Students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communication reported on the MobileMe&You2 Conference Friday, Oct. 28, and Saturday, Oct. 29. Read their coverage below. 


Dean Maria Marron of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln helped open the MobileMe&You2 Conference in downtown Chicago on Oct. 27. The college is a co-sponsor of the conference, along with Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communication; the University of Illinois College of Media; Univision Network; and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. MobileMe&You2 was held simultaneously at Northwestern University's downtown Chicago and downtown San Francisco conference facilities. Owen Youngman, right, Knight Chair of Digital Media Strategy at Medill, and Gary Kebbel, left, journalism professor at UNL, are two of the conference organizers. Other conference organizers not pictured are Brant Houston, Knight Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the University of Illinois College of Media, and José Zamora, senior vice president of strategic communication at Univision Network. Guests from Nigeria, India and South Africa joined about 175 people for a simultaneously broadcast conference between the two Northwestern University locations on Oct. 27-29. Speakers discussed  mobile-media best practices in newsgathering, storytelling and distribution. The conference was funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the McCormick Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation. (Photo by UNL Professor Amy Struthers)


“Gadgets and Gimmicks: The Things You Should and Shouldn’t Buy,” Judd Slivka, assistant professor of convergence journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism

There are hundreds of apps and thousands of dollars of equipment you can buy to do journalism with your phone or tablet. We’ll go through which ones are worth having, how to build a basic mobile kit and an advanced mobile kit and what you really need to get the most out of your mobile reporting.

Replay Session

By Marcell Walton | University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016

Judd Slivka presented “Gadgets and Gimmicks: The Things You Should and Shouldn’t Buy” Saturday at MobileMe&You2, a two-day mobile-first conference held at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Chicago.

 Slivka’s — an assistant professor of convergence journalism at the University of Missouri —  presentation included a demonstration where he showcased an array of mobile journalism devices. The functionality of the devices centers on improving the mobile experience for journalists, he said.

Slivka presented a variety of gadgets that enhanced lighting, sound quality, visuals, data transfer rates and other aspects of mobile storytelling. Conference attendees were free to interact with the tools that Slivka brought to the conference.

Slivka also spent time answering questions after his presentation. Questions ranged from the prices of some of the featured items and their applicability to future advancements in mobile journalism.

Slivka gave two other afternoon presentations at the conference.

Additional resources: Choosing the best rig for you


 “How mobile apps affect shopping decisions”, Edward C. Malthouse is the Theodore R. and Annie Laurie Sills Professor of Integrated Marketing Communications and Industrial Engineering and Management Science at Northwestern University and the Research Director for the Spiegel Center for Digital and Database Marketing.

Ed will present research from the Medill’s Spiegel Research Center on how mobile apps affect shopping decisions. He will give a framework for how apps create value for consumers, and test how they affect purchase behaviors using data from an online grocery retailer and a loyalty program. The results show that apps that create value for consumers will increase their loyalty toward a brand. We also show that consumers will use apps for habitual purchases, but prefer using a larger screen for more considered purchases.

By Jordan Severinson | University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016

Edward Malthouse spoke about mobile apps and consumer interaction at the MobileMe&You2 conference at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism Saturday in Chicago.

During his presentation, Malthouse discussed how creating relevant engagement through mobile apps can enhance the shopping experience for consumers. Malthouse highlighted convenience and overall experience as key areas that add value for consumers and make apps more appealing. The goal, Malthouse said, is to make the consumer smarter by providing a service that makes them more informed about something they care about.

“Mobile devices are the most intimate and personal device,” Malthouse said. “[They are] with us all the time.”

Creating a mobile app is not difficult, Malthouse said. But organizations need to make sure apps are generating consumer awareness and building a compelling brand.

In order to know that impact, the insights from the SRC mobile studies were provided. These showed that those who downloaded and utilized an app increased their spending and consuming by 10 percent.

“You can be anywhere and remember that you’re out of noodles, whip out your app and order them,” Malthouse said.

The presentation came full circle when Malthouse presented the figures around users and the number of devices they are using to shop. By comparing those users that were solely shopping on a mobile device to those shopping on a tablet, computer and a mobile device, it was clear that there is a difference in the things that consumers are purchasing on different kinds of devices, Malthouse said. Habitual purchases are the easiest to purchase on a mobile device or app because there is less research require. Consumers use these products regularly and know what they like and order new products when they’re getting low.

Comparatively, those items that require more detail were naturally purchased more frequently on a laptop or desktop.  

Malthouse presented intriguing findings about what a mobile app can do, for the business and the consumer—ultimately, he says, you need to “think through the value proposition” of a mobile app and what value it will bring—that will determine the effect it have.

 


What I Learned From Creating Billy Penn,” Jim Brady, founder of Billy Penn and The Incline

Brady will focus on what he learned from creating Billy Penn as they pass the two-year mark of their existence, and how he applied those observations to the new Pittsburgh site, The Incline. Brady will cover how Billy Penn's traffic has changed, and how the move to overwhelming mobile traffic numbers changes thinking about revenue, business model, content presentation and design.

Replay session

By Emily Case | University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016

Billy Penn founder Jim Brady explained strategies his team uses to make users happy in his presentation Saturday at the two-day MobileMe&You2 conference.

Billy Penn is a local, mobile-first news organization aimed at the 40 and under demographic in Philadelphia.

News companies will often try to keep visitors on their website longer by distributing news stories over different pages or adding slideshows, Brady said. This makes them spend more time on the site for that visit but also wastes more of their time.

To him, number of visits and total time spent per month are more valuable metrics than time spent on each page. He said Billy Penn strives to respect consumers’ time as much as possible by simplifying content.

“The smarter you are about respecting the time of the consumer, the more they’ll come back,” Brady said.

Because of its mobile-first philosophy, Billy Penn’s website is set up to look and act more like a news stream than an overly complicated webpage. This makes it easier for users to access information, but also provides more ad engagement since advertising content is dispersed among the articles.

Advertising isn’t the only source of revenue for Billy Penn, though, Brady said. It receives two-thirds of its income from events, which takes off pressure to make money through content and ads. Brady has created a number of regular events, including a monthly “Who’s Next” list of 15 to 20 up-and-comers in Pennsylvania.

