The NewsCube project has won a Walkley Innovation Grant. The project was one of six projects in the running for a share of $40,000 in seed funding to develop the project. It’s exciting news and means I can develop a beta version of the product and make it available to storytellers.
Check out the Walkley Foundation for more on the grants.
The NewsCube has been developed as part of my PhD research, which explores how interaction design effects journalistic storytelling. Essentially, it set out to redesign journalism from a technology perspective, to create something that exploited digital media more than online journalism does currently.
The NewsCube is a platform that allows journalists to research, create and publish complex stories. It is designed to facilitate storytelling from multiple perspectives and encourage information synthesis. With a NewsCube, journalists can aggregate existing stories and documents, create relationships between items and organise story components. They can also share their stories and involve users in the storytelling process.
It aims to make quality journalism more engaging. If publishers can boost reader engagement with important stories, then they get more or their readers’ time and attention, and they can capture audiences who come back. For media companies this is more valuable than clicks or shares.
Feedback on the prototype suggests the NewsCube has some important qualities for boosting reader engagement. Participants said the NewsCube:
- could increase time on site;
- was appealing to younger audiences;
- provided added value to readers.
With the grant money secured the focus now is on design and development. Design is in the creative hands of David Lloyd, and the development is being handled by the creative computer engineer Andrea Epifani. Meanwhile, the next event on the NewsCubed Pty Ltd startup calendar is the Journalism Entrepreneur’s Workshop in Melbourne in August. This is part of the Walkely Innovation Grants program. The workshop is being run by Lisa Williams, the Director of Digital Engagement for the Investigative News Network.