London-based Hack The Press fits somewhere between Hacks/Hackers and Journocoders, organising regular events featuring expert talks and hands-on coding.
Joseph Reeve, co-founder of the organisation, explained that this approach is very common in the tech industry but rare to come by in the media sector.
However, rather than being a competitor or a substitute to existing groups in and around London, he sees Hack the Press as part of a shared goal of fostering tech innovation in the journalism community.
Its first 'hackathon' event will see reporters, researchers and developers work together to create solutions to issues facing the world of journalism, with help and support provided by experts in each field.
"There’s a gut reaction going on with everybody in society right now. We’ve got all these data, we’ve got facial recognition, we’ve got AI and everybody is scared of it. In some cases, it’s quite right to be scared if it’s managed poorly, but also it’s a huge opportunity."
In particular, tools such as visualising data, personalising datasets and automating tasks can make newsrooms more efficient and allow reporters to focus their efforts in other areas.
Reeve recalled a story of a data journalist in the United States, whose newsroom had one reporter covering 35 different cities, causing a decline in the quality of local news due to the lack of resources.
Automation can improve the ability to report in such situations by processing and analysing data on a large scale from a wide range of communities.
"You can still have high-quality local news without it taking a huge amount of time. If you improve efficiency, you can hopefully retain some level of local news that may not be as profitable otherwise."
Reeve explained that the major technology areas that journalists need to learn about is data literacy, but added reporters should aspire to specialise in a variety of different fields to provide a wealth of tech knowledge in newsrooms.
"Rather than every journalist being really good at one thing, journalists should pick something that they’re most passionate about because they will find it more interesting and learn more, and there will be enough diversity within an organisation that people can work together using that knowledge."
The prospect of learning new technology and understanding the complexities of how it works may be daunting to some but Reeve said that there is nothing to fear.
Finding help and seeking encouragement from nearby communities or online, through groups like News Nerdery or Hack the Press’ own Slack channel, is an ideal way to make the first step in learning more about utilising technology more effectively in newsrooms.
Want to know how to use artificial intelligence during breaking news to grow your audience? Find out more at Newsrewired on 27 November at Reuters, London. Head to newsrewired.com for the full agenda and tickets
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