Developers, media specialists ‘Hack the Future of Journalism’

Hack the Future of Journalism group photo


Tool incentivizing quality reporting wins top prize

Nearly 80 programmers, news executives and community activists teamed up May 31 and June 1 at San Francisco’s KQED Public Media to hack products designed to improve journalism.

Incentivizr, which lets paid digital media subscribers allocate a bit of that money directly to the producers of their favorite stories, captured the $1,500 grand prize at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute’s first Hack the Future of Journalism event.

The prototype was built by San Francisco developer Faruk Ateş and Bay Area brand strategist Wendy Qi.  Incentivizr increases the publisher’s audience engagement, gives the individual journalist a bonus for working on quality content rather than “click bait,” and gives users “a bit more ownership of the content they consume,” says Ateş.

RJI, KQED, Google and the Public Media Platform, a consortium of America’s five largest providers of public media content, sponsored the hackathon in conjunction with the National Day of Civic Hacking.

Additional financial and technical support was provided by Wayin, which gives media clients tools to better visualize social media, and Chute, which helps news organizations increase the value of visual media.

On the first day of the Hackathon participants started by throwing out ideas and recruiting teammates. Representatives from Wayin and Chute then demonstrated their APIs (application programming interfaces). Nick Whitaker and Vanessa Schneider from Google gave workshops on advanced search strategies and data visualization tools. They shared resources designed especially for journalists, including:

A live demo of My 2 Cents Radio, a mobile player of public radio stories and podcasts that allows in-app donations directly to content producers, drew considerable support and comment from hackathon participants. The app won the 2014 RJI Student Competition.

Three members of the My 2 Cents student team — Georgi Angelov, Connor Hickox and Jack Howard — also partnered with American Public Media’s Joellen Eaton and Bay Area TV journalist Monique Soltani to earn the hackathon’s $500 prize for best use of the PMP API.

Their app, nicknamed HereSay, is designed for travelers. It combines location-based tweets identified by Wayin with relevant stories generated by the Public Media Platform. Eaton says the app gives listeners “the deeper context that maybe you wouldn’t know to match with the topics that are trending.”

The $500 prize for best use of the Wayin API went to Civic Sentiment, a tool designed to engage young people in the 2016 presidential election by visualizing how they respond to political speeches and debates in real time using Twitter. Members of the Civic Sentiment team are user interface developer Ami Eaton, North State Public Radio news director Lorraine Dechter, visualization specialist Tiago Etiene, app development consultant Deepesh Kuruppath, and mobile apps manager Kristin Nevius.

Developer Zorigt Bazarragchaa won the $500 prize for best use of the Chute API. He created a prototype called “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words on Top of 140 Characters.” It lets users find and tweet pictures associated with news stories that interest them.

The hackathon also included pitches for products that:

  • Improve overly sensationalized headlines
  • Use public media content to create a “sound path” while walking, biking, driving or taking public transit
  • Take the chaos out of news story comments
  • Create simple “bots” that alert journalists to breaking news events
  • Organize multiple live video streams from citizen journalists covering the same story
  • Automatically tie Instagram photos to related stories produced by public media.

Grand prize winner Ateş summed up the two-day experience this way: “It felt like we were trying really hard to come up with ways to make journalism more sustainable in the future, increase quality and involve citizens and readers with the process more.”

by Mike McKean

For more information about RJI’s Hack the Future of Journalism, contact Futures Lab Deputy Director Reuben Stern.

About Zoran Opalic

Professional in design and publishing industry. Conceptualize and orchestrate designs and redesigns that effectively reinforce and build brand images. Proven ability to drive record-high campaign in increasing publication sales and execute successful product launches...


One thought on “Developers, media specialists ‘Hack the Future of Journalism’

  1. Take the holotape and show it to Cass to confirm the first part of your
    evidence. When the GPS-enabled pet collar (which works
    differently than a microchip implant) is on, you can monitor the cat’s whereabouts on the
    manufacturer’s website or in many cases; have that data sent directly to your cell phone when you’re out searching.
    Now we review the phone’s call quality, web browsers and battery life.

    Posted by facebook hack | February 20, 2015, 11:06 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Aston Martin DB10

Production will be strictly limited to 10 of the bespoke sports cars, developed and built by the designers, engineers and highly skilled craftspeople at Aston Martin’s Gaydon headquarters.

Architect Oscar Niemeyer

"My work is not about form follows function, but form follows beauty or, even better, form follows feminine."

BACK to BASICS: Portraits

Portraits of people are one of the first elements of the photography used in newspapers.

Typography: x-heigh

In typography, x-heigh refers to the heigh of lower case letters without upper or lower parts when compared to capital letters...

Designer George Lois

“I always knew I was the most talented kid in the school, ” says George Lois of his time at Music and Art. “I was lucky to be exposed to the city’s best art education"...


Newspaper typefaces require a higher legibility then typefaces used for other printed products. Newspaper are printed on a paper of lesser quality under high speed.

How to redesign 1

Good redesign is driven by a deep understanding of the editorial mission of the publication.

Headline on photographs

The eternal dilemma! Dilemma of all editors on the planet Earth – to put or not put the headline or any kind of type in the photo.

Design Facts

Three elements that will greatly help you to understand how readers are observing you.

Typeface: NY Times Magazine

Sunday Magazine is an expansive family of fonts for information in tiny spaces and headlines at large sizes.


When, why and whether to use infographic. The basic fact is that infographic refresh the publication, and it contributes to originality of your product.

A well-designed publication

Everything that a well-designed publication must have...



%d bloggers like this: