The Global Editors Network, together with Yle, organized a two-day Yle Editors Lab hackathon on April 13-14, 2016. The GEN Editors Lab program is a series of hackdays hosted by leading news organizations around the world.
Seven teams consisting of three people gathered to plan and build prototypes of new innovative ways to build better communities around news sites. I was part of Svenska Yle’s team together with Mårten Seiplax and Mattias Erkkilä. The other teams represented MTV, Me Naiset, SuperMashApp, Affecto, Symbio and Yle Uutiset.
Day one started off by welcoming speeches and two workshops by Google News Lab and BBC News. What really stuck in my mind, though, was the fascinating session of Speed Geeking.
Speed Geeking is just like speed dating with a geeky twist, and a somewhat different goal. Each team had three minutes to showcase their latest innovations they had been working on during the past months. It was very interesting to see the projects of other newsrooms.
Next up was a brainstorming session after which the teams started to build their prototypes. Day 1 ended with a mini pitch session where each team had exactly one minute to describe the problem they were trying to solve and what they were going to prototype. The evening was then spent having drinks and chats, and coding of course.
Day 2 was entirely reserved for a coding sprint where the teams continued working on their prototypes. The venue was made very cosy and there was a good and relaxed atmosphere throughout the event. The well organized catering made sure we were never hungry or thirsty, and that we got regular doses of caffeine ;)
Our team's idea was about co-creating content together with the news site visitors. We created a prototype of a Drupal module called “Suggest”, which allows visitors to contribute to the article and enter their suggestions for what should be changed in the text. The module is still in a sandbox-stage and can be found here.
Nearing the end of day two the teams were testing out their demos and rehearsing their presentations for the final pitch session. Pitching your idea and presenting your prototype in only five minutes can be challenging, but all teams managed well and the jury was anything but unanimous.
After a difficult and heated discussion the jury had come to a decision and announced Yle Uutiset’s team as the winner with their innovation, “The Beef”. In June the winning team gets an all-expenses-paid trip to the final hackathon, the GEN Summit, taking place in Vienna, Austria. There they will go up against the winners from all the other Editor Lab hackathons the GEN has organized in various countries.
Congratulations to Teemo, Ville and Juha from Yle Uutiset!
PS. Check out all the teams and their prototypes from the GEN website.