Systematic Innovation in Computational Journalism

This work takes as its premise that there may be opportunities for computational innovation in journalism that are overlooked or underexplored. What are some of the technologies that can be used to help fulfill news consumers’ needs, to advance the goals of journalism, or to enhance the production and dissemination of knowledge for the public? The paper below presents a method for systematically exploring and generating such innovation opportunities.

Part of the paper also develops a structured brainstorming activity called “Aha!” to help students and news industry professionals in thinking more about ways to combine ideas from technology, information science, user needs, and journalistic goals into useful new news products and services. We produced a printed deck of cards with different concepts that people could re-combine, and you can still get these cards from CUNY.

The Aha! Brainstorming activity was also made into an app, which is now available on the Apple App Store. The app has the advantages that you can augment the re-combinable concepts, you can audio record your brainstorming sessions, take and store photos of any notes you scribble down about your ideas, and share the whole thing via email with your colleagues.

N. Diakopoulos. Cultivating the Landscape of Innovation in Computational Journalism. Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism. April 2012. [PDF]