These events have had positive results in a few important ways, Brady said. Financially, Billy Penn is able to get a subject, food and drink sponsor for each event. Additionally, Billy Penn’s team can find interesting stories by socializing with guests and making new connections.

Events have also been a way for Billy Penn to get face-to-face feedback with his audience while making them happy and promoting a positive image for the Billy Penn brand.

“They come for two hours, meet people and walk away happier and they like you more than you did before. And you made money. In an event, everybody leaves happy,” he said.


“People-First Design,” David Wright, former digital product designer at Twitter, speaking in San Francisco

Traditional news organizations are in a battle for audience share and attention like never before, competing with technology-first operations that are skilled at building slick user experiences. Learn how a people-focused design process helps create better, more valuable and delightful news experiences.

Replay Session

By: Henry Keyser | Medill School of Journalism | Friday, Oct. 28, 2016

A battle for audience retention is being fought between news platforms and tech platforms — with each becoming more like the other. 

Wright discussed the relationship between news organization and tech organizations Friday as part of the two-day MobileMe&You2 conference as part of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

“Tech [organizations] are actually better positioned to become like news orgs than news orgs are,” said David Wright, former digital product designer at Twitter. “They can’t build the muscle fast enough to become like tech companies.”

During his presentation, Wright brought up the 2014 leaked copy of The New York Times innovation report to explain how major media companies are coming to understand that antiquated organizational structures are separating news distributors from storytellers, a separation that is impeding their ability to compete.

Instead, Wright said that news companies need to focus on elements of design. The most important lesson that needs to be taught, he said, is that answers or solutions aren’t in the newsroom itself.

“If you sit in a room and you say, ‘How are we going to maximize value for our readership?’ and you don’t actually talk to the readership, the odds that you’ll come up with something good by your own genius alone are quite slim,” Wright said.

Wright explained during his presentation how his team actively observes users and asks several open-ended questions in order to learn more about the moment-by-moment thoughts and frustrations of site visitors. The team then notes every observation and response to later synthesize the important observations and identify key changes the newsroom could implement.

But before redesigning whole websites, newsrooms need to first test prototypes, Wright said.

Sometimes these prototypes — or “low-fidelity” models — could be paper books that outline how a new site would work. Sometimes they could even be sticky notes with drawings of new modules placed on a laptop screen of the existing site. In either practice, the goal is to observe real users experiencing the working models.

The key, Wright said, is value to the user.

Wright also discussed various advertising practices that are meant to extract value from users but with no positive return on their experiences. Examples include clickbait advertisements and interactive banners that slow down pages and confuse the navigation of news pages, Wright said.

Wright referenced Disney World as an institution that continually goes out of its way to improve visitors’ experiences. For example, Disney understands that “when people eat ice cream, they sit down on a bench,” Wright said.

“There’s an emulsifier in the ice cream that when it drips on the sidewalk, if the sidewalk is made of cement, it will bond with the sidewalk and they can’t hose it off — it stains it and the places people eat ice cream would never look clean,” Wright said. “So, [Disney] figured out all the places people sat to eat ice cream, and now there is granite under there, so they can come by with the hose and it always look like it’s brand new.”

Wright pointed to Disney World’s focus on good experiences as why visitors still come year after year even when the park costs four times as much as it did 40 years ago.

“They can keep raising the price of this because people find it so valuable,” Wright said. “They’ll continue to pay.”

During a Q&A portion of the presentation, Josef Siebert, a Medill student, asked about the characteristics of adverting models that add value to users. Wright said that the key is providing high-quality.

 “We know that we can produce good content relatively cheaply,” Wright said. “The idea that they’re as relevant as possible to somebody — that the [ad] isn’t just the sort of thing that you want to beat out of your way… the closer we get to somebody’s interest so that they say ‘maybe I want that.’”


“Selfie journalism' and #SnapchatStorytelling,” Yusuf Omar, mobile editor, Hindustan TimesBy:

If you take Snapchat at face value, it's for teenagers sharing nudies, funny face filters and disappearing messages. But look beyond the gimmicks, and you'll find powerful technology for journalistic storytelling. Multi-award winning Hindustan Times Mobile Editor Yusuf Omar shares how Snapchat is the content creation tool at the heart of his newspaper's video operations. He's building the world's biggest mobile journalism team, training 750 storytellers. From undercover drug busts to using selfie masks to hide the identities of rape survivors, learn 6 ways your newsroom has never considered using Snapchat.

Replay Session

Abby Meyer | University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016

Yusuf Omar — mobile editor at the Hindustan Times — spoke Saturday at the MobileMe&You2 conference about the use of Snapchat to report and tell stories.

The two-day conference took place at the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications in Chicago. The conference focused on mobile-first content in journalism and communications.

“Snapchat is becoming the biggest news outlet in the world, and it’s the fastest social app with more video views than Facebook,” Omar said.

Omar is currently building the world largest mobile journalism team at the Hindustan Times. During his presentation, he explained how the future of news will be aggregating thousands of mobile cameras similar to how Snapchat is already doing it.

Citizens with Snapchat on their mobile devices are the reporters, Omar said. But Snapchat is curating the content, he added, making them the journalists.

Additionally, Omar also emphasized the importance of defining purpose while reporting with Snapchat. The content on Snapchat must be exclusive and full of personality, giving a target audience something that is not offered on other platforms.

Omar explained how the Hindustan Times is using Snapchat to hide the identity of individuals for sensitive stories with topics such as rape and sexual abuse. Victims use the filters from Snapchat to mostly disguise themselves while still giving themselves personality through their eyes and the filters.

Omar said that he believes Snapchat is moving toward more frequent use of its Discovery platform, which is a professional segment of the app that delivers polished content from publishers on a daily basis. Making Discovery more open to consumers would allow for new types of content through citizen reporting, Omar said.

Omar also said he sees Snapchat excelling at hyper local news where it can build a story around snaps for a local event.

Snapchat is already doing this in some respects, he said, but the opportunity to grow in the area is significant. Omar said that Snapchat is very secretive about its next moves as an app, though, keeping the public mostly in the dark about what’s coming up. 


“Mobile Graphics,” K.K. Rebecca Lai, The New York Times

 Mobile, a huge part of the news reading experience, demands a new kind of thinking in visual storytelling. I'll talk about our experience at The New York Times graphics desk in creating visual stories for mobile.

