24.com hosts 1st Sub-Sahara African Media Hackathon

2013-09-09 11:15

Africa’s largest digital news publisher 24.com hosted sub-Saharan Africa’s first newsroom hackathon, in Cape Town, this past weekend (September 6 -7, 2013).

The two-day EditorsLab saw 14 teams from across South Africa compete to build the most innovative news-driven mobile app or website, with expert support from the initiative’s sponsors, the Global Editors’ Network, the African Media Initiative and Google.  

Previous Editors’ Labs have been hosted at world-renowned newsrooms including the New York Times in the USA, the Guardian in the UK, El Pais in Spain and 17 other international thought-leader media.

The Cape Town hackathon was hosted at 24.com’s digital headquarters, and saw teams from all of South Africa’s major news organisations.  Each 3-person team consisted of a journalist, a designer and a developer.  They used public data or other content to build mobile apps or digital tools that help audiences better understand or engage with the world around them.

24.com’s parent company, Media24, believes that digital innovation is so important to the future of journalism, that it sent separate teams from its Media24 Digital News, Media24 Magazines Digital Division, News24, and City Press divisions.  Other media teams who attended include BDFM (the publishers of Business Day and Financial Mail), Cape Times, Daily Maverick, Eyewitness News (from Talk Radio 702 and CapeTalk FM), Oxpeckers Center for Environmental Investigative Journalism, SABC Digital News, the South African Press Association (Sapa), the Sunday Times and West Cape News.  The Johannesburg chapter of digital newsroom pioneers, Hacks/Hackers is also sent a team.

A cheeky ‘dating game’ app designed to help South Africans find the political party that best matches their interests won 1st prize. The PartyMatch app was designed by an all woman team from the Sunday Times.

Team members Loni Prinsloo (journalist), Fiona Krisch (designer) and Carla Goldstein (developer) scored a R20,000 cash prize (roughly $2,200), plus an all expense paid trip to the GEN Summit and Global Data Journalism Awards in Barcelona, Spain, in June 2014. While in Spain, the South Africans will compete with EditorsLa from 18 other countries at the event, during a Global News Hackathon.


Says Geoff Cohen, CEO of 24.com: “The main objective of the Editors' Lab is to produce new and open journalistic tools, and to promote a culture of innovation within newsrooms. Their mission statement couldn’t lie closer to that of 24.com’s so it was a simple decision to host the event. ”

GEN deputy director Antoine Laurent, who manages the global Editors’ Lab program says: “! This was without a doubt one of the most impressive hackdays we have organised to date.The winning team produced an excellent app, with a great editorial idea and a smooth and clever implementation, and the overall outcome of the contest is of very high editorial and technical standards, with a majority of finished working prototypes almost ready to be published. South Africa boasts an incredibly vivid media innovation community.”


They were judged on editorial quality, technique, design and originality by three judges:  Justin Arenstein from AMI, Michelle Atangana, from Memeburn, and Antoine Laurent from the Global Editors Network.


For more visit www.globaleditorsnetwork.org

Follow GEN on Twitter: @EditorsNet

Join GEN at Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+


For more information please contact Genevieve Cutts on 082 546 4043 or genevieve@mango-omc.com

ABOUT 24.com

24.com is a leading African network of popular digital publishing brands and online services across internet, mobile, applications and interactive TV. Centered on News24, 24.com is dedicated to creating and sustaining uniquely African online and mobile communities. As South Africa's largest digital publishing house, the network welcomes over 6 million local Unique Browsers monthly.


For more information, visit www.24.com


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