What is it?

A browser extension that acts as an idea generator, helping you explore new angles for your story by offering a variety of perspectives on your topic of interest.

How is it of use to journalists?

Web-based tool INJECT aims to tackle a lack of creativity in newsrooms, enabling journalists working with little resources – and under tight deadlines – to improve their storytelling.

Acting as a pop-up bar on text editors such as Google Docs, Word Press, Google Chrome Extension or Adobe InCopy, the tool aims to help writers find a new angle on a news story as they are writing it.

INJECT uses natural language processing to analyse the words and phrases on the page, offering suggestions based on how the topic can be tackled, browsing an archive of almost 10 million news articles in six different languages.

Professor Neil Maiden of City, University of London whose team is behind INJECT, said regional newspaper journalists in Germany, Holland and Norway, who trialled the tool, found it allowed them to gather more context for their story and use it to better craft their features.

“Journalists wrote more creative and imaginative articles than before,” he said, noting that the tool creates suggestions based on possible links with a particular topic, such as location, names, or specific events.

“The way journalists are trained doesn't fit with structured creative thinking. You sometimes have to let go of data and evidence, of what people are telling you.”

INJECT uses a range of techniques, such as 'SCAMPER', an acronym for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, and Reverse.

For instance, an article covering a national heatwave, usually portrayed through soaring charts and rising temperature figures, could be 'Adapted' to focus on people who work in cold workplaces while temperatures on the street are scorching.

Journalists can start from scratch by deciding on the topic they want to explore creatively by typing in a series of terms at the top of the sidebar.

As an alternative, they can also highlight text in their text editor, then click on the black cross in the circle on the right of the topic terms. INJECT will read what they have highlighted, and extract the topic terms.

The results will appear as news-related content in INJECT with four different search strategies that each offer a different set of categories for creative input: 'Backing and Evidence', 'Individuals', 'Causal' and 'Quirky'. Just choose the creative strategy that appeals the most, getting insight and inspiration.

You can also adjust the parameters of your article search, such as filtering the time frame or language.

Screengrab of INJECT

Having received financial support from the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme back in 2017, the tool is now available in beta. Try INJECT yourself by accessing a demo version here.

Why not join us at newsrewired on 6 March 2019 and learn about the latest innovations in digital journalism?

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