Replay Session

Matthew Knapp | University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016

Rebecca Lai, a member of the graphics team at The New York Times, shared her experiences with producing mobile-optimized graphics with attendees of the MobileMe&You2 conference at the Knight Lab in the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Chicago.

Lai, who works on a team of designers, statisticians, cartographers and other creatives, develops and implements interactive media initiatives at The New York Times for its broad audiences.

Outlined in her presentation, Lai discussed what makes a good mobile graphic and what types of tools The NY Times newsroom uses to produce its award-winning journalism. Most important to consider, Lai said, is a graphic’s performance, readable text and native feel.

“There is no patience to wait for pages to load,” said Lai, referring to the importance of performance with mobile environments. “We’re still looking for ways to make video more optimized.”

One example Lai used is a full-page infographic using multiple photos of Olympian Usain Bolt pulling ahead of competition throughout the race. The page loads almost instantaneously.

Lai shared new initiatives that The NY Times has taken with the audience, including auto play videos embedded into stories, texting stories with a technology called NYT Sam (who — she assured — is a real person and not a robot) and messaging political updates using Facebook Messenger.

“I think we have to keep experimenting with new things to stay ahead,” she said.


“Putting Data on Mobile Devices,” Acton Gorton, doctoral student at the Illinois Informatics Institute at the University of Illinois

Acton H. Gorton, CU-CitizenAccess.org, will show how he took large amounts of restaurant data over the past six years and made health inspections accessible and user-friendly to mobile users. He will discuss hand coding data, to building automatic tools for feeding databases, to creating online news apps for reporters and citizens and will show how the data are part of an augmented reality project.

Replay Session

By Alyssa Amen | University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016

“That pizza place is nasty.”

Acton Gorton is not speaking from experience.

He's speaking from data: an 11,000-item food inspection database complied over the last eight years. Gorton, a doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Informatics Institute, helped develop a food inspection project — one that has morphed along with the technology it uses.

Each food inspection report includes 46 items. Their technicality all but ensures that very few, if any people, are going to comprehend them, said Gorton. 

“We’re trying to see if there is a way to visually understand [these reports],” Gorton said. “Because they’re complicated, but they are chock full of information.” 

Gorton shared several of the new directions his team is taking, from code to augmented reality — including a mock kitchen laboratory.  All are ways to process information and figure out how to tell a story with it, he said. 

“(Our project) kept growing and growing,” Gorton said. "Now we’re trying to figure out what is the future going to look like."

Additional Resources: CU-CitizenAccess.org - Food Inspection Database


“Mobile and Place-Based Information: The Museum Example,” Susan Poulton, chief digital officer of the Franklin Institute science museum in Philadelphia

The Franklin Institute science museum in Philadelphia is the most visited museum in Pennsylvania and one of the largest science museums in the country. This fall, it is launching a native app with the goal of both supporting the local visitor experience and acquiring a national and global audience that uses experiences other than simple mobile content and games (the traditional methods museums use to engage larger audiences). Nested inside the app is a virtual reality library of best-in-class curated science VR content from all over the world. The museum staff hopes that through this groundbreaking experience it will not only further its mission to inspire a passion for learning about science and technology, but also bring museums closer to embracing the use of 360 and immersive media in their on-site and off-site digital experiences.

By Savanah Baker | University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016

Museums don’t think of themselves as content creators, but as information providers.

The Franklin Institute is trying to change that perception with its mission of inspiring a passion for learning about science.

The Franklin Institute’s Chief Digital Officer Susan Poulton gave a presentation on the mobile, virtual reality (VR) and digital disruptions in museums. Poulton helped with the design of the Franklin Institute’s native mobile app. The design for the app stemmed from a frustration with the view of phones in museum. Mobile phones were viewed primarily as a distraction in the museum world, Poulton said, but The Franklin Institute knew mobile phones were here to stay so it was important to incorporate them with the museum space as an enhancer.

The Franklin Institute’s app includes 3D ways of finding restrooms and elevators. The app also includes a stored membership card, a daily schedule, VR library, ticketing information, exhibit information, food locations, parking information and feed and digital customer survey cards.

Most of these are not unique to museum apps, but The Franklin Institute took a new stand with the VR library, Poulton said.

The institute’s VR strategy included the VR library in the app, free VR devices to guests, virtual field trips for education groups, in-museum VR experienced with certain exhibits, a VR lab space for usability testing for developers and universities, and a VR innovation center.

Poulton said that a big component of VR in for the institute is its holodeck, an interactive opportunity for museum attendants. Poulton said attendants can put on a headset and be transported through an exhibit that is projected on a screen for everyone to see. This has also included the development of virtual reality carts that currently sit in three exhibits Giant Heart, Your Brain and Space Command at the museum that create an interactive experience.

Future steps for The Franklin Institute include augmented reality experiences.

Augmented reality will help make mobile phones a tool in unlocking features in exhibits and further it from being a distraction, Poulton said. The Franklin Institue also wants to use mobile phones to further people asking questions and learning in the science community.


“Mobile Bells and Whistles Are Not a Path to Success,” Brian Boyer, recently visuals editor at NPR

 Designing for tiny screens is hard, but working small made our big stories better.

Replay Session

By Alyssa Amen | University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016

Why do we design things for mobile?

Hint: It’s all about your audience.

Brian Boyer, a former NPR visuals editor, gave a presentation on mobile design Saturday at the MobileMe&You2 conference at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Chicago.

Boyer said during his presentation that he advises communicators to focus more on people than pizzazz.

“We want to be awesome to our users at every moment of their day,” Boyer said. “[To do that], we need to understand their habits and strive to fill those gaps in their day.”

To better understand how to fill those gaps, Boyer shared his top three lessons for mobile media design.

Lesson 1: Don’t switch modes and try to stay in your moment.

Consumers want control of their experience. They don’t want to go from an asynchronous experience (like reading text) to a synchronous experience (like watching video). It’s still possible to give your reader a sense of place without changing the place, Boyer said, using graphics such as animated charts or animagrams.

Lesson 2: Do the least interactive thing that works. Create a rich experience without asking too much from people.

