A mobile game that gives players incentives to track, publish and share news has taken the Grand Prize in RJI’s fourth annual Student Developer Competition. Five teams of journalism, business and computer science students at the University of Missouri developed mobile apps for the Innovation Division of Hearst, Inc. with support from technology partners Adobe, Google and Sprint.
Beth Polish, director of Corporate Innovation and senior vice president of Hearst Interactive Media, announced the winners today in the lead off to RJI’s Student Developer Showcase. “It feels like all of us…took it up to the next level in terms of the quality, the work product that came out of…a really, really intense, short period of time.”
Team Buzz (Akshay Dave, Colby Gergen, Chao Shi, Patrick Sweet and Fei Wu) took First Runner-up in the competition with an app that allows efficient real-time uploading to newspapers and TV stations of photo and video content from reporters in the field and gives the public a way to submit their own news content as it’s happening.
The other three finalist teams each received an Honorable Mention award for their outstanding work:
Team Five Bars (Amanda Bromwich, Adam Falk, Geoff Pado, Joshua Smith and Zach Wade) created an app that allows participants to collaborate, brainstorm, and share content related to developing new business ideas, while on the go.
Team First Instinct (JiEun Choi, Hyun Ik Jang, Hyunmin Lee, Taein Park and Jaewon Shin) designed an app that turns improving your fitness into a game – your avatar gains points and power based on your own real-world health and fitness behavior.
Team App Factory (Brent Davidson, Daniel Maxson, Suman Roy, Dan Wang and Qia Wang) produced a how-to app for diagnosing common maintenance problems and making repair decisions – including decision trees and step-by-step repair instructions, drawn from Hearst content.
Late last year, several RJI student teams selected from a basket of ideas for Android-based mobile apps and pitched their solutions to judges from RJI, Hearst, Adobe and Sprint in late January. The five chosen finalist teams moved forward with development during the spring 2011 semester, with feedback from Hearst and RJI mentors. Adobe provided the teams with development tools, Sprint helped test the apps during development, and Google offered assistance with Android development.
Mike McKean, director of the Futures Lab at RJI, said this year’s competition demonstrates the full potential of interdisciplinary student collaborations to address the problems and opportunities facing today’s journalists. “The result was five focused applications that help Hearst lean forward.” According to McKean, “These students have set the bar extremely high for next year’s competitors.”
The Grand Prize winners will travel to New York next week where they’ll visit Hearst Tower and be honored by top Hearst executives. All 25 members of the five finalist teams also received a Samsung Galaxy Tab, an Android-based tablet computer, at today’s award ceremony.
But the best prize was the opportunity to work with peers on a real-world project for a top media firm. “It really was more about us trying to meet the standards of Hearst than anything else,” said Matthew Schmertz, a graduating senior in Convergence Journalism and member of the Media Mogul team.