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Can journalism and communications schools help shape the next generation of media entrepreneurs? Many schools have created special "labs" and innovation centers and are running courses aimed at building startups -- and a startup mentality. But how can they share knowledge, improve skills and have fun doing it? MediaShift is producing our first Journalism School Hackathon on the May 30/June 1, 2014 weekend, co-produced and hosted by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's School of Journalism and Mass Communication. We're convening a group of top students, faculty and professionals for the weekend Hackathon, with a real-world mission of solving a local media outlet's problem while learning more about innovation and entrepreneurship. The focus for the Hackathon will be on creating sustainable business models and revenues for news outlets.
The Hackathon will include both building solutions and key training talks from knowledgeable industry experts. Spotlighted speakers include Mark Briggs, director of digital media at KING5 and author of "Entrepreneurial Journalism" and "Journalism Next," and Robyn Tomlin, editor of Digital First Media's Project Thunderdome.
Challenges for the Hackathon are from McClatchy newspapers, the local non-profit Raleigh Public Record and local TV station WRAL. Here are the challenges:
How might we use high school sports to create tighter bonds within a community?
How might we increase awareness of outside influence on local elections?
Raleigh Public Record
How can we provide greater transparency into local government planning decisions and actions?
How It Works
From the students, faculty and pros assembled, we'll create "dream teams" with people from various schools on one team. Each team will have a mix of necessary disciplines -- editor/producer, designer, tech person, business-savyy pro or faculty facilitator -- who will learn to work together in the crucible of the weekend hackathon. The weekend will be a combination of focused talks and training from innovation leaders and experts, work sessions and final presentations of solutions. Faculty and industry experts will provide expertise to each team and help them rapidly develop their solution. Judges will pick winners, who can potentially work with local media company on solution.
The hackathon will be hosted by UNC's School of Journalism and Mass Communication and its Reese News Lab, which is focused on developing and testing new ideas for the media industry. The intention for the hackathon this year is to start the ball rolling, work out the kinks and continue annual Journalism School Hackathons at other participating schools. UNC will have potential on-campus housing for guests at reduced rates. We'll update this page with more info on housing.
All journalism and communications schools are invited to attend the Hackathon, as well as journalists, editors, technologists, entrepreneurs and others with an interest in networking, collaboration and innovation. The following schools have expressed an interest in the Hackathon, and we'll add to the list when others register:
- University of North Carolina's Reese News Lab
- University of Florida
- Newhouse School of Communication at Syracuse
- Scripps College of Communication at Ohio
- Knight Lab at Medill/Northwestern
- Georgetown University
- Northern Arizona University
- Duke University
- Elon University
Travel and housing costs are up to participants, but UNC will provide lower cost on-campus housing -- ranging from $119.70 per person for two nights for single occupancy rooms to $67.73 per person for two nights double occupancy. Regiser and pay for housing here!
Saturday, May 31 to Sunday, June 1, 2014
Plan to arrive Friday, May 30 and join us from 5-7pm for a mixer at 1789 Venture Lab, 173 1/2 East Franklin Street, 27514. The official start is early Saturday morning and closing Sunday afternoon to allow for plenty of travel time.
The Hackathon will be sponsored by Mozilla OpenNews. OpenNews connects a global network of developers, journalists, makers and hackers to collaborate on innovative code and new ideas. We believe a community of peers working, learning and solving problems together can create the tools journalism needs to thrive on the open Web. Keep up with that community via our website Source.
The Hackathon is also sponsored by Innovate @ Carolina, an initiative to push innovation and entrepreneurship at UNC Chapel Hill. The Chancellor’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship works to strengthen UNC’s innovation ecosystem to meet the needs of faculty, students, staff, and community members as they translate their novel ideas into practical benefit and change the world.
This is a working outline and subject to change.
Friday May 30:
> Arrival, Mixer at 1789 Venture Lab from 5-7pm at 173 1/2 East Franklin Street 27514
Saturday May 31
> Opening Session in the Freedom Forum. A kickoff event to welcome everyone and a brief keynote about why we are all here and the importance of it.
> Presentation of the problem from local media company.
> Breaking up into working teams.
> Training 1: Faculty or pro gives talk on brainstorming and idea generation.
> Work Session 1: Groups break up into teams for first session, brainstorming ideas using collaborative techniques.
> Working lunch: VC talk for startup perspective
> Working Session 2: Break into team and move beyond idea stage into production, setting up design, technology and business models.
> Training 2: Faculty or pro gives talk on design or development sprints.
> Working Session 3: Last work sprint of the day.
Sunday June 1:
> Group check-in on progress, with light breakfast in Hall of Fame room.
> Working Session 4: Continue development of prototypes and specs.
> Training 3: Faculty or pro gives talk on pitching.
> Final developments and work on pitch in teams.
> Presentation for judges and outside guests.
> Announcement of winners!
When & Where
Launched in 2006, MediaShift has become the premier destination for insight and analysis at the intersection of media and technology. The MediaShift network includes the sites MediaShift, EducationShift, and MetricShift, as well as workshops and weekend hackathons, email newsletters, a weekly podcast and a series of DigitalEd online trainings.
Visit the MediaShift website to learn more.