“I hate scroll-telling,” Boyer said. “But I don’t. I hate it when it’s wrong. Like when you’re scrolling and stuff starts flying at you, and you feel disoriented and there’s no anchor for it.”

Lesson 3: Embrace constraints.

In a paradoxical twist, constraints force you to be creative, Boyer said.  One of his favorite story formats includes NPR’s “sequential visual storytelling,” in which photos are doing the heavy-lifting and text is not the top priority.

In his opinion, the best piece of internet journalism comes from the Tampa Bay Times: “Why Pinellas County is the worst place in Florida to be black and go to public school.” According to Boyer, the article is great because it is optimized for mobile and desktop.

“I talked to [the Tampa Bay staff] about this article, and they said mobile pushed them to do it this way,” Boyer said. “They would not have done it without constraints.”

Boyer said he lamented journalistic awards that put pressure on innovation at the cost of usability. Innovation doesn’t really matter if your audience can’t access it, he said.

“We’re really used to celebrating the fanciest thing, but we need to be giving awards for design that works best for your audience,” Boyer said.


“Sensors and Sensor Journalism: Current & Future Approaches,” Amy Schmitz Weiss, associate professor in the School of Journalism and Media Studies at San Diego State University – session moderator, Brant Houston

As the Internet of Things takes on a bigger role in the mobile and digital realm, sensors can provide another way to tell important stories in a community. This talk will focus on the unique use of sensors in journalism today and on how other industries are using sensors. We will look into the crystal ball to see what the future holds for this technology and how media companies can make the most of it.

Replay Session

By Jordan Severinson | University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016

Amy Schmitz Weiss, an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Media Studies at San Diego State University, discussed the use of sensors as a way to collect data and create stories while presenting at the MobileMe&You2 Conference in Chicago Saturday.

There are a variety of experiments underway for journalists and others related to using sensors and sensor networks, according to Schmitz Weiss.

USA Today recently used sensors in its Ghost Factories project. The newsroom collected soil data from about 800 sites and used it to create interesting media content. Schmitz Weiss said that the project shows the potential for a widespread sensor project worldwide.

Today, sensors are also being used by students to test water quality. Schmitz Weiss said that sensors are valuable tools because they are often low-cost measures that provide data needed to drive great stories.

In Chicago, sensor projects are currently underway to monitor foot traffic in the city, Schmitz Weiss said. Similar projects are also underway in Washington D.C. and San Francisco, where sensors are being used to determine parking spot occupancy. Ultimately, officials hope to use the data to provide transportation departments better information on meter pricing and parking availability in popular areas.

Sensors are also being strategically used in the retail industry, Schmitz Weiss said. Target uses iBeacon technology to send customers product, pricing and sales information based on their proximity to and in its stores.

During her presentation, Schmitz Weiss also discussed potential opportunities in sensor data for media organizations. She said the use of sensors could help media groups increase their community engagement, develop story ideas and empower citizen journalism.

Still, Schmitz Weiss said, it seems that there are certain challenges for media organizations when it comes to sensor use. She said that challenges include questions on the ethical use of sensors and the overall lack of practical understanding. Schmitz Weiss it can also be challenging to make large quantities of information meaningful in data visualizations.

Looking ahead, Schmitz Weiss said there will inevitably be successes and failures, but that “we will only get better by trying and failing and failing again.”

She said that, when used properly, sensory journalism can provide unique storytelling experiences. The journalism industry needs to gain better awareness on senor use and investigate the possibilities for the public good.


“Making irresistible content for the mobile experience,” Roberto Grossman, Fusion’s Vine and Snapchat leader, Univision

All media are not created equal. Creative and original work is at the heart of the mobile experience. The small screen has opened the door for an evolution in storytelling. 

Replay Session

By Jordan Severinson | University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016

Roberto Grossman — Vine and Snapchat manager for the pop-culture and satire newsroom Fusion — gave a presentation Saturday at the MobileMe&You2 conference in Chicago about creating compelling mobile content.

“Internet is an extension of our body,” Grossman said. “Mobile media is everywhere, and there is a ton of opportunities to express ourselves and find audiences.”

Grossman’s interactive presentation provided insights into the content that creates the best experience for mobile users. A key point to consider, according to Grossman, is differentiating mobile content in order to stand out in a space cluttered by parity. News consumers go online and see a number of similar things, Grossman said. News organizations need to make what they share different and unique.

During his presentation, Grossman also discussed the recently deleted platform Vine.

Prior to its deletion, many people started to push the boundaries of Vine, Grossman said. When the platform was established, it was meant for users to post a small clip from everyday life. Over time, users became more creative. For users, they began trying to make noteworthy videos that would go viral.  Grossman said that when a user’s Vine went viral, it became a platform for news, which was an important strategy for Vine.

“Applications are going to come and go,” Grossman said. “We have to think about content creation like a 360-degree approach — get comfortable with many platforms.”

Grossman in his presentation also highlighted the popular app Snapchat.

“When one application dies, another one thrives,” he said. “Snapchat puts the individual at the center of everything… it’s about you telling your story.”

Snapchat is the latest platform to mirror what Vine once provided, Grossman said. Grossman says that even though mobile apps like Snapchat have limitations, they present opportunities to tell stories in new ways, which helps build audiences. With Snapchat, Grossman said, content is personal and people feel more compelled to reply. That makes Snapchat a unique tool, he said.

“Be creative,” Grossman said. “Be original. Don’t be complacent. Find a process, get comfortable and start over.”


“Reaching Underserved Populations With Mobile Media,” E. R. Shipp, founding member of the faculty of the three-year-old School of Global Journalism and Communication at Morgan State University in Baltimore

By Emily Case | University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016

E. R. Shipp, an associate professor at Morgan State University, shared ways to accurately represent underserved populations in her presentation at the MobileMe&You2 Conference in Chicago Saturday.

Located in Baltimore, Morgan State University has been designated as Maryland’s public urban university. Its School of Global Journalism & Communication focuses on social justice projects like “Bridging Selma”, a multimedia story created to honor the 50th anniversary of the Selma campaign.

Shipp and her students are currently working on the Baltimore Reporting Project, a new idea that was granted funding a few weeks ago. The reporting project aims to give an accurate picture of Baltimore communities.

