Tag Archives: innovation

Hacks/Hackers Austin: Innovation in Media

Tim Lott, vice president of disruptive innovation of Cox Media Group, met with Hacks/Hackers Austin in a joint meetup with Online News Association on Jan. 28 at the Statesman to discuss the activities of his team. They are working on TwelveApp, but are also pioneering in new ways to approach innovation. During the talk, Tim discussed the lean startup process, working to develop a minimum viable product (MVP), that can be implemented and tested quickly. This process relies on iterative development and quick prototyping. Tim was joined by other members of his team, Zach McGhee and Rocky Medure.

There were several questions. Rob Quigley of The University of Texas asked what students should be doing to stay on top of innovation. Tim said students should “read a lot and practice creative confidence.” He went on to explain that a focus on making things that allow people to communicate and solve problems will be critical.

Another question had to do with risk around the sharing of ideas, with concerns that an idea could be “stolen.” Medure said, “There is enormous value in sharing ideas. It synthesizes new ideas.” It is unlikely that someone has the passion, commitment and resources to execute your idea, but your likelihood of success is much greater if you talk to more people.

Refreshments were sponsored by the Austin American-Statesman. Stay tuned for details on a February Hackathon. We appreciate the time that Tim, Zach and Rocky spent with us!

10 Days Left Until Hackathon[YAN] Yerevan 2011

10 Days Left Until Hackathon[YAN] Yerevan 2011

Public Journalism Club and Microsoft Innovation Center Armenia, the organizers of Hackathon[YAN] Yerevan contest which will take place on 17-18 December 2011, have received over 50 applications from teams willing to take part in the competition. 50 teams submitted projects that aim at solving the issues of Yerevan, Armenia’s capital.

Projects will be hacking issues related to health, transportation, education, environment, problems of disabled people living in the city and tourism. Hachathon [YAN] Yerevan 2011 is dedicated to solving the problems that Yerevan and city’s inhabitants deal with.

The result of this Hachathon is most likely to be the creation of a number of prototypes for ready-made projects that can be implemented not only by municipal government but also by the structures and circles focused on the city issues, as well as through active engagement of people.

Hackathon[YAN] Yerevan 2011 contest will start on 17 December and will last 24 hours. During the round-the-clock contest, the teams will have to develop and publicly present their programs, applications, mobile solutions and web sites or their prototypes/demo versions to the panel of judges.


  • Best project. Best project will receive a prize from Yerevan Town Hall.
  • Three best projects developed on the basis of Microsoft technology will receive cash prizes from Microsoft Innovation Center (1 million Armenian Drams= 2600 USD, 500, 000 Armenian Drams =1300 USD and 300,000 Armenian Drams = 755 USD respectively, which is about).
  • Three best mobile solutions will receive cash prizes (500,000 Armenian Drams = 1300 USD each) from Enterprise Incubator Foundation in Armenia.
  • Best social project will receive a cash prize of 350,000 Armenian Drams = 900 USD from Cronimet Charity Foundation. Best Media and Society project will receive an implementation grant from Alternative Resources in Media Programme.

Apart from the abovementioned prizes, the participating teams will also receive runner-up prizes and certificates from GNC Alfa Company, Public Journalism Club and Hacks/Hackers.

The panel of judges will have the right to dismiss the announcement of winners in several categories in case there are no projects complying with the terms and standards of the contest.

The deadline for submission of applications was 15 November 2011.

The organizers of the event have held over a dozen meetings with students, representatives of IT industry and public sector in universities presenting the Hackathon and helping interested applicants to form teams.

On November 30 and December 1, Karl Davies-Barrett, DPE technical Lead for CEE and Multi-Country, delivered workshop sessions designed specifically for the participants of Hackathon [YAN] Yerevan 2011 competition. Workshop sessions provided the teams with relevant knowledge on methodology of Microsoft cloud solutions software development as well as current trends and peculiarities of software development for Windows phones.

Purpose of Hackathon[YAN] Yerevan2011: To create an opportunity for creative and innovative people to collaboratively build programs aimed at resolving Yerevan’s issues; to build collaborative atmosphere for both programmers and other specialists for implementing innovative ideas and initiating social reforms; to encourage collaboration between representatives of the IT sector and other fields aimed at the implementation of projects and ideas serving the public interest. The contest is supported by Yerevan Town Hall, Microsoft, Counterpart International Representative Office in Armenia, Enterprise Incubator Foundation, leading telecommunications and information technology companies, media organizations. Media sponsors of Hackathon[YAN] Yerevan 2011 are PanarmenianNet Online News Publication and Arka News Agency.

