Second week at The Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab and SRCCON

Madeline Welsh and me at SRCCON — Portland, Oregon

This post is all about time and timing.

After my first week at The Mobile Innovation Lab I feel that I stepped into a time machine and suddenly the days started to be shorter and time started to pass faster. I guess this is what happens when you are happy and learning and immersing yourself completely in what you are doing.

Today I also had another feeling of time traveling. I am late to tell you anything about Pokémon Go, but I’m not late to tell you that Pokémon Go was launched officially in Latin America on August 3rd.

I was in the center of the mania when Pokémon Go launched in the USA on July 6, even though my Mexican iTunes account wouldn’t let me download it. The excitement was worldwide, but the world was also reporting on a phenomena that was actually not timed for them.- why? For Latin American newsrooms and technologists, the time to experience, analyze and report on this is now, and not one month ago. Even so, with no official basis than my own opinion, surely every newsroom in the world wrote something about Pokémon Go.

So questions:

When are information updates important for local newsrooms?

Are Latin American newsrooms reporting on this again?

What’s the difference from a month ago?

Pokémon Go gives us important insight into how to deliver content on small screens.

The Mobile Innovation Lab has five areas of focus:

  1. Live coverage
  2. Video
  3. Contextual delivery
  4. Content interaction
  5. Notifications

The Pokémon Go explosion and its millions of users suddenly became an important part of the discussion about contextual delivery. It showed us that audiences are willing to interact with the world and get content from their small screens. I would summarize this discussion with: How might we deliver news content derived from audience context such as calendar, GPS, accelerometer and many other mobile permissions?

Back in time to my second week here. It was very much about planning the Mobile Lab workshop for SRCCON. Again, timing popped up when I asked if the lab had swag for this very swaggy event. The answer was no, so as a designer and a intense fanatic of stickers I committed myself to create some stickers for the mobile lab and having them ready for SRCCON in Portland, Oregon, in one week.

Our swag

The workshop was about creepiness and mobile news. I helped design how to make the workshop interesting. Plussing with the team we created a workshop in which participants were given a confidential set of mobile permissions, mostly based on Android, and from there we encouraged them to generate features and news content based on this permissions. The outcomes were very interesting, fun, and of course, creepy. You can check the notes here.

Our workshop

Now SRCCON. I met the Open News team in Austin last April, I was part of a code convening about bots and journalism. There I learned about SRCCON and applied to a scholarship; I got the scholarship so thanks to Mozilla and the Open News team I was able to live one of the exciting, overwhelming, intense, fun and interesting experiences in my life.

I just realized this needs another post just for SRCCON.

Other thoughts for timing and time and The Guardian.

I was surprised when I attended an OKR global call meeting with The Guardian Global Staff. OKR is a concept that I am familiar with since we use them at my company Civica Digital in Mexico City. I was surprised to realize that we were sharing methodologies with international organisations like The Guardian, and this is possible thanks to the sharing information that the internet provides us. I felt I was at the same time in both NYC and MEX.

I’ve had interviews and conversations with amazing people at The Guardian US team. I met Madhvi Pankhania, platform development editor; Jessica Glenza investigative reporter with whom I had an resourceful talk about social impact and journalism. Ciara McCarthy, intern participating in The Counted, another civic engaged project developed by The Guardian US. Jennifer Kho,US managing editor who actually lived in Mexico and helped very much to get some ideas together.

And all this conversations just got me thinking on time again, my head is full of ideas and plans and people, and Mexico, and Latin America, and journalism engaged with civic tech. But most important, the state of journalism in Latin America and huge time gap it exists when we talk about innovation, digital, mobile, impact and the most important, security conditions and freedom.

The more questions I get responses to, the more questions I come up with.