‘NewsThings’ collaboration Wins Google Digital News Innovation funding

November 17, 2016
John Mills

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A collaborative project involving UCLan’s Media Innovation Studio, Trinity Mirror Regionals and innovation consultancy Thomas Buchanan has won Google support to explore how the news media sector could harness the Internet of Things (IoT).

IoT is an emergent sector, and some suggest the potential to be the next digital revolution, The NewsThings project seeks to understand how news and journalism could harness connected things to find new ways of connecting with people and conveying stories. The project sought support from the European-wide Google Digital News Initiative earlier this year, and was announced as being one of 124 funded projects today as part of the €24 million second round.

Using ‘co-design’ methods, and working closely with editors and journalists from across the Trinity Mirror Regionals network, the NewsThings research team will now create a range of prototypes that test, challenge and explore what connected media objects could be, and how people interact with them.

John Mills, Lecturer and researcher at the Media Innovation Studio, said: “The Internet of Things has huge potential to connect things to the web, and people to one-another. What does a world of connected and smart objects look like, and how can they tell stories that have real meaning and resonance for people? We’re interested in exploring how physical connected objects could offer a whole range of possibilities to news media publishers, and how they could feature in people’s everyday lives.”

Tom Metcalfe, principal at Thomas Buchanan, said: “This is an amazing opportunity to explore new, perhaps more compelling, ways of interacting and engaging with news and information through objects and our environment.”

“We have a brilliant partnership. Thomas Buchanan is privileged to be partnering again with UCLan’s Media Innovation Studio and for the first time with Trinity Mirror. Individually we have all been working on innovation projects within journalism and IoT for years, and our expertise across design, technology, journalism and research, makes this project such an exciting one.”

Alison Gow, digital innovation editor, Trinity Mirror Regionals, said: “It’s really exciting to be involved in something that ties so closely to our values of breaking news, and local information and audience engagement. It’s a unique opportunity to really understand how content delivery and interaction between the worlds of  media and tech and the audience can and will quickly evolve.”

The six-month project will begin in February, and those interested can follow progress on social media via #newsthings and on the Media Innovation Studio’s website – www.mediainnovationstudio.org.

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