From podcasts to AI and journalism, some food for thought while you are stuck at home

A Hacks/Hackers London meetup at Google

I don’t know about you but I have really been missing the monthly meetups of Hacks/Hackers London. After our March event was cancelled, we managed to come back in a digital format: in April we held our first webinar with three great speakers and we are now working on a new lineup of speakers for a second virtual event in May. (If you are not familiar with Hacks/Hackers London