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Focusing on the individual: Al Jazeera’s #Hacked game on the Syrian cyberwar

| February 8, 2017 – 5:58 pm | 336 views

Investigative journalist Juliana Ruhfus offers insights into an interactive game based on the real-life events of Syria’s cyberwar.

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The big challenges of special projects

| February 16, 2017 – 1:34 pm | 222 views

As audience consumption habits continue to evolve as the digital media industry grows, newsrooms have been experimenting with bold new projects to engage audiences. A selection of these special projects were the topic of discussion at newsrewired last week (8 February), where delegates heard about The Guardian’s VR immersive experience 6×9, Quartz’ 25 Days of exchange and The Financial Times Seven Robots you need to know.

But what are the challenges of producing such a project, and what do journalists need to think about when undertaking one?

Collaboration between different departments

For a special project to work, it’s important to integrate different people and opinions within your company, explained Francesca Panetta, special projects editor at the Guardian, but many different people on the same team can cause tensions.

Panetta explained that early on in the production process of 6×9, opposition arose between the newsroom and other teams such as the multimedia department or interactive team.

“That tension has to be broken down right from the beginning – if you think you can do it in isolation, you’re in for a bumpy start,” she said, noting that good relationships are a cornerstone of finishing special projects successfully.

“Marketing and commercial teams speak in many different languages  and you have to show you understand their world and show they can trust you.”

Funding and partnerships

Special projects are innovative and often a lot larger than general newsroom projects. Therefore, there has to be more time spent on getting proper funding and building partnerships, explained Lauren Brown, special projects editor, Quartz.

“The open communication with the advertisers can also bring new story ideas from their side,” she said, explaining that her team strives for a coherent piece in which the native advertising fits in, rather than breaking or diminishing the design of the project.


Once the project is ready to launch, distribution is the next challenge, noted Panetta, explained that special projects don’t fall within the same newsroom rhythm and are therefore less limited by time.

“If you create something for so long and it doesn’t date, it shouldn’t be available for just a few weeks but for months,” she said, explaining that traditional ways of distribution therefore don’t work, and new and innovative ways of distributing the content must be developed.

Define success

Once your special project has been launched and the time has come for reflection,  it is important your newsroom is able to assess successes and failures well, explained Robin Kwong, special projects editor, the Financial Times.

He notes this can be a variety of ways, such as winning awards, good metrics, peer praise or brand exposure.

“On bigger projects, it’s quite hard to measure success, because you don’t have a baseline you can compare to”, he said, noting that at the Financial Times, the special projects team measures success by how much of their work turned out the way the wanted it to.

Making out what success means at the beginning during conceptualisation will help at the end, and can give important insights for your next special project, he advised.

On Our Radar: 3 challenges of remote storytelling

| February 8, 2017 – 6:27 pm | 318 views

On Our Radar is a non-profit communications agency that focuses on underreported stories from marginalised communities. It has produced a handful of projects in partnership with citizen journalists from various communities, such as “Back in Touch”, …

As it happened: Special projects

| February 8, 2017 – 5:01 pm | 206 views

Some editorial initiatives bring down newsroom walls and get many different teams working together. Our closing session will look at the “special projects” strategies in newsrooms, and the challenges and opportunities they bring, whether it’s …

As it happened: Collaborative storytelling: Using technology to source stories from remote communities

| February 8, 2017 – 4:40 pm | 307 views

On Our Radar trains and supports citizen journalists from marginalised and remote communities. The organisation released an interactive documentary telling the stories of life after Ebola in communities in Sierra Leone. Paul Myles, editorial manager, will give insights …

How journalists can protect themselves against the “snooper’s charter”

| February 8, 2017 – 4:23 pm | 852 views

Speaking at news:rewired, Silkie Carlo offered some tips on how journalists should protect themselves against hacks and interceptions.

As it happened: Gaming principles in storytelling

| February 8, 2017 – 4:18 pm | 280 views

Juliana Ruhfus, senior reporter for Al Jazeera’s People & Power investigative and current affairs strand, worked on producing Al Jazeera’s news games, from its first ever project of this kind, Pirate Fishing, to the most recent, …

As it happened: Kickstarting R&D culture in European newsrooms

| February 8, 2017 – 2:57 pm | 283 views

Starting up a new project can be tricky – from funding it to implementing new workflows in the organisation, there are many factors to consider along the way. This session brings together three funding recipients of …

As it happened: Digital security for journalists

| February 8, 2017 – 2:41 pm | 213 views

This workshop will outline the basics of information security for newsrooms, explaining why journalists should be concerned with online privacy in the first place – led by Silkie Carlo, policy officer (technology), Liberty.
There are limited places …

As it happened: Making data visualisations and interactives work on mobile

| February 8, 2017 – 2:03 pm | 343 views

Learn from data teams in newsrooms about the practical ups and downs of making their work more mobile-friendly.
• Colleen McEnaney, graphics editor, The Wall Street Journal
• Martin Stabe, head of interactive news, The Financial Times
Moderated by: John …

As it happened: Live video on social media

| February 8, 2017 – 10:11 am | 515 views

Our opening panel will discuss the impact live video on Facebook and other social networks can have on audience engagement, from the formats that work best, to the technology, the workflows and the ethical considerations …

As it happened: From fake news to misidentifying suspects: Best practices for tackling the misinformation ecosystem

| February 8, 2017 – 9:22 am | 547 views

In this keynote, Claire Wardle, who leads strategy and research at First Draft, will consider the whole spectrum of the misinformation ecosystem, and using research about audience behaviour and social psychology, will outline ways that newsrooms …