After 2.5 days of ideation and prototyping, 30 pounds of barbecue, 1080 ounces of coffee, and 150 tacos, we’ve closed the books on SNDMakes Austin.
Cross-functional teams of designers, developers, product owners, educators and students gathered to prototype 10 solutions that chip away at the question, “How might we invent tools that promote community?” Participants came from a wide-range of media backgrounds with a total of 22 different organizations being represented. This cohort had a heavy local presence with team members from the likes of the Dallas Morning News, the Texas Tribune, Facebook Austin, ATX Built, IBM Watson, and the Austin American-Statesman.
Here’s what got made.
Team Bouldin Creek
Andrew Chavez, developer, Austin American-Statesman
Chris Haines, product, Vox Product
Amanda Krauss, developer, Texas Tribune
Megan McGaha, student, Centenary College
Project: “No Thanks Obama”
“No Thanks Obama” 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.
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
Project: Let The Story Evolve
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 Silicon Hills
Aidan Feay, developer, Vox Product
Sydette Harry, editor, Coral Project
Josh Kadis, product, Alley Interactive
Ashlyn Still, developer, Cox Media Group
Converge is a news utility that connects communities through their interest in local content. Users can see what topics matter most in their communities, make connections, and gather resources to further their involvement. Participants in Converge form organic, physical communities for offline connection and provide publications with valuable information on what shapes their environment.
Demo (Note: click icon to right of e-mail)
Team Dirty Sixth
Annie Daniel, developer, Texas Tribune
Matt Dennewitz, product, Pitchfork
Tyler Sax, developer, Facebook
Emily Yount, designer, Washington Post
Project: Article Club
Using a Chrome extension, you can contribute links to a “bundle” to suggest reading related to the article you’re consuming. Others can view bundles to learn casually and/or deeply about a topic. Bundles expose readers to new and interesting content and can also serve readers who may be intimidated by an ongoing news story, such as ISIS or the significance of Missy Elliot. A link can belong to many bundles and is categorized as for the casual, engaged or expert reader.
Having such a blast at #sndmakes. The nerd in me wants to do this every weekend. Okay, maybe once a month …
— Emily Yount (@emilyyount) November 14, 2015
Team South Congress
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.
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
Project: Dispatch Mary is a public education journalist at The City Daily. She wants to create a community of teachers to get expert feedback and future leads in response to her reporting. That’s why she uses Dispatch, an embeddable widget that lets reporters quickly and easily ask questions of a subset of registered users.
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
Project: The Gist
The Gist remakes the traditional “topic page” into an interactive, human-curated hub that summarizes current events by assembling content and conversations from across 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 gives reporters more ownership over the topic, and allows audience to drive the conversation and highlight story points that might otherwise be drowned out.
Tashween Ali, social media strategist, Buzzfeed
Chris Coyier, chief, CodePen
Alex Duner, student, Northwestern University / Knight Lab
Dheerja Kaur, product, TheSkimm
Project: Cultivate Cultivate is a tool for organizations to take a data-driven approach to identifying their communities, subcommunities, and community leaders.
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 Rainey Street
Ben Hasson, designer, Texas Tribune
Josh Romero, developer, freelance
Traci Schoenberg, product, Cox Media Group
Kristyn Wellesley, editor, Cox Media Group
Project: Comment Collector
Comment Collector is a tool to centralize comments from various sources allowing reporters and editors to quickly and efficiently gauge reader 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 way to gauge reaction, understand an unanticipated reaction, test assumptions, mine for follow-up stories, and provide qualitative data as a complement to quantitative analytics.
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.