Making MoJo design challenges sing

The Knight-Mozilla News project (aka “Mojo”) is preparing a series of design challenges. The goal: invite the world’s most creative designers and developers to solve problems that will shape the future of news and the web. The three design challenge topics have been chosen — now we need to ensure the storytelling and messaging are right.

The challenge statements below are at second draft stage. They need your testing and feedback to get to a third and final draft. Do they make sense? Do they inspire? Would you, as a challenge participant, have enough info to get started? Please post feedback as comments here, or suggest edits directly in the etherpad version.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/21949993]
(please note: KnightMozilla.org is not up and running yet)

***DRAFT ONLY — not for publication***

Challenge 1
Unlocking video: How can new web video tools transform news storytelling?

the PBS Newshour 2011 State of the Union address uses Popcorn.js to combine context and analysis with video

Going beyond boring embedded video boxes

Video is a central part of people’s daily news experience. But most online video is still stuck in a boring embedded box, like “tv on a web  page,” separated from the other forms of content around it — offering little in the way of context or opportunities for  viewers to explore or go deeper.

New open video tools make it possible to pull data from across the web right into the story, and for information related to the video to literally pop onto the page. The challenge is using these tools in ways that serve the story, enriching journalism with new forms of context, engagement, and the real time web.

Invent new ways to tell multimedia news stories online

Propose compelling demonstrations of how HTML5 and open video can  create new ways of telling news stories online, weaving together moving images with related data, context and opportunities for  engagement. Take a moment to:
  • Check out Arte’s use of semantic video tools and storytelling here and here.
  • Visit sites like Storify and paper.li. What might a similar aggregation experience feel like for video?
  • Need more examples here. Please add as comments below.

How would you tackle it? 

  • What creative storytelling approaches do these new web video tools open up for  news  organizations?
  • How might you tell a story by pulling in video, data and other material from across the web?
  • How  can semantic video help audiences dig deeper into other forms of  context and content?
  • How do we make it a compelling narrative experience  — and not just overwhelm viewers with information overload?

Submit your idea before May 6

Submissions for this challenge close May 6. Your entry can take many forms. You could submit:
  • a concept brief or blog post explaining your idea (500 words or less)
  • an embedded video or link to a slidecast (extra points for explaining your idea this way!)
  • an early software demo, proof of concept, prototype, or HTML mock-ups
  • sketches, wireframes or visual mock-ups
  • a draft open protocol or standard

More details about rules, judging and other logistics are taking shape in the MoJo Challenge Brief (draft only) and MoJo Reviewer Guide (draft only). Good luck!

Challenge 2
Beyond Comment Threads: How can we reinvent online news discussions?


Creating new connections between news producers and consumers

Online discussion threads have been a part of the Internet since the late 90s. But the form of user commentary has stayed fairly static, often relegated to sit far below the fold at the end of the story.

New capabilities in the browser, like HTML5 canvas and video, provide opportunities to completely re-think the relationship between news users  and producers. Emerging  standards like OStatus, Webfinger and Salmon are creating opportunities to liberate discussions from being tied to a single site, make commenting more social, and re-aggregate users’ discussions into a single identity. And “atomic” commenting enables users to comment on a specific paragraph, sentence or moment in stories.

At the same time, media is moving beyond the traditional “news story” as the only unit for commenting and interaction, stretching to include narrative arcs of multiple stories over periods of time, “explainers” that provide background knowledge for strings of stories, “streams” that include initial reports followed by updates and corrections, and new forms of data-driven journalism. All of this means the commenting space is ripe for innovation.

Design news ways to weave the audience’s voice into news

Demonstrate  a new form of user interaction with news that is atomic, aggregated,  augmeted, or just plain awesome. Push beyond the ways we currently think  about comments and debate online. Grab your sketch pad and:
  • Explore the current state of user-interface innovation using JavaScript (here, here or here) or JavaScript plus HTML packaged as a browser add-on.
  • Have a look at this presentation on Salmon.
  • Check out early examples of atomic commenting like the Django Book (note the comment bubbles at the side of the page), or SoundCloud and Viddler, which allow users to place comments and tags at various points on the timeline.
  • Any additional examples here? Please add.

How would you tackle it?

  • What’s next? Where do you see the next radical improvement in user commentary?
  • How do we go beyond end-of-story  comment  threads? Are there other ways for news users to interact with  news  content?
  • How do we make it more social?

Submit your idea before May 20

Consider  these in the context of online comments or debates, then show us what  the modern web platform can do. Submit your idea for this challenge before May 20. Your entry can take many forms. You could submit:
  • a concept brief or blog post explaining your idea (500 words or less)
  • an embedded video or link to a slidecast (extra points for explaining your idea this way!)
  • an early software demo, proof of concept, prototype, or HTML mock-ups
  • sketches, wireframes or visual mock-ups
  • a draft open protocol or standard

More details about rules, judging and other logistics are taking shape in the MoJo Challenge Brief (draft only) and MoJo Reviewer Guide (draft only). Good luck!

Challenge 3
Blow our minds: What’s the next killer app for news?


Tapping the app opportunity for news

News  organizations are creating a host of interactive tools, applications,  visualizations and new ways for readers to interact with reporting and  data. But most of these news applications and tools — like ProPublica’s  “Dollars for Docs”  or the LA Time’s “Mapping LA” projects — are confined to a single web site or page. They’re not able  to take on a life of their own, create new experiences for users beyond  the traditional web browser, or tap into the growing app market.

HTML5  presents an opportunity to create entirely new ways of interacting with  “news apps” that we haven’t even imagined yet, and to create whole new  experiences for users. What happens when we combine news and your phone and geolocation and  your social network? How do we get data, reporting and local knowledge  into the hands of users wherever they may be, on whatever device or  platform they happen to be using?

Design a mind-blowing news app using HTML5

This  challenge is an opportunity to design the next  killer app — think  Shazam or Yelp for news — across multiple devices and platforms,  creating whole new experiences for news consumers. Check out news applications like:
  • Any additional examples here? Please add.

Get a sense of what HTML5 and “open web apps” make possible:

  • Any additional examples here? Please add.

How would you tackle it?

  • What will the  news  applications of tomorrow look like?
  • How can news applications break free of web pages and become cross-platform, immersive experiences?
  • What  itch does the next killer news app need to scratch? How can thinking  beyond traditional web pages create new audiences and uses for news?

Submit your idea before June 3

Submit your idea for this challenge before June 3. Your entry can take many forms. You could submit:
  • a concept brief or blog post explaining your idea (500 words or less)
  • an embedded video or link to a slidecast (extra points for explaining your idea this way!)
  • an early software demo, proof of concept, prototype, or HTML mock-ups
  • sketches, wireframes or visual mock-ups
  • a draft open protocol or standard

More details about rules, judging and other logistics are taking shape in the MoJo Challenge Brief (draft only) and MoJo Reviewer Guide (draft only). Good luck!

5 thoughts on “Making MoJo design challenges sing

  1. Let’s change:
    Creating new connections between news producers and consumers

    To:
    Making the audience part of the story

  2. Change “Challenge Brief” to just “Rules.” People keep asking: where are the rules?

    Would be good to summarize the rules in three quick bullet points. With link to page for more.

  3. Phillip has summarized the rules in 4 bullets:

    Feel free to read the [long version]. Here’s the summary:

    * Anyone can enter, as long as you’re not employed by Knight or Mozilla, and are over 18 years old.
    * Be original. Borrow liberally, but don’t plagiarize.
    * All submissions are considered to be creative commons licensed.
    * By participating, you agree to [the rules] and to having your name used in the context of the challenge.

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