Journalism in the Age of Apps

23 Mar 2016

Games and apps were some of the ideas journalism students developed when they joined forces with information technology students.

Tasked with coming up with new ideas for the media industry, third-year journalism students formed teams with information technology students taking Social and Mobile Computing to create some innovate news experiences.

Together they worked on semester-long projects that addressed a journalistic problem. The result was a range of applications that explored issues such as how to encourage readers to pay for content, what news might look like through Google Glass, and how to use gaming to tell news stories.

The rationale for the initiative was simple: journalism needs to innovate if it is going to stay relevant in an increasingly digital, networked and mobile media landscape.

Journalism lecturer Skye Doherty, who co-ordinates the Convergent Journalism course, says the students came away with a deeper understanding of how best to produce journalism for new and emerging platforms.

“Technology has challenged traditional media on many fronts, but it also gives us an opportunity to reinvent journalism – to better exploit new digital platforms, create new ways of telling stories and interacting with audiences.

“To be able to do that, journalists need to know what is possible. And they need to understand the design and development process that brings new ideas to fruition. Traditional newsroom practices are in many ways ineffective for producing digital content.”

The partnership was beneficial for the IT students too.

Dr Daniel Angus, co-ordinator of Social and Mobile Computing, part of UQ’s Interaction Design program, working with the journalists gave his students a chance to address real-world problems.

“Interaction designers need to understand not only the technical aspects required for the design and implementation of new technologies, but how these technologies impact and shape society.

“By creating multidisciplinary teams they have the chance to design, prototype and test ideas with a focus on real-world issues and problems, and to leverage the innate understanding of social systems that journalism and communication students can offer.”

Team Social Revolution created a game focused on increased CCTV cameras on the Gold Coast. The aim is to destroy cameras without being filmed. (click for larger image)

Credit: Selena Colavitti, Ethan Gillespie, Melanie Goodwin, Sally Mills, Joel Pettersson and Jack Winton.