Contact us if you want to learn more about Hackathon[YAN] Yerevan 2011 at info@pjc.am.

Hacks/Hackers Boston Knight Mozilla Beerathon

Hacks/Hackers Boston Knight Mozilla Beerathon

(Cross-posted from beta.boston.com)


Stitching together multiple realtime video feeds, syncing questions and and answers to videos, crowd-sourced editing of video highlights, and automated news karaoke — these were some of the ideas brainstormed at Monday’s Knight Mozilla Hacks/Hackers Boston Beerathon.



Knight Mozilla Hacks/Hackers meetupThe crowd of “hackers, reporters, editors, students, interested oddballs, etc.” (as described by Globe Creative Technologist Chris Marstall) met up at MIT’s Medial Lab to tackle the topic of “Unlocking video”, the first of three Knight Mozilla Innovation Challenges (the others are reinventing discussions and general ‘blow our minds’ killer news apps).

The Innovation Challenges are open to one and all — anyone with an idea about how to “hack the future of news,” as Mark Surman of Mozilla put it. Mark certainly knows how to motivate both journalists and hackers. As my colleague Damon Kiesow noted, “Mark must have mentioned the free beer 33 times.”

Beyond beer, the challenges have a fabulous prize. Twenty finalists will be invited to Berlin for a week and given help to prototype their ideas. Then of those, five people will be given a one-year paid internship embedded in a major news organization (the luckiest of whom will come to Boston.com to work with us). There’s a fun animation describing the process at the MoJo site, drumbeat.org/journalism.

For the first challenge,
a lot of the ideas revolved around the new capabilities of HTML5 video (as sketched out on pieces of paper). One group of participants suggested letting users search by person and phrase, so you could get a time line of what a politician had said on an issue. Two groups had ideas related to letting viewers identify the most interesting bits in long videos.

Other brainstorms involved letting viewers compare videos side-by-side or create a sort of wiki based on questions people ask in sync to the video. The last suggestion was to let you add a hot beat to a news clip, remove the words, and let you sing along. For more glimpses of the ideas, check out the photos posted by Jenny 8. Lee.

The event may have been summed up best by Boston.com developer Miguel Menchu who praised the open approach to getting good ideas: “you have ideas, you show up, I like it.”

If you’d like to offer up your ideas, or your comments on ideas, please head on over to the Knight Mozilla site. They’ve got everything there but the beer and pizza.

For more information on Hacks/Hackers Boston, join us at meetupbos.hackshackers.com and follow us on Twitter: @HacksHackersBos. Our next event, on May 19th, will dive into Data Visualizations, and using data to explain the world around us.

Below are some of the sketches.










Welcome to the online home of Hacks/Hackers

Welcome to Hacks/Hackers, the online community for discussion around real-life meetups of the same name.

This site will be a group blog about journalism and technology from the epicenter of the media revolution. We will talk about new tools and solutions, highlight best practices, and celebrate innovators and entrepreneurs working to build the future of news.

In this new era, the power is in the audience’s hands. We have only begun to see how the news and information will change from the equalizing power of the Internet. Mobile and wireless technology has made media even more a part of our lives at every moment. Meanwhile, traditional media are struggling to adapt as their monopoly on distribution slips away. By choice or necessity, journalists are becoming entrepreneurs and building personal brands, starting sites focused on niche topics and local beats.

We have only begun to see how the news and information will change from the equalizing power of the Internet.

Where this leads us will incorporate some of journalism’s well-worn traditions, like fact checking and critical thinking. But the new media age will be built in greater collaboration with audiences, who can now all commit acts of journalism.

News has always fundamentally been about “social media,” giving people common stories to share and connecting them to others far away. News is now more social than ever, with friends acting as de-facto editors and conversations blossoming on social networking sites.

I look forward to following this journey with all of you and fostering a community of people deeply engaged in not only talking about the future of media, but also actively experimenting to push things forward. There will be stumbles and failures along the way, all of which will help us figure out where we’re going.

Hacks and Hackers panel on future of online magazines, Jan. 7, 2010. (Photo by Patrick Donohue)