Looking back on day one of SNDMakes Austin

Nearly 50 designers, developers, product owners, students and educators are gathered at the Austin American-Statesman this weekend to tackle the question, “How might we design tools that promote community?”

For our fourth ‘Makes’ cohort, we’re fortunate to have both the Austin tech and media scenes heavily represented, not only infusing a tremendous local spirit, but also providing first-rate recommendations for all the important things. Like barbecue. And coffee. And live music. And tacos. (Especially tacos.)

As we close the curtain on day one, allow us to introduce the teams (named after local neighborhoods) and share the projects they will be prototyping.

Team Zilker

Tashween Ali, social media strategist, Buzzfeed

Chris Coyier, chief, CodePen

Alex Duner, student, Northwestern University / Knight Lab

Dheerja Kaur, product, TheSkimm

Our idea is to create a prototype that can look through Twitter data (and ideally several platforms) of a large community and find the most influential community person in a specific sub-community  (for example TheSkimm followers in Austin). This will allow community managers to identify star players, who they can reach out to and: thank, elect as army leaders, get feedback from, etc.

Team Town Lake

Liam Andrew, developer, Texas Tribune

Agnes Mazur, social media strategist, Vox.com

Katherine Nagasawa, student, Northwestern University / Knight Lab,

Adam Schweigert, product, Institute for Non-profit News

We propose a revamp of the traditional “topic page” into an interactive, human-curated hub that summarizes current events by assembling content and conversations from disparate parts of the web (social media, the homepage, and other news sources).  Existing topic pages are static, or automatically feed in news stories in chronological order. A curated hub would give reporters more ownership over the topic, and allow the audience to drive the conversation and highlight story points that might otherwise be drowned out.

Team Manchaca

Drew Berger, developer, Facebook

Angel Colberg, designer, Coral Project

Lauren Katz, editor, Vox.com

Andrew Keil, product, ATX Built

Newsroom editors need a simple way to gather, organize and publish user generated content in order to highlight new voices and tell important stories – we’re tackling the organizational aspect. Whether focused on fun or serious topics, user generated content can be used to tell a new story or follow up with an existing article. Sharing is a huge aspect of community, and developing an organized system will allow editors to more easily create content that both informs and adds value for the readers.

Team Tarrytown

Nicholas Branco, student, Raritan Valley

Andrew Losowsky, product, Coral Project

Greicy Mella, designer, New York Daily News

Jolie McCullough, developer, Texas Tribune

Jessica Morrison, editor, Chemical and Engineering News

TK is a closed communities tool for the engaged beat journalist who wants to generate discussion or collect feedback from trusted readers around a specific topic area or a set of topics.

Team Rosedale

Chuck Carpenter, developer, National Geographic Society

Jake Lear, product, Vox Product

TJ McClarty, product, Austin American-Statesman

Kristi Walker, student, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Hannah Wise, developer, Dallas Morning News

Our idea is a system built for community managers to recognize and reward user generated content. It will add a layer of quality and value to existing online communities. This will promote the quality of community engagement and build a more loyal audience.

Team Bouldin Creek

Andrew Chavez, developer, Austin American-Statesman

Chris Haines, product, Vox Product

Amanda Krauss, developer, Texas Tribune

Megan McGaha, student, Centenary College

Our idea is called “No Thanks Obama.” It is a filtering and feedback loop tool for social media managers and reporters. Social media managers and reporters have a lot of feedback endpoints to manage and good feedback or important questions can be lost amongst the noise. We want to help identify the important and relevant questions and comments so that they can have more meaningful engagement with their community and their community feels better served.

Team Sixth Street

Annie Daniel, developer, Texas Tribune

Matt Dennewitz, product, Pitchfork

Tyler Sax, developer, Facebook

Emily Yount, designer, Washington Post

Article Club: Using a Chrome extension, you can contribute links to a “bundle” to contextualize the content you’re currently consuming. Others can view bundles to learn casually and/or deeply about a topic. Bundles serve readers who may be intimidated by an ongoing news story, such as the Islamic State, or can catch you up on the relevance of an event, like who Missy Elliott is and everyone is thrilled she’s back. A link can belong to many bundles and is categorized as for the casual, engaged or expert reader. A link can transport you to any type of media: articles, videos, podcasts, graphics, etc.

Team SoCo

Michael Donohoe, developer, New Yorker

Melanie Gibson, product, Cox Media Group

Kathryn McElroy, designer, IBM Watson

Erik Palmer, professor, Southern Oregon University

Caroline Pate, developer, The Spokesman-Review

We are empowering and activating smaller communities to engage in healthy discussion. Our solution is Rise, a website add-on that creates channels for specific audiences and allows them to post and read relevant information for a hyper-local area. Our product benefits newsroom workers and their readers by allowing users to post their own timely, relevant conversations while also seeing professional news articles specifically relevant to their location and interests.

Team Rainey Street

Ben Hasson, designer, Texas Tribune

Josh Romero, developer, freelance

Traci Schoenberg, product, Cox Media Group

Kristyn Wellesley, editor, Cox Media Group

Reaction Scrapper is a tool to centralize comments from various sources allowing reporters to quickly and efficiently gauge reactions. There is often a lack of insight into community conversation around stories/series because they are happening in lots of different places. This tool will eliminate the blind spot and provide a tool to gauge reaction, understand an unanticipated reaction, test assumptions, mine for follow-up stories, and provide qualitative data as a complement to quantitative.

Team Silicon Hills

Aidan Feay, developer, Vox Product

Sydette Harris, editor, Coral Project

Josh Kadis, product, Alley Interactive

Ashlyn Still, developer, Cox Media Group

Converge is a news utility that turns journalistic content into community action. Participants can connect provide resources , and organize events based on expressed interests and breaking news. Converge makes finding, and deepening contact with communities,fun , organized and centered around your journalism.

Event planning and production

Steve Dorsey, Vice President of Innovation and Planning, Austin American-Statesman. Past-president, Society for News Design.

Kyle Ellis, Director of Strategic Programs, Society For News Design. Formerly, The Business Journals, and CNN Digital.

Ramla Mahmood, Designer at Vox Media. SND board member.

Miranda Mulligan, Digital specialist, news design veteran, and SND board member.

It takes a village to program each ‘Makes’ event, and this one wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of our event partner, the Austin American-Statesman.

We’d also like to thank our event hosts

Alley Interactive




Vox Product

And our funding organizations

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Dow Jones News Fund

Scripps Howard Foundation

Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation

About SNDMakes

is a series of collaborative, prototyping events focused on digital media design and community.

Leave a Reply