#SNDMakes at #SNDDC: “How might we better tell picture stories?”

(Editor’s note: Thanks to our friends at Sixth Engine, we are excited to announce the first two days of #SNDMakes will be hosted at one of D.C.’s oldest firehouses. This gorgeous space will help set the tone for collaboration and focused ideation in a creative environment! Sprints and final presentations will remain at the Newseum on Friday, April 10, where #SNDMakes participants who have signed-up for the conference will be able to immediately jump into sessions.)

We’re thrilled to announce the third iteration of #SNDMakes, will be held in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with our annual workshop. This time, we’re focused on thinking beyond the slideshow, and driving innovation around visual narratives.

Some potential design challenge statements could be:

  • “How might we better tell picture stories?”
  • “How might we add context to multimedia stories?”
  • “How might we boost visual stories with ambient video and gifs?”
  • “How might we tell visual stories with the user in mind?”
  • “How might we design our teams to improve visual storytelling?”

What is this event?

#SNDMakes is a 2.5-day facilitated, design-a-thon. Utilizing design-thinking principles, curated teams each generate a working prototype in response to a design challenge. The event’s theme, or design challenge, addresses news and media challenges.

These events are about community, not competition; just ask Dheerja, or Lisa or the Vox Product team. They are not hackathons, so we discourage working through the night (unless you want to, of course).

We believe in knowledge-sharing as an integral focus of the program. Therefore, we use the lightning talk format, which is designed to lend insight into projects and passions shared by peers in our community. The presentations take place during lunch on the first two days. If you are interested, include a pitch in your registration below.

During past events, teams have prototyped some exciting ideas. Some of theme include: a tool that contextualizes the bits of a story over time, an idea to help viewers with variable amounts of free time consume video content at their own pace, some designs for presenting and improving readability of long-form stories on mobile devices, a prototype designed to help publishers curate their reader’s next click, and an awesome tool to allow editors to preview their content across search and social platforms before its published.

Who should apply?

We encourage all to apply. #SNDMakes is a design event not just for designers. No matter your role, if you are interested we’d love to consider your participation. While we rapidly develop prototypes of ideas, you don’t need technology skills to make meaningful contributions to a team. We look for a passion for journalism, narrative, publishing ideas, and a desire to collaborate … we find a role for every skill level and expertise.

Our event brings together some of the brightest minds from agencies, new and legacy media organizations, publishing platforms, and the open-source community alike. We welcome expertise from professionals who work inside and outside of newsroom walls.

We’re leading an on-going conversation about the biggest issues in digital journalism, and creating solutions that will inform an industry.

What will happen at #SNDMakes DC?

We are continuously iterating and improving this event through past experience and participant feedback. Here’s what to expect:

  • Due to overwhelming popularity, and our desire to curate perfectly composed working teams—think, designed dinner party not hackathon free-for-all—we are going to try out an an application process for the first time. The Society For News Design is committed to creating an environment that champions diversity, inclusion, and reflects our community’s wide range of skills. Also, the #SNDMakes event model assumes an intimate group of participants. So, the application is a tool to help the event producers curate a socially responsible, high-functioning, collaborative environment.
  • The application will close at 9 p.m. EST on Friday, February 20, 2015. All applicants will be notified of their acceptance status by Friday, February 27, and provided with purchase details.
  • The event begins Wednesday, April 8 at 9 a.m. and runs through two full days and one half day ending on Friday, April 10 at 1 p.m. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate participants who are unable to commit to the full event. Here’s how it breaks down:
    • Wednesday: breakfast, brainstorming, team formation, sketching and scoping prototypes. During lunch we’ll have 5 lightning talks.
    • Thursday: breakfast, all-day designated team-work-time, two group status-update presentations. During lunch we’ll have 5 lightning talks.
    • Friday: remaining team-work-time and demo prep, presentations and lunch.
  • Again, due to the event’s model, all accepted participants are required to commit to the full event. We cannot accommodate late arrivals, early departures.
  • Selected #SNDMakes participants will be asked to purchase an event ticket, which includes meals and snacks at Sixth Engine, swag and supplies throughout the program. Support and funding from the Society For News Design and our event’s partner Vox Product, in conjunction with grants from Dow Jones News Fund and the Scripps Howard Foundation, is used to off-set much of the total cost.
  • There are a limited number of partial travel scholarships available to students and professionals alike. Details can be found in the event application form.
  • If you are attending the SND D.C. workshop, you’ll notice that we have developed a “Makes” track within the overall program, intended to give you the option to attend #SNDMakes and hear from the workshop’s kick-ass speakers. We’ve created discount plans exclusive to Makes participants.
  • What: #SNDMakes: “How might we better tell picture stories?”
  • When: April 8-10, 2015; applications due Friday, February 20. Particpants notified by Friday, February 27.
  • Cost: $100 for #SNDMakes only | $320 for #SNDMakes, and partial workshop registration ($50 off the cost of #SNDMakes) | $400 for #SNDMakes, partial workshop registration, and a one-year SND membership ($50 off the cost of #SNDMakes, $30 off the cost of membership)
  • Event sites: April 8-9: Sixth Engine | 438 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, D.C.; April 10: The Newseum | 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
  • Event hotel: The Washington Court Hotel | Group code: SND2015 ($179/night)

Questions? Contact Kyle Ellis or Miranda Mulligan.

Event planning and production team

Trei Brundrett, Chief Product Officer at Vox Media. Find him at @clockwerks.

Mike Case, Chief of Staff at Vox Media. Find him at @MikeACase.

Kyle Ellis, Product Development Manager at The Business Journals and SND board member. Formerly CNN Digital, the Las Vegas Sun, and the New York Post. Find him at @KyleEllis.

Ramla Mahmood, Designer at Vox Media. SND board member. Find her at @ramoved.

Miranda Mulligan, Creative Director at National Geographic Digital. SND board member. Formerly Knight Lab and the Boston Globe. Find her at @jmm.

Event partner and support

Vox Media, publisher of SB Nation, The Verge, Polygon, Curbed, Eater, Racked and Vox.com. Find them at @VoxProduct.

Scholarships made possible by

Dow Jones News Fund

Knight Foundation

Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation

Scripps Howard Foundation