Mic Editors Lab

What do you mean by the theme "audience engagement"?

How can we find our audiences, make the news more meaningful to them, or inspire action?

In tackling this theme, you might prototype tools to connect more deeply with specific audiences. Perhaps you’re seeking to engage with those left out of mainstream coverage. Maybe you think up a tool to get input at the beginning of the editorial process, like in Hearken’s audience-driven news framework. Or maybe you find a way to tell or share stories, say through VR, or by transforming data visualisations into art or games.

Get inspired with these engagement tips and resources!

How much does it cost to enter?

Nothing. Food and drinks will be provided, too. 

How do I enter?

Email GEN's Programme Manager Sarah Toporoff with your interest.

Do I have to be at a major media organisation?

No! Although GEN's Editors Lab series see teams mostly from major media. We’ll take freelancers, university students and non-journalist teams (NGOs, startups, etc.). We’ll take teams that mix people from different organisations, too. If you lack a team, email Sarah Toporoff to register your interest and she may help you find some mates.

I’m at a very large media organisation. Can we have multiple teams?

Sure. Probably. Well, space is limited. So, you can register two teams, but we may come back to you and ask you to pick your one team if there’s a lot of interest.

Do we have to make a working prototype?

Well yes, that’s the idea. Stuff happens, of course: sometimes the prototype doesn’t get working by the deadline. In those cases, people have sometimes pitched a mocked-up idea and how it would work. But a working prototype is going to seem more impressive to the jury.

How will prototypes be judged?

Criteria from GEN’s Editors Lab page:

Editorial quality. How innovative is the project? How useful will it be in solving a specific problem?
Design. How user-friendly is the interface? How creative is the design?
Development. How functional is the prototype? What level of technical expertise does this project demonstrate?
Implementation. What is the potential scale of the idea? Is it logistically and technically feasible?

We will also have a People’s Choice award, based on a public vote.

What can we do beforehand?

Think. Research. Investigate possibilities. Truly, sometimes the best ideas happen during a U-turn halfway through the hackathon.

What happens to the final projects?

In the spirit of open data and collaboration, we ask all participants to put their final code and data online using Github or similar, sharing it freely.

Intellectual property is owned by the teams, not us organisers.

Two days isn’t much time to make a prototype. Our hope is that some teams will be inspired to build on what they’ve done and turn their prototypes into real live apps. Each project will also be featured on the GEN Community website.

Why should we get involved with this thing?

Journalists, developers and designers: You’ll get inspired. Get a chance to work with people outside your discipline or daily grind, people who think differently than you. Think bigger about how we can make the news better. Liberate some data. Chase new stories. And have fun!

News outlets: That feather in your cap if your team wins and goes to Vienna (and maybe wins there, too).

Partner organisations: Meet the hacks and hackers who are driving experimentation in this industry — and jump onto the innovation train with us! Yeah, it’s a buzzword — but it’s also really how we believe how great journalism will survive these modern times.