City hosts BBC News Labs’ University Challenges

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City Hacks
City Hack is organised by BBC News Labs & Connected Studio in partnership with City University.

The first City University London Hackathon will take place this weekend as part of the BBC News Labs’ University Challenges.

Organised by BBC News Labs & Connected Studio in collaboration with City, the event brings together 23 participants from the university’s Journalism and Computer Science programmes.

The goal, according to BBC News Labs data scientist Sylvia Tippmann, is to build a tool that will help journalists dive deeper into topics and do meta-analysis on news articles.

She said the task for the student journalists and computer scientists will be to come up with different front-ends for the Juicer— the BBC’s experimental news aggregation tool.

“The challenge will be to find novel and interesting ways to present the data that grows by 15,000 articles a day at the moment,” Tippmann explained.

Working in groups of four to five, Tippmann said, the participants will be required to “build something”— a prototype that works.

“If your project is convincing, we would love to invite you to work with us in News Labs for a while to make it happen and move your prototype to a beautiful and fully functional tool for journalists.”

Director of City’s Newspaper and Interactive Journalism MA Jonathan Hewett described the event as a “happy convergence,” adding that City was excited to play host.

Journalism and technology, Hewett said, are increasingly converging and the hackathon would help journalism students learn how to collaborate with coders and programmers in news projects.

“A project can progress much more quickly when both the journalist and computer scientist know what is possible and what is needed rather than having a dialogue where the journalist is a few steps behind,” he said.

The BBC News Labs’ University Challenges seeks to engage the talents of student innovators and help universities use their collaborative potential to build innovative news tools.

You can follow the event @Interhacktives and #BBCityHack.

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