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Northwestern San Francisco

Students team up to create innovative products that combine technology and journalism

The class provides students the unique opportunity to prototype and invent new ways of practicing journalism through technology,” said Wise. “It’s strength lies in brining together a journalists’ understanding of narrative and news judgment with a computer scientists’ ability to tap into existing systems to design something new.”

Zach Wise
Medill Associate Professor

Twelve teams of students from Medill and the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science recently collaborated to create innovative products that combine technology and journalism and presented their prototypes.

The teams in the Fall 2016 Collaboration in Journalism and Technology class unveiled their projects and showed how they can be used to aid journalists, publishers and media consumers in better reading and evaluating information.

The class was jointly taught by Medill Associate Professor Zach Wise and McCormick Professor Larry Birnbaum. Now in its seventh year, the class allows students in different Northwestern schools to share their expertise with one another to produce great ideas.

“The class provides students the unique opportunity to prototype and invent new ways of practicing journalism through technology,” said Wise. “It’s strength lies in brining together a journalists’ understanding of narrative and news judgment with a computer scientists’ ability to tap into existing systems to design something new.”  

The projects the students created:

  • Composite allows users to see the faces of individuals around a specified location via publically available photos.
  • Election Buzz analyzes candidate Twitter profiles to reveal interesting information on both the candidate and their followers on key political issues.
  • Local Tweetcast predicts how a geographic location will vote based on the content of their tweets.
  • Picquote helps users easily create original images by combining pictures from an article with quotes from an article to share on social media.
  • Wikibookiey easy-to-make books based on Wikipedia source material.
  • Auto-Timeline automatically generates news or event timelines based on a social media hashtag 
  • API Go helps make API documentation more easily readable by humans.
  • Tell Me Something a chatbot that delivers news based on how the user is feeling.
  • Emojify is an app that translates text into emojis.
  • Wikitimeline automatically generates timelines that visualize events on Wikipedia topics.
  • Political Pundits analyzes articles then serves the reader outside expert opinions based on the topic of an article.
  • Fetch is a privacy web application that shows all the publicly shared information on an individual.

For more detail on each of these prototypes, check out Projects.KnightLab.com.

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