I went to an Ideathon on Friday, organised by WAN-IFRA. We were given the task of defining concrete challenges in journalism that developers and journalists can work on together. Here are four of them:
1. How to tag an article archive with geolocation data?
News sites are looking to provide their readers with content that is specific to their location. They’re sitting on millions of articles that have no geolocation data. Is there a way to add these tags in retrospect?
2. How to present an article archive going back many, many years?
Again, traditional news organisations have archives that go back to the early 20th, sometimes 19th century. There is a lot of value in this. How can news sites make better use of their archives? How can they present them to readers? How can they monetize them?
3. Allow readers to challenge the facts
This was my favourite one: Journalists love challenging other people’s facts. But when it comes to letting other people challenge facts in journalism, there isn’t much going on. Can we think of an interface that lets readers flag information in an article and provide contradicting information (e.g. links) to back up their challenge? What would the workflow look like behind such a tool? How to prevent abuse?
4. How to make article versions and corrections more transparent?
News sites are still not doing a great job when it comes to making corrections and additions to their articles more transparent. If they mention them at all, it’s in the form of a note at the very bottom of the article. Can we think of a better way to highlight corrections? And can we think of a better way to show how an article has changed (e.g. as more information became available)?