New journalism/technology prototypes unveiled Wednesday

On Wednesday, December 3, journalism and computer science students in the latest version of Northwestern’s “Collaborative Innovation in Journalism and Technology” class will unveil the prototypes they’ve built over the past 10 weeks. You’re invited to see what they’ve come up with.

The students have been working since September, when I and Associate Prof. Larry Birnbaum of the computer science department in the McCormick School formed seven interdisciplinary teams out of the 25 students enrolled in the class. We gave them a list of broadly defined project ideas, asked them for their preferences and tried to assign students to ideas they were most interested in.

The projects they will be presenting are:

  • NewsTube: A search engine for news video
  • Funnelist: A tool that helps journalists manage Twitter lists
  • MyNPR: An app for personalizing NPR podcasts
  • Slice: An "information diet" app for tracking a user's online behavior
  • Info+: A browser extension that provides context for news stories by displaying relevant tweets and Reddit threads
  • LocalPulse: A system that displays links most frequently shared on Twitter in different metropolitan areas
  • persoNews: An application that recommends news articles based on the content of a user's tweets.


In general, we strive for a mix of projects relevant to journalism and media: tools for journalists, software for publishers, and applications that could be useful or fun for media consumers.  We use an agile-development approach; teams are expected to present an updated version of their project each week.  Every team will present a functional prototype and outline additional work they would do if they had more time.

For the faculty, these classes are a lot of fun because we enjoy seeing the journalism and computer science students learn to communicate and collaborate.  Some projects could end up being further developed by the professional staff here at the Knight Lab.

Please RSVP for the event on MeetUp (Details: 5:30 pm (Chicago time), Wednesday, Dec. 3 at the McCormick Tribune Center -- 3rd floor, room 3-127). If you can't attend in person, we'll be streaming the presentation at http://bit.ly/Collab-Inno-Fall14.

We hope you'll join us, in person or on the live stream. Want to get a sense of the issues the students have been wrestling with? Check out the class blog, Tech Media Street.

About the author

Rich Gordon

Professor and Director of Digital Innovation

Journalism/tech intersection, my passion for 25 years, data journalism, Miami Herald web director, now hacker journalism.

Latest Posts

  • Introducing StorylineJS

    Today we're excited to release a new tool for storytellers.

    StorylineJS makes it easy to tell the story behind a dataset, without the need for programming or data visualization expertise. Just upload your data to Google Sheets, add two columns, and fill in the story on the rows you want to highlight. Set a few configuration options and you have an annotated chart, ready to embed on your website. (And did we mention, it looks great on phones?) As with all of our tools, simplicity...

    Continue Reading

  • Join us in October: NU hosts the Computation + Journalism 2017 symposium

    An exciting lineup of researchers, technologists and journalists will convene in October for Computation + Journalism Symposium 2017 at Northwestern University. Register now and book your hotel rooms for the event, which will take place on Friday, Oct. 13, and Saturday, Oct. 14 in Evanston, IL. Hotel room blocks near campus are filling up fast! Speakers will include: Ashwin Ram, who heads research and development for Amazon’s Alexa artificial intelligence (AI) agent, which powers the...

    Continue Reading

  • Bringing Historical Data to Census Reporter

    A Visualization and Research Review

    An Introduction Since Census Reporter’s launch in 2014, one of our most requested features has been the option to see historic census data. Journalists of all backgrounds have asked for a simplified way to get the long-term values they need from Census Reporter, whether it’s through our data section or directly from individual profile pages. Over the past few months I’ve been working to make that a reality. With invaluable feedback from many of you,......

    Continue Reading

  • How We Brought A Chatbot To Life

    Best Practice Guide

    A chatbot creates a unique user experience with many benefits. It gives the audience an opportunity to ask questions and get to know more about your organization. It allows you to collect valuable information from the audience. It can increase interaction time on your site. Bot prototype In the spring of 2017, our Knight Lab team examined the conversational user interface of Public Good Software’s chatbot, which is a chat-widget embedded within media partner sites.......

    Continue Reading

  • Stitching 360° Video

    For the time-being, footage filmed on most 360° cameras cannot be directly edited and uploaded for viewing immediately after capture. Different cameras have different methods of outputting footage, but usually each camera lens corresponds to a separate video file. These video files must be combined using “video stitching” software on a computer or phone before the video becomes one connected, viewable video. Garmin and other companies have recently demonstrated interest in creating cameras that stitch......

    Continue Reading

  • Publishing your 360° content

    Publishing can be confusing for aspiring 360° video storytellers. The lack of public information on platform viewership makes it nearly impossible to know where you can best reach your intended viewers, or even how much time and effort to devote to the creation of VR content. Numbers are hard to come by, but were more available in the beginning of 2016. At the time, most viewers encountered 360° video on Facebook. In February 2016, Facebook......

    Continue Reading

Storytelling Tools

We build easy-to-use tools that can help you tell better stories.

View More