MOSCOW, September 20, RIA Novosti – Representatives of national and regional Russian media organizations and of the media community of Belarus will gather at RIA Novosti on November 10-11 to compete in the debut of GEN-RIA Novosti hackdays Moscow, an event aimed at creating innovative methods for processing large amounts of data in a modern-day newsroom environment.
The two-day event, to be held at RIA’s International Multimedia Press Center, will involve ten teams comprised of journalists, designers and software programmers. Among the media organizations that have already applied to participate are the magazines Esquire and Bolshoi Gorod, the online periodical Slon, Mercator Group, the news agencies Tatar-inform and BelTA, RIA Novosti, The Moscow News, the business news agency Prime, and RIA Rating.
The event is organized by the Global Editors Network (GEN), a nonprofit, non-governmental association committed to the principles of innovation and information sharing in the newsroom in partnership with RIA Novosti with support from Google. The organization empowers editors-in-chief, senior news executives, and media professionals by optimizing GEN’s network base to create new ideas and journalistic tools. It has already been joined by more than 900 editors-in-chief.
Speaking to RIA Novosti, Antoine Laurent, Global Editors Network Deputy Director and Director of the Editors Lab Program, described Editors’ Lab as “a kind of World Cup of innovation in the newsrooms.”
“It is a truly global series of journalism hackdays, and this is why it makes a lot of sense for us to come to Russia: we are present in all the major countries of the five continents,” Laurent said. “In Moscow we'll gather the most innovative people in Russian journalism, developers, journalists, designers, and have them produce innovative tools and content, to help their newsrooms harvest the possibilities of open data and big data in Russia. It will be a big challenge for the major newsrooms competing, as it is a very different way of working, and we hope the teams will bring this new experience and their projects back to their newsroom."
GEN-RIA Novosti hackdays Moscow is expected to become a platform for applying expertise in news journalism. Its participants will have an opportunity to share information, ideas, insight, and innovative news products developed as a result of research and massive data processing.
Each participating team will comprise three media professionals, including a software programmer, a designer and a journalist. They will be invited to process open-source data using special software designed to gather information of relevance to the public and present it to audiences in a convenient and comprehensible format, including in the form of infographics and diagrams. The assignments will also involve writing software or news applications for in-depth analysis and visual presentation of data. The idea is to develop new editorial strategies for selecting relevant information from massive amounts of data and to use this to create various media services.
Ivan Begtin, director and co-founder of the non-profit partnership Informatsionnaya Kultura, and RIA Novosti Creative Director Maya Stravinskaya will join members of the Google staff in holding three hour-long preparatory workshops for the teams.
The winning team will be determined by a panel jury, to include, along with Laurent and Begtin, Forbes Russia Editor-in-Chief Yelizaveta Osetinskaya and Vasily Gatov, CEO of the innovative center Novye Mediatekhnologii (New Media Technology). The winner will be invited to take part in the GEN Editors Lab finals, which will take place in Barcelona on June 11-12 as part of the 2014 GEN News Summit. The finals will involve 20 teams from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.
“GEN-RIA Novosti hackdays Moscow is a new opportunity for the media to structure their own expertise drawing from world experience,” RIA Deputy Editor-in-Chief Valery Levchenko said. “Journalists now gather information of relevance to the public by searching through massive amounts of data. Programmers assist them in retrieving relevant information in a convenient format, as well as in structuring, verifying and analyzing it, while designers help with visual presentation.
Levchenko believes that in the digital era, the media should set a standard for credibility, accuracy, accessibility and openness in news reporting. Presentation of news in line with these principles adds to the reliability of the content as well as that of the organization itself.
Editors often have to extract newsworthy information from massive amounts of data, much of which is meaningless, to then turn that information into content, giving an objective interpretation to statistics released by various organizations into the public domain.
“Data traditionally serves as raw material for journalistic content,” Stravinskaya said. “Modern interpretation of data is about promoting a broader reading of content and issues. Work with massive amounts of data helps draw conclusions on a different level. In this sense, so-called ‘big data’ can be an innovative journalistic practice.”
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