Midterm presentation – The value of news

February 16, we had our first diploma midterm presentation – showing the design teachers and students at AHO where we are in our process and getting feedback. I work with Heidi Hoen

It’s a good way of summing up what we have done so far, so i thought it would be nice to show it to you.

Our working title is «The value of news» and we work within the field of interaction design.

Mosse Sjaastad is our main supervisor, and we have an external supervisor from Schibsted Media Group, Jon Olav Eikenes, and also an external supervisor from VG, Ingrid Reime. Even though our external supervisors are from Schibsted and VG, we don’t have to make something that fit’s for VG or any other Schibsted newspaper.

 

What is our diploma about?
The media houses are facing a major crisis and needs to change.

We want to see if changing the way news are presented to the reader could add value for the news as a product.

 

The context of our diploma 160216_Diploma_Midterm1_TheValueOfNews_HeidiHoen_MarteFVidvei11

Media houses are facing a major crisis. From 2004 to 2014 the share of Norwegians that read printed newspapers dropped from 75 to 49 percent, and the digital newspaper increased from 19 to 54 percent.

The printed newspapers are loosing readers and the digital news paper are not compensating for the lost incomes.

The media houses are cutting down on staff, less staff means a more stressful work situation for the journalist. To compensate for the lost income, there is a bigger production of stories to be able to sell more ads. 

160216_Diploma_Midterm1_TheValueOfNews_HeidiHoen_MarteFVidvei13Through our research about digital solutions, we found that:

  1. More communication platforms (like social media) creates a need for the news do more than just retell information.
  2. The ongoing news today consists of more and more bits of information on several media platforms. This leads to a fragmented news situation, and it’s more difficult for the reader to stay updated.
  3. The focus on click-baits and the desire to be first with breaking news leads to copy paste journalism, inaccurate source criticism, fragmented knowledge and perspective.

160216_Diploma_Midterm1_TheValueOfNews_HeidiHoen_MarteFVidvei14

The reader is our main focus. We want the reader to be able to follow a story from start to end, get an overview of the situation and see a new value in news.

To do this, we need to include the journalist – so we make a solution that could be realistic.

 

The problem
“I feel like my constant problem with the daily news media is that either you’re always entering the story in the middle or often at the end. And they don’t do a very good job of talking about the beginning and what got us to this point where it became news.” said Alex Bloomberg, the producer of the radio show This American Life.

News organizations have so far been bad at contextualizing information. They publish articles on a 24-hour news cycle and expect readers to figure out how to connect the dots on their own. 

A study from the Chicago Community Trust in Illinois USA, shows:

  • Almost half of adults said they feel overwhelmed by the amount of information available to them.
  • 41 percent said they have a hard time telling what news is important.
  • 40 percent said they don’t have time to keep up with the news.
  • 25 %  said they find the news difficult to understand.

 

Current brief 160216_Diploma_Midterm1_TheValueOfNews_HeidiHoen_MarteFVidvei23

This is our current brief: How might the reader of digital news get an overview, understand and contextualize the news?

 

 

The road ahead

160216_Diploma_Midterm1_TheValueOfNews_HeidiHoen_MarteFVidvei31We have not included the reader until this point, because we wanted to get to know the area we are working within.

It’s easier to ask the reader for spesific feedback and to get insight from them, when we have a clearer direction.

We want to use interviews, tests and workshops to see how the reader consume, understand and want to read news.

160216_Diploma_Midterm1_TheValueOfNews_HeidiHoen_MarteFVidvei33We want to look at multiple stories, and look at a way of presenting them with our brief in mind.

We want to follow the stories from they appear in the news and follow the development, so we experience the breaking news the same way as journalists do.

We started by looking at the Zika virus case, written on VG and Aftenposten. We started following the story from the first article was published. It gave us an understanding of how a case develops, the journalist does not know what will happen, how the content will change or how much the case would be covered – so we would have to make a flexible system.

 

Process

160216_Diploma_Midterm1_TheValueOfNews_HeidiHoen_MarteFVidvei36We now want to focus on ideation. We want to involve the readers, and have a dialogue about their needs and motivation. We want to look at news stories from the journalists perspective, and try to make a understandable system for it.

After that, we want to develop concepts withinin multiple areas, like we showed in state of the art, and test the concepts on the reader. Our insights on what works will be taken further to our final concept.

Then we will work on the final concept, testing it on readers and journalists.

 

Final delivery
160216_Diploma_Midterm1_TheValueOfNews_HeidiHoen_MarteFVidvei38We want to make a clickable prototype for digital devices.

The reader is our main focus. We want the reader to be able to follow a story from start to end, get an overview, understanding and be able to see the story in context.

To do this, we need to include the journalist – so we make a solution that could be realistic.

We want to make a prototype that makes the reader see a new value in news.

 

Feedback and road ahead
We got feedback mainly that we need to start talking to the readers. We spent last week holding workshops, doing reader and expert interviews. We would love to talk to as many people as possible – if you are interested in a quick chat with us, it would be great if you would contact us. My mail is: marte.froyse.vidvei@stud.aho.no.

We also have a survey, so if you have some minutes to kill and can read Norwegian, we would appreciate if you would take u: http://goo.gl/forms/bZ4pBO99ca

 

Heidi and I have a diploma blog, it’s mainly a tool for us – but I think it could be of interest if you are looking for some inspiration: http://heidimartediploma.com