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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.