Taiwan News wins second place at Business Next Editors Lab hackathon

Taiwan News outshines nine teams to place second at Business Next Editors Lab hackathon

All participants that attended Business Next Editor's Lab 2017 event. (Photo courtesy of Global Editors Network)

All participants that attended Business Next Editor's Lab 2017 event. (Photo courtesy of Global Editors Network)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—Taiwan News clinched second place among nine international media teams that competed at the Business Next Editors Lab hackathon that took place at the media company Business Next's headquarters in Taipei from May 12-13, 2017.

The Editors Lab is an international hackathon event organized by Paris-based Global Editors Network (GEN), an international media alliance formed by 26 media professionals. The Editors Lab event is sponsored by Google News Lab, to encourage leading newsrooms around the world to come up with new forms of storytelling.

GEN partnered with Chinese-language technology media Business Next to host the Taipei event.

Although, the results among the top three teams were neck-to-neck, Taiwan News emerged as the top performing Taiwan-based media outlet beating UDN and The News Lens.

International media that participated at the event, included the large Chinese media company South China Post, Cambodian newspaper The Phenom Penh Post, and online media HK01 (香港01).

"The results among the top three teams were really close," said Evangeline de Bourgoing, Director of Programs of GEN, during the announcement of the winner at the event last Saturday.

The agenda at the first GEN Editor's Lab hackathon event in Taipei was centered on incorporating AR, VR or livestreaming to form new storytelling methods.

The Taiwan News team headed by reporter Judy Lin took a multidisciplinary approach to tackle common issues encountered in VR journalism, by teaming up with private kitchen sharing platform DearChef founder Jeremy Lin (林育全) and VR engineer Chenwei Hsieh (謝承緯).

By using visual focus tracking technology in VR devices such as HTC Vive, the team addressed the problem of how VR journalists can ensure viewers are noticing important visual cues and informative text placed throughout the video timeline.

Video footage from RYOT news video The People's March Part One, Turn Your World Around, while eye focus tracking application was developed by Chenwei Hsieh.

In 360 degree videos, viewers can often miss out on important information because their visual focus is directed elsewhere in the image frame, or they are distracted by something else happening in the background.

To fix this problem, Taiwan News team proposed a visual focus tracking App, temporarily named "Focals", to help journalists track whether viewers are noticing visual markers they placed throughout the video, and use the data gathered from viewers patterns to formulate better storytelling and photoshooting methods.

The winner of the event HK01.com was awarded a free flight ticket to Vienna, Austria next month where they will pitch their design concept of using 360 degree photos of locations that allow travelers to share their memories of the particular location to potential investors, while UDN placed third with their online video marker and note taking sharing concept.

Jury of panelists at the hackathon event included Evangeline de Bourgoing, the program developer for GEN, Irene Jay Liu, leader of Asia Pacific region of Google News Lab, Mike Chi (吉慶), manager of HTC Vive X Accelerator, and other Taiwanese representatives.