We turned out an incredible NewsHack Day. During three days, more than 120 attendees came from ProPublica, Google, KQED, Berkeley, Stanford, MotherJones, Washington Post, AP, IDEO, Stamen, the San Francisco Chronicle and more to share their ideas about the future of journalism and hack some projects.
On Friday, ScraperWiki led the code camp teaching journalists the basics of coding, then letting loose with a deep data dive using Python to tak apart data sets from the SEC, Department of Labor, National Public Radio and others. Saturday started off with a set of lightning talks and trainings from Prismatic, ProPublica, Cir.ca, SoundCloud, Trulia, Center for Investigative Reporting, and Stanford’s d.school. We also solicited project ideas from news organizations (see our news wish-list projects here). Then the hacking began. Teams spent the next 36 hours creating amazing applications that promise to benefit newsrooms, journalist and audiences everywhere. On Sunday, our judges bestowed the awards and we wrapped things up at 5:30 PM.
We give everyone their well-deserved praise (and awards) below. We hope we achieved our three simple goals: 1) expand the community of journalists, coders and designers; 2) rapidly build digital news tools and stories; and 3) make NewsHack Day an open resource for anyone improve.
If you have any questions (or would like to organize the next NewsHack Day!), contact us.
NewsHack Day team
ScraperWiki Deep Data Dive Award: Haystax
Haystax (scraping data without code): Getting public data from the Web shouldn’t be hard — it belongs to you, after all. With Haystax, an open-source bookmarklet, collecting information from online sources like government databases is as easy as tapping a few keys. No coding. No cost. No problem.
Team: Tyler Dukes, Dan Turner, Eric Johnson, Randall Leeds, Dan Whaley, Angela Woodall, Barbara Koh, Miriam Olson Jeffery and Jo Ellen Green Kaiser
Visual.ly’s design award: Contextualize
Contextualize (create instant graphics with context): Contextualize is a tool that allows journalists to easily annotate data visualizations and bring narrative context to a graph. By pointing at and clicking on elements on the graph or its axes, a user can highlight points, lines, and ranges as special, and then fill-in a dialogue box of text for a user to discover if they click on that element.
Team: Ken Pascual, Max McClure, Lauren Sommer, Rose Cima, Jeff Sandstoe
New Media Venture’s “Most likely to change politics as we know it:” On the record
On the record (Quote extraction): On the Record create a clear easy way to pull out quotes and their metadata from news articles using news APIs. The result are rich timelines of quotes and comments from news worthy figures, as well as instant timelines and databases about what was said in the news. From Alex and James: “We identified the limitations of a regular-expression-based approach on Friday at the ScraperWiki event a good clean news article feed to use (NPR). We rebooted the code and started from scratch on Saturday after working on it with ScraperWiki. James and I will be continuing work on improving the quote extraction and visualisation.”
Team: Alex Redstone, James Addison
Public git hub repository: https://github.com/alexredstone/on-the-record.
Mother Jones’ “Smart Fearless Reporting” prize: Bird-dog.it FOIA Tracker
The Bird-dog.it FOIA Tracker (Tracking and sharing Freedom of Information efforts): Tracking Freedom of Information Act requests has always been a difficult task. This team created an online tracker (and public shamer) for any news organization (or others) to see the status of the FOIA requests, potentially share resources and show who is (and isn’t) delivering on their FOIA responsibilities.
Team: Chase Davis, Coulter Jones, Augie Armendariz, Michael Corey, John Cotton, Djordje Padejsia, Kiran Bhattaram, Shane Shifflett, Noor Al-Samarrai, La Toya Tooles, Garance Burke, David Suriano
Best presentation: PhoneRecord
PhoneRecord (instant interview recording and sharing): Recording interviews and uploading to the Web has always been a pain. Now it’s never been easier. Dial Me.In uses the Twilio and SoundCloud APIs to turn your mobile phone into an instant recording session that can handle conference calls and then share those audio files among private or public groups.
Bay Area News Trackr (local news aggregator app): There’s plenty of local news, but no easy way to find it, or search for what you want. BANTR, the Bay Area local news tracker for news feeds, quickly aggregates and curates all the region’s non-profit news sources in one place on the Web. The WebApp unifies the news stream on your mobile phone or desktop. Improvement plans for the app including better, edited news feeds and topical searches.
Team: Lila LaHood, Catherine Lee, Michael Coren, John Osborn, Masood Farivar, Bradford Cross, David Cohn
Most Audacious Project Idea: My Evil Twin Likes
My Evil Twin Likes (political news game to burst filter bubbles)My Evil Twin Likes is a news game matching up opposites on the political spectrum allowing people to trade news items that might challenge one another’s beliefs. It is designed to let people escape filter bubbles and the confirmation-bias of online news. An award system incentivizes people to connect with different opinions, and share articles with the other side.
Team: Stephen Cataldo, Carla Mays, and Daniel Willis.
More coverage here: a great article by Eric Johnson at All Things D!
And of course, big thanks again to our sponsors and judges
Mozilla-Knight Open News, Center for Investigative Reporting, Hub Bay Area, SoundCloud, IDEO, Stanford’s d.school, ScraperWiki, Evri.com
Online News Association, MajorPlanet Studios, San Francisco Chronicle, Elefint Designs, New Media Ventures , Public Media X, Visual.ly Grey Area Foundation for the Arts, Hacks/Hackers
Big thanks for a great article by Eric Johnson at All Things D!