Shipp said that she was inspired to work on the reporting project after seeing media coverage about what was collectively called the “Baltimore Uprising,” the events connected to rioting after Freddie Gray’s arrest and death. This coverage led to a negative, one-dimensional perception of Baltimore, she said.

Shipp has been teaching her students to utilize mobile-first reporting techniques after learning that mobile phone use for internet access is higher in black and Latino populations compared to the white population.

“We’re training students to make better use of their smartphones, while still getting hard information on what the community really needs that’s not being filled by other news organizations,” she said.

Shipp said her students have been using Pixotale and Evrybit for reporting projects. Pixotale is an app that is best suited for photo essays. Evrybit is an app that allows marginalized voices to be heard by providing a platform for individuals to upload photos, video and audio.

The group’s goals are to discover the true needs of the community, Shipp said. To do so, students have begun connecting with community hubs such as churches.

Ultimately, Shipp said she wants to see people in the community telling their own stories using tools like Evrybit to offer firsthand accounts of life in Baltimore. It would become a collaborative project between students and the community, she said.

“The students have technical know-how, but the community members will have more knowledge of what’s actually going on,” Shipp said.

Some of the Baltimore Reporting Project’s content has already been picked up by local organizations such as WEAA, a National Public Radio affiliate station.


“Immersive Storytelling with Drones, 360° Video and 3D Virtual Reality,” Ben Kreimer, journalism technologist

Drones, 360° video and 3D virtual reality are powerful new spatial and immersive storytelling tools that every content producer should consider including in his or her toolkit. In his session, Ben will give examples of projects he's done with these tools, and share the readily available hardware and software he uses to produce content quickly, and on a budget!

By Alyssa Amen | University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016

Ben Kreimer, a journalism technologist, spoke about the use of drones and virtual reality during a presentation Saturday at the MobileMe&You2 conference in Chicago.

With a drone, cheap hardware and a water bottle cap, Kreimer used his own self-described “junk” to immerse audiences in other junk thousands of miles away — specifically, a landfill in Nairobi, Kenya. 

“In this story, you can fly around a landfill and get a sense for what it’s like to be there,” said Kreimer, who has worked at BuzzFeed Open Lab. “I got into [drone technology] because it gives readers a different way of engaging with the content.” 

The emerging technology is drawing audiences and driving visitors. About 360 million people viewed BuzzFeed’s first 360-degree video that was “shot with hacked-together hardware and basic consumer camera,” Kreimer said. 

Kreimer’s favorite 360 video was recorded live from a Donald Trump rally.

The reporter joined the rally, giving viewers an even more immersive experience.

“With 360 technology, Want to bring people into spaces where they normally wouldn’t go,” Kreimer said. 


Bots: Building New Services for U.S. Hispanics,” Carlos Martinez de la Serna, director of digital innovation at Univision Communications, Inc.

 Bots are opening new ways to engage with news readers. At Univision, we’ve been exploring how to use them to create services that are relevant and personal, and eliminate barriers to information.

Replay Session

By Nikolas Wright | Medill School of Journalism | Friday, Oct. 28, 2016

Messaging bots that respond more like a friend than a native news app are quickly becoming a way for media companies to engage their audiences. But as news organizations experiment with bots, they face the challenges of being relevant, conversational and inclusive to users.

Carlos Martínez de la Serna — director of innovation at Univision Beta, the in-house technology lab of Miami-based Univision Digital — discussed the use of messaging bots during his presentation Saturday at the MobileMe&You2 conference. He said that his team hasn’t wasted time in deploying bots to its Spanish-speaking audience since the group launched in March this year.

“Almost anyone can build a bot right now — you don’t even need to have a developer,” said Martínez de la Serna from his session at the mobile-first conference in San Francisco. “There are fantastic services you can use, and you can use them to create some simple bots.”

A few examples from Univision:

Detector de Mentiras (lie detector) sent updates from a March primary debate between Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. The bot asked users to spot candidates’ lies by texting whether statements were “verdad” (true) or “mentira” (false). Univision’s election-update texting app Purple powered the bot.It will send updates to subscribed users until Nov. 8.

And during the Copa America soccer tournament in June, Univision set up a phone number for fans to text about how they watched the games, where they were and who they were with.

“It was a phenomenal listening tool,” said Martínez de la Serna, a Spanish journalist and former John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.

By texting users and tracking photos, reactions and tweets with tag #nuestracopa (“our cup”), Univision got a sense of what the fan environment surrounding the matches was like.

Even with the bots, Univision didn’t shun in-person interactions. To connect with users, Univision handed out flyers with the bot’s phone number to people playing soccer in Hispanic neighborhoods of New York’s Queens Borough, including women soccer fans in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park.

“That’s more interesting than just the game,” he said.

Martínez de la Serna illustrated bot technology’s fast maturation and adoption in 2016 as the “Bot Hype Cycle.” For example, Quartz’s news app — which delivers news and push notifications through a bot-powered text conversation — and its personalized weather notification app, Poncho, both debuted in February.

As the year winds down, we’re now in the “bot sadness” phase, Martínez de la Serna said.

However, that doesn’t mean the services are going away.

The key to developing bots is understanding what users need and scaling those conversations to a wide user base, Martínez de la Serna said.

“We need to learn how to experiment in public, not in a lab,” he said.

Combining elements of social media, artificial intelligence and mobile devices should yield deeper insights for innovation labs like Univision’s, Martínez de la Serna said.

“We live in a world of microinteractions,” he said. “How do we think about those interactions in a way of being thoughtful and mindful about our users’ time in terms of needs? That's what we’re trying to focus.”

Nikolas Wright is a master’s student in the media innovation and entrepreneurship at Northwestern’s Medill School.


“How Small Teams Can Create Tools for SMS, Chatbots and Faster Mobile Pages,” Rebekah Monson, founder of local site WhereBy.Us

How might small mobile experiments create big results for resource-constrained small news organizations? Share your insights and learn how our team is learning to build mobile engagement and audience by creating tools for SMS, chatbots, faster mobile pages and mobile-optimized multimedia distribution.

By Emily Case | University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016

Rebekah Monson discussed how she encourages local engagement through her company —  WhereBy.Us — in her presentation Saturday, the second day of the two-day MobileMe&You2 conference in Chicago.

