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.
Team: Paul Osman, Amir Shaiku, David Kim
Local flavor Award: BANTR: Bay Area News Trackr
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