"What a weird weekend for journalism….."
What an amazing weekend! We had more than 75 people and 8 teams create some of the most innovative journalism tools I’ve ever seen. We’ll be posting a full round up of the projects, awards and source code soon. For now, a list of the teams:
Tyler Dukes, Dan Turner, Eric Johnson, Randall Leeds, Dan Whaley, Angela Woodall, Barbara Koh, Miriam Olson Jeffery and Jo Ellen Green Kaiser
Getting public data from the Web shouldn’t be hard — it belongs to you, after all. With Haystax, an open-source bookmarklet, collecting information from online sources like government databases is as easy as tapping a few keys. No coding. No cost. No problem.
BANTR: Bay Area News Trackr (Lila LaHood, Michael Coren, John Osborn, Masood Farivar, Bradford Cross, David Cohn)
Contextualize: Ken Pascual, Dan Ucko, Max McClure, Lauren Sommer, Rose Cima, Jeff Sandstoe)
On the record:
Alex, Barbara, Danny, Kyle, Mohcine, Renee, James
Dial Me.In (Paul Osman, Amir Shaiku, Pearl Lee)
My Evil Twin Likes Me:
What’s Going on?
Bird-dog.it (FOIA Tracker): (Chase Davis, Coulter Jones, Augie Armendariz, Michael Corey, John Cotton, Djordje Padejsia, Kiran Bhattaram, Shane Shifflett, Noor Al-Samarrai, La Toya Tooles, Garance Burke)
I just wanted to give everyone a shout out and say what an incredible job you did on a beautiful weekend! Full projects to come!
@mj_coren // firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks again to our sponsors and judges
Mozilla-Knight Open News
Center for Investigative Reporting
Hub Bay Area
Online News Association
San Francisco Chronicle
New Media Ventures
Public Media X
Grey Area Foundation for the Arts
What is NewsHack Day?
We’re bringing together journalists, developers and designers for some creative news coding and data reporting. Hackers and designers will work with reporters to come up with the future of journalism. A “liberate the data” code bootcamp on June 22 will precede the news hackathon on Saturday and Sunday.
You. Designers, journalists and programmers who want to help figure out better ways to report, produce and distribute the news. We only have space for 100 people, so see the signup for more details.
What should we make?
That’s up to you. We have Wiki for you to see all the data resources, and a list of projects that media companies would like to develop. Are you a journalist or media company with a Dream Project you want the community to hack? Post it here on our Wiki!
We will be focused on news tools and story hacks: tools to help journalists report, produce and publish news, as well as story hacks relying on data or some digital sleuthing. Topics are up to you to decide, but we’re lining up lots of data and prizes in several categories.
How does it all work?
Our About page explains it all. Basically, the event is taking a “hackathon as newsroom” approach. Teams form at the event (or through the registration page). We’ll have a digital ticker tape of ongoing projects and ideas streaming during the event. Editors will help teams work out any problems. The weekend is intended to quickly generate, mock up, test and share ideas, while ensuring the maximum collaboration. Your ideas will be presented at the end of the event.
What’s the goal?
We have three simple goals:
When: June 22 - 24
Brief schedule (see the full schedule here)
*** CodeBootcamp by ScraperWiki and NewsHack Social ***Friday, June 22
Coders (and interested journalists) are invited for a code bootcamp in Python/Ruby to “Liberate the Data” and turn public data into investigative stories and reporting. The code bootcamp will cover web-scraping, and then liberating public data. The first hour is a high-level overview open to anyone (journalists especially). The rest of the day (10:15 AM - 5:45 PM) will be dedicated to Learn to Scrape and then a Liberate the Data session to apply what you’ve learned
*** NewsHack Social *** Friday evening, June 22
We’re inviting attendees of NewsHack Day and code bootcamp (and guests) who would like to join the festivities to support NewsHack Day. Come out to enjoy excellent cocktails, beer and music with our event chefs Sam Lippman, executive chef at Airbnb, and cereal/serial entrepreneur Tim West. Drink, dance, then code tomorrow. 6:15 PM - 11 PM at the Hub SoMA.
*** NewsHack Day *** Sat + Sun, June 23-24
NewsHack Day brings together journalists, developers and designers for two days of creative news coding and data reporting. You don’t have to be an expert coder or seasoned editor: just bring your skills and enthusiasm to figure out the future of news. We’re focused on creating story hacks (digging up data-driven stories) and news tools (ways to make reporting, producing and publishing better). Prizes will be awarded. We start Saturday morning, and end 0n Sunday afternoon. You are free to sleepover at the Hub on Saturday night. More details will be sent once you register.
What is this hackathon thing?
Our hackathon is a 48-hour (all-night optional) event that brings together designers, developers, journalists with good ideas in the same physical space for a brief but intense period of collaboration, hacking, and building ‘cool stuff’ around news.
You can register on EventBrite here (to be posted). We ask everyone who signs up to register their name and interests before the event, and start trading ideas.
What will I eat? Where will I sleep?
We have you covered. Delicious food and drinks will be prepared by the head chef at Airbnb, Sam Lippman, and cereal/serial entrepreneur Tim West. We’re happy to have you spend Saturday night at the event: just bring a sleeping bag. We’ll have space.