THE FUTURE OF NEWS

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Project Type: Animation, Video, Design Competition, Design Pitch
Timeframe: 1 week (Fall 2011) for video, 2 days for design pitch development (Spring 2012)
Individual Project using Flash and AfterEffects (Video) and InDesign (Presentation)

01. Project Brief

If someone wanted to read about a particular news story today, they could pick up a newspaper. Or, they could check Facebook for reactions, look up tweets surrounding the news item, or read a blog post about it. There’s no doubt that the news is being consumed, and produced differently today. What might be some ways people can engage with the news in the future?

The video above was created as an entry for the Interaction 12 Student Design Challenge, presents two of my ideas for what I envision the future of the news to be. Further down you can learn more about how I developed my ideas more in a design pitch presented at the Interaction 12 conference in Dublin.

[Update 12/24/11:] This video was selected as one of four finalist entries for the Challenge!

[Update 2/2/12:] This pitch was selected as the winning entry at the Interaction12 conference. Thank you to all the judges that agreed to review our pitches! To read more about the experience, CMU School of Design has a brief article about it here.

 

02. Initial Research and Video Process

I visited a variety of sources while completing my research for this video, since I hadn’t really had an opportunity until now to meditate on the current and future state of the news. I found lots of information on different journalism topics, such as podcasts, articles and even a great TV series produced by the Newseum and PBS called “The Future of News” incidentally. As I researched, I tracked different ideas of what I thought the future of news could be with post-its.
 
In the end, I knew I wanted the final video to be a reflection of my vision for the news, not someone else’s, so I thought about how I engaged with the news and what I would do to make it more meaningful to me. I took the “audition” aspect of first phase of this Design Challenge a bit literally by drawing a sketch of myself standing there and explaining my ideas. The video was completed in a matter of hours, with the illustrations drawn in Flash and “animated” by timing image stills to the narration.

 

03. The Student Design Challenge

The three other finalists and I were given scholarships to fly to Dublin for the conference and compete for additional prizes. We were given critique questions and told to articulate further what we’d said in our videos. Because my video was on “actionable news” and “news and education”, I wanted to do some preliminary research before going to Dublin. I interviewed educators and news professionals, and sent out a survey to get a pulse on how people responded to the news.

The workshops lasted two days, and various speakers came and gave presentations. The aim was to work towards creating a 7-minute design pitch to give at the conference, which would be reviewed a panel of judges.


Photo credit: Jeremy Yuille
 

Photo credit: Ben Arent

 

04. The Design Pitch

I created the presentation overnight, with the aim of articulating further my idea for “actionable news”. My research had revealed that many people felt sad, angry and worried from reading the news, and interestingly, also helpless. I saw this as a design opportunity on how to empower people with the news. In the presentation, I presented a quick idea of an ‘actionable news platform’ which would cull the web for “actions” (such as signing a petition, joining a rally, donating to a clothing drive) and connect that with people at the point where they felt the most helpless—right after reading about a story. The presentation was generally well-received, and was selected as the winning pitch of the challenge. The experience was very rewarding overall as I was able to connect with different industry professionals, as well as gain experience in ideating and developing a pitch in a very short period of time.

 
Here’s a video of me giving the talk. (Keep in mind it’s a little rough because we only had time the night before to prepare!)

 
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