Monson is the co-founder and vice president of product for WhereBy.Us, an organization based in Miami, Florida. WhereBy.Us is an “experiential media for the world’s curious locals,” according to its website. Its first publication, The New Tropic, covers communities in Miami.

WhereBy.Us also recently launched The Evergrey, a newsletter that covers Seattle, Washington.

Local engagement is central to the WhereBy.Us mission, Monson said. Because of this, Monson and her employees spend a lot of time hanging out with people, she said. Doing so allows Monson to get a more lifelike picture of what The New Tropic’s readers are excited and frustrated about. It gives much more accurate feedback than surveys or human focus groups, she said.

Being a newer startup, especially one that just launched a new publication, this kind of personal interaction also allows WhereBy.Us to “make the impact you want to make,” Monson said.

Although there are some key similarities between its audiences in Miami and Seattle, learning about audiences has helped them serve each group more effectively. For example, Miami users wanted fast, usable news. Seattle users wanted more long-form, immersive stories.

WhereBy.Us uses a few different tactics to reach audiences: mobile-first thinking, newsletters, Facebook Instant Articles, Google Accelerated Mobile Pages, caching and direct text messaging through bots.

These are all ideas that can be utilized by smaller teams with limited resources, Monson said.

Since its core objective is to serve people, The New Tropic also uses aggregation to offer their users useful content, Monson said. Her team’s aggregation has caused some of its users to subscribe to the Miami Herald because The New Tropic provides links to its stories so often.

“We’re linking to things from every media outlet in town. We know our users really well, we know what they care about, so we’re using that curatorial expertise but we’re not stealing the traffic,” Monson said. “With aggregation, are you stealing shit or are you making an ecosystem? Our goal is to help people get informed.”

Using video, especially on Facebook, has been another successful strategy for The New Tropic, according to Monson. Some videos that bring high engagement to the publication are live-streamed roundtable discussions about timely conversations, providing profiles of interesting figures in the community and telling feature stories about noteworthy things like little-known destinations.

These videos have produced three times the reach and five times the engagement that Monson previously saw.

For a full list of WhereBy.Us’ strategies and statistics, check out Monson’s notes.

Parts of the MobileMe&You2 conference also took place in San Francisco.


“The Onion’s Tips for Flourishing in the Mobile/Social World,” Joseph Fullman, vice president of marketing for The Onion, Inc.

Changing mobile consumption patterns and the shift to social video distribution have transformed the economics of the digital publishing business. The evolution of three strategies (“The Three Ds”) have helped The Onion flourish in this new environment.

Replay Session

By Marcell Walton | University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016

Joseph Fullman, vice president of marketing for The Onion, discussed successful mobile and social media strategies Saturday during the second and final day of the MobileMe&andYou2 conference in Chicago.

Fullman spoke at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. During his presentation, Fullman featured several examples from what he deemed as some of mobile journalism’s innovators and experts.

Fullman’s presentation provided insight into the tactics that The Onion uses to improve its own marketing efforts in the mobile space, he said.  Fullman explained how media organizations need to use new ways to make money since website engagement is on the decline.

“Websites will never be more important than they were at the end of 2014,” he said.

Fullman believes that the future of advertising for The Onion will likely need to include reimagining how the parody news site approaches mobile. The approach detailed in the presentation consisted of what Fullman called the three D’s: Design, Distribute and Develop.

The idea behind the three D’s is to design an effective mobile interface that can be easily distributed to viewership and then continually developed to maintain consistency. Fullman said that this take on marketing involves a “deconstruction” of conventional marketing principles.

Fullman delivered some of The Onion’s trademark humor throughout his presentation, as he poked fun at Facebook and Donald Trump.

Slides from the presentation also consisted of semi-relatable GIFs that helped him drive points home to the audience. Watch Fullman’s presentation here and learn more about the conference here.

Parts of the conference were also held in San Francisco.


“Evaluating Your New App or Product,” Andy Boyle, NBC Digital; Kurt Gessler, deputy editor of digital news, Chicago Tribune

 How do you know if your app was a success? How do you know if it was the opposite of that? Andy Boyle will tell you some war stories (and share the occasional success!) from his 10 years of designing and building apps for web and mobile. He’ll show you what to look for when measuring each.

By Abby Meyer | University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016

Andy Boyle, a web developer for NBC Digital, and Kurt Gessler, deputy editor of digital news at the Chicago Tribune, presented at the MobileMe&You2 conference at the Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications in Chicago on Oct. 29, 2016.

The conference focused on mobile-first content in journalism and communications.

Boyle and Gessler presented about how to evaluate your new mobile app or product.

“You need to have a plan,” Boyle said. “What is success? What is failure? How do you define success? Is it traffic? Impact? Money? Ads served? Downloads? Subscriptions?”

Boyle said that organizations need to establish metrics for evaluation before proceeding to other steps in launching apps. Boyle said that the ultimate goal for most project-level work, though, has to be impact.

“Don’t assume you know who the audience is or what type of mobile device they are using,” Boyle said.

Boyle and Gessler during the presentation offered advice to the audience about mobile apps. It is important to provide fewer decision options to your audience, they said. It’s also important to update your applications and websites when needed because the digital space changes so quickly, they said.

When brainstorming, Boyle and Gessler said it’s helpful to offer the craziest ideas first and that the ideas don’t need to be grounded in reality. Pitch the ideas and other team members will think how they can build on them, they said, adding that developers shouldn’t be afraid to fail due to the risk management could say “no” to an idea.

Boyle closed the presentation with a quote from Bob Woodward on the timely topic of working with management to move ideas forward: “All good work is done in deviance of management.” 


Mobile, Mobile Everywhere,” Eric Newton, innovation chief at Arizona State University’s Cronkite News, the news division for Arizona PBS, speaking in San Francisco

Eric Newton, innovation chief at the Cronkite School at Arizona State University, will introduce you to Scotty, who helps ASU innovate. We'll look at VR, mobile apps, CronkiteLab News and a pioneering partnership Cronkite's "teaching hospital of news" has with Google News Lab. 

Replay Session

By Qiqi Zhang | Medill School of Journalism | Friday, Oct. 28, 2016

In the mobile age, journalists’ ability to learn new mobile tools and integrate them in reporting is just as important as their storytelling skills, said Eric Newton, innovation chief at Arizona State University’s Cronkite News.

Newton’s remarks came during the MobileMe&You2 conference, which simultaneously took place in Chicago and San Francisco.

During his presentation, Newton explained how the newsroom of the Arizona PBS affiliate has become an experiment lab for journalism students to explore different types of mobile tools. The network started a partnership with Google News Lab this summer, and it has piloted a series of hands-on training sessions for students to learn Google mobile tools.

Through a virtual-presence robot called “Scotty,” Newton connected audiences in San Francisco and Chicago with the Cronkite newsroom back in Phoenix. By doing so, audience members were able to virtually meet with Rebecca Blatt, director of the Cronkite News Digital Production Bureau.

Blatt said students have two full-day training sessions every week with two staff members from Google News Lab. At the sessions, students learn about a range of different tools for data visualizations, immersive storytelling, verification and fact checking.

Blatt said one of her student used Google Earth Pro to create a virtual tour from Arizona to ASU’s research lab in San Juan Teotihuacan, Mexico. Google Earth allowed them to fly over and circle around the magnificent pyramids near the lab. 

“That really got students think about opportunities of using digital tools, not just Google tools but any type of data visualization or digital tools,” she said.

Blatt said she encourages students who used the tool first to help others integrate it into their reporting. She said that she even went further and offered a couple of workshops on Fridays for students outside ASU.  

The Google team also trained faculty and staff at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The faculty wanted to make sure they were well-versed across the board, so that they can teach students to use the tools early on in the curriculum.

New mobile and virtual technologies enable students to become better storytellers, Blatt said.

“They are not using a tool for the tool’s sake,” she said. “They are using a tool for conveying a story in a way that’s most effective, and makes the most sense for the content.”

Still, technology is always changing, Blatt said. That means she has to have budding journalists stay informed when it comes to new digital skills that arise.

“The moment they graduate, there will be another tool the next day,” Blatt said. “What I have tried to do is to make sure students are comfortable trying to use new tools and teaching themselves how to use them.”

Paired with this pilot program with Google News Lab, Newton is teaching another class called “Digital Tools” for juniors and sophomores.

Students write 100-word reviews for new mobile tools they find interesting. While writing reviews may seem basic, Newton said he hopes the assignments will help students constantly expose themselves to innovative storytelling methods. The goal is to encourage them to think critically when applying new tools in reporting, he said.

Newton also said that he organizes students to test out courses in Google News Lab.

“What happened in last five or six years with basic Google tools, basic apps and free services is astonishing,” Newton said. “It is now possible to be a one-person newsroom with nothing more than a smart phone.”

Experimentation is a key concept in ASU’s journalism education, according to Newton. Students do not just learn today’s best practice, but they also learn tomorrow’s competencies, Newton said. He believes students need to learn long-lasting skills in college instead of quick ones that will only be used to get them a job after graduation.

Newton discussed how he once asked students to test a list of new tools and use them in their investigative report for the News 21 project, a journalism program supported by Knight Foundation. None of the students had ever heard of the tools on the list. By the end of the assignment, they were able to experiment with the tools in their reporting.

Newton concluded his presentation by emphasizing how journalism students with strong self-learning abilities and entrepreneurial spirit can achieve success in the mobile age.

“Because the world we imagined 10 years ago is not the world we are living in, and the changes are just accelerating,” he said. 


“Do Parents Model Mobile News Consumption?” Stephanie Edgerly, assistant professor at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University

How do today’s youth learn to consume news? Stephanie Edgerly will explain findings from a recent survey investigating the factors that predict youth news use across a variety of devices, including television, computer, tablet and smartphone.

Replay Session

By Ashley Wanruo Zhang | Medill School of Journalism | Friday, Oct. 28, 2016

For many, initial news consumption comes from the experience of watching local TV news as a child with older members of the family.

But that has changed, said Stephanie Edgerly, an assistant professor at the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications. News has shifted from an environment where television, radio and newspapers dominate to a louder, more diverse climate where multiple devices, platforms and other innovative ways to present content are commonplace.

Edgerly discussed parental influence and adolescents’ news consumption during her presentation at the MobileMe&You2 conference, held simultaneously in Chicago and San Francisco.

Youth observe their parents for opinions and attitudes, Edgerly said, and they possibly look to them for news use also. But in this changing media landscape, she said the industry needs to ask itself: “Is parental influence still playing a big role?”

“We’ve gone from family television to bedroom culture, from a shared to an individual screen,” Edgerly said.

By understanding how youth use news, it allows the media industry to plan accordingly, she said.

In the 2014 Future Voters Study, Edgerly researched more than 1,500 families, a sample that included both parents and children. In the study, Edgerly questioned participants about their news behaviors and explored relationships between consumption factors.

According to the research results, parents consume more news that their children on each of the devices studied: television, computers, mobile phones and tablets.

In terms of device preference, the study found that even nowadays youth still use television the most to get news, followed closely by computers, mobile phones and tablets. As for parents, the computer is the most commonly adopted device to get news.

Television is also commonplace. Tablets are used the least.

“Parental influence explains the most variance in youth news use across devices” Edgerly said. “The strongest influencer for youth consuming news on mobile phones is actually parents consuming news on mobile phones.”

For example, a child might get an iPhone 4 from his or her parent, Edgerly said. There might be certain news apps already on it, which means the child may start using those apps to get news too.

But parents are not the only factor in influencing children’s news behaviors, according to the study results.

School curriculum also plays a significant role in how youth use news.

“If your school encourages news, that is a strong influencer,” Edgerly said.

Additionally, conversations between children and their classmates on news use and current events is also a big player.

During her presentation, Edgerly discussed the implications from the future voters study and raised many important questions:

What are some updates to the traditional model where children learn from their parents’ behaviors in this new age? How does this go beyond parents? What can we do about youth who lack parental influence? And how do we create an environment that would make adolescent interested in news?


“#MOJOMasterclass,” Yusuf Omar, mobile editor, Hindustan Times

 Scaling your newsrooms’ video productions? Hindustan Times Mobile Editor Yusuf Omar shares the secrets behind building the world's biggest mobile journalism team. We are entering the age of robo journalism, where every story that can be automated, will be automated. Survival is about becoming RoboCop journalists, armed with numerous storytelling tools.  This session empowers management with mobile-first workflows and strategies, engages social media sages with tools to efficiently produce varied video formats and lets journalists experience new visual storytelling tools like Snapchat, Facebook Lives and 360 videos. He'll demonstrate the non-linear results you get when you multiply mobile tools x journalism.

Replay Session

By Matthew Knapp | University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016

In his second presentation at the MobileMe&You2 conference Saturday, Yusuf Omar, mobile editor of the Hindustan Times, delivered a crash course in tools that all mobile journalists should have installed on their smartphones.

Omar explained that there are several decisions that journalists have to make in order to tell a story quickly and correctly.

“Has there ever been a more complicated time to be a journalist?” Omar said.

By using tools like Snapchat, Quik, VideoScribe and more, journalists have been given tools thatallow them to create overlays, conduct editing and do even more to produce quality content fast.

“[They’re] effortless,” Omar said.

Journalists should consider the benefits [and ease of use] of Facebook Live for storytelling. Omar noted that the return on investment for live video exceeds any other video projects he had worked on.

“Suspense is the key ingredient for live engagement,” Omar said.

Also important to the implementation of mobile journalism, Omar said, is getting rid of the traditional limitations that journalists would face submitting content for review by web, digital and social teams before their content is shared.

“Avoid this at all costs,” said Omar, suggesting that through success, newsrooms can trust their more experienced journalists to publish straight to social media in order to tell the story even faster.

A “stoplight” approval process that allows less controversial content to be published immediately is an easier and faster way, Omar said, and allows for editors to get involved when the editorial decisions need to slow down for more serious topics.


“Evolving Your Digital Storytelling Strategies,” Jeremy Gilbert, director of strategic initiatives at The Washington Post, speaking in San Francisco

Digital storytelling is a tale of adaption. Media organizations cannot be too dependent on any single platform. They need to determine where users are, what they need and then evolve their storytelling to meet those needs — whatever those are.

Replay Session

By Vijeta Ojha | Medill School of Journalism | Friday, Oct. 28, 2016

Modern-day media is headed toward digital storytelling.

Jeremy Gilbert, director of strategic initiatives at The Washington Post, spoke about evolving digital storytelling strategies at the MobileMe&You2 conference Friday.

“We are not really truly publishers as much as we are storytellers who publish what we make,” Gilbert said.

During his presentation, Gilbert discussed how stories present themselves differently across different platforms. The same story is fundamentally different between Facebook and Instagram, he said. Similarly, media organizations need to realize that a story’s text isn’t the same as its visual elements. Putting words to a page and creating video, infographics or audio need to be treated accordingly.

Although publishers manage their distribution platforms such as apps, websites or print editions, they don’t control them entirely, Gilbert said. Content is often shaped based on where and how people share it.

“Our stories are best told by other people in ways we don’t expect,” Gilbert said.

He gave an example of a 5,000-word story published by The Washington Post about a Minnesota professor’s inappropriate relationship. He acknowledged that people share such stories on Facebook because it’s salacious and intriguing.

For long stories, The Washington Post used analytics and observed user behavior, Gilbert said. Data often suggest that users don’t finish long stories. To help navigate around this trend, the newsroom developed a feature to send emails to users asking them to read long content later. The feature doesn’t just provide a link to the story, but also the next few paragraphs from where the user stopped.

Because of the feature, Gilbert said, people started reading the story on mobile and finished it on their desktops tablets. Other users started reading the story in the morning and finished it at night. The feature also spiked engagement time, Gilbert said.

Gilbert said that he believes strongly in empathy-based research and analytics to define what users’ intentions and patterns are. The researcher and analytics help tell stories in a way that’s more accessible to the audience.

“Being accessible means long stories should reach you when you have the time to read them,” Gilbert said.

Still, relying on devices and changes in consumption patterns can lead to some mistakes if a publication doesn’t understand who their users are or how they use the technology or devices, Gilbert said.

In talking about Snapchat coverage and camera accessibility, Gilbert explained how stories change when everyone has the ability to record live. Gilbert cited examples of Snapchat covering World Series by providing different perspectives, scores and locations — but not context or analysis.

“For some people that’s enough,” Gilbert said. “In other cases, you have to think, if that’s the starting point, where can we take the story that adds to it or that is different than just witnessing it?”

Gilbert said that traditional media properties of publishers made them “un-digital” and initially people had trouble trusting them in the digital space.  

“And yet, if a publication tries to tell its stories in an environment that replicates other things, it would be in a bad place,” Gilbert said.

Also during his presentation at the conference, Gilbert said that it’s important to consider how automation plays a part in storytelling, what the role of the journalist is and what is it that readers want.

Additionally, he spoke about “Heliograf,” a tool that The Washington Post developed and used in Olympics 2016 to enable the newsroom to write simple stories, blurbs, blocks or tweets about scores, winning team and team information.

Heliograf has built-in smart templates for such stories.  This tool enabled the editors to write more high-impact stories rather than just information-based stories. The Washington Post’s coverage of Olympics 2016 was featured on Neiman Lab.

These are some of the coolest experiments in digital news coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics

Gilbert said that, at The Washington Post, the newsroom uses the context of a traditional story along with structured automation to produce powerful hybrid stories. It uses the combination of expertise of reporters along with automation to customize the reading experience, he said.

“Just because reporting leads to writing does not mean that’s the only output,” Gilbert said.

“Personalization and customization is where all [of it] starts to come full circle.”

People don’t want or need the same news, Gilbert said. Each person or user has a different view point that he or she comes from, he said. That includes the devices readers look at, time of day, reading habits, reading background, and what they know and need to know. All these things need to inform storytelling, Gilbert said.

Gilbert said that relevant stories that matter to readers should be delivered using technological capabilities. He cited an example of a story about the real estate market crash. It included a graph that showed the real estate market trends based on location. The graph changed based on the Zip code and location entered on the map search.

Readers want to know how a piece of news information affects them individually rather than as part of a trend, Gilbert said.

The Washington Post’s use of technology and unique storytelling ideas was acknowledged by Poynter.

How The Washington Post created a breakout experience for cycling story

The Washington Post is using robots to cover the Olympics and the election