that is tailored to the interests of the readers and keep them engaged onsite for longer. But McClatchy took a very different approach to the problem of user engagement. They used the Cxense analytics tool to reduce ad content instead of personalizing their editorial content. The team considered that their website would be stickier if they offered non-customized content. This approach could be justified by the fact that non-customized news allow the readers to have a more comprehensive view of news. It also preserves the sense of discovery and helps counter the filter bubble that closes the readers off from new ideas, subjects and information.

In contrast, the BBC team reflected on the way to best personalize content. They wanted to give their readers a customized user experience without betraying the BBC’s mission to engage the UK citizens with impartial and accurate news and information. They decided that the three articles appearing at the top of the newsfeed would be thesame for every reader. They would cover the three most important pieces of news ofthe day that would be curated by BBC News editors. The rest of the content appearing in the newsfeed would be customized. This process allows the reader to get information that is relevant to its interest without missing the most important news.These two above examples highlight two altering visions of content personalization and demonstrate the versatility of the Cxense tools to execute these strategies.

Video: Project Presentations

The Host, the Sponsor and the Prize



Adam Chesterton



Ragnar Borg



Rob Wescott


The Jury


Anthony De Rosa



Évangéline de Bourgoing

Global Editors Network


Rob Wescott