Walkley Editors Lab

How much does it cost to enter?

Nothing. Food and drinks will be provided, too. 

How do I enter?

Email Walkleys organiser Helen Sullivan (helen.sullivan[at]walkleys.com) 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.), but will give preference to media teams. We’ll take teams that mix people from different organisations, too. If you lack a team, email Helen Sullivan (helen.sullivan[at]walkleys.com) 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. Maybe. 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?

Your prototype will be judged on four equally-weighted criteria:

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.

Also, it could lead to a Walkley Grant for Innovation in Journalism!

Precedents: In 2016, the Guardian Australia prototype, Time Serious, was a runner-up for the main award but ended up landing a $15,000 Walkley Grant for Innovation in Journalism later in the year. Skin, an Editors Lab prototype from Team Glasnost (Martin Newman, Suyeon Son and Kelly Tall) was a finalist for those grants. As was a project from hackathon alum Jackson Gothe-Snape.

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: Rapidly prototype a new product for your organistion. Editors Lab projects often get implemented down the line. And that feather in your cap if your team wins and goes to Lisbon (and maybe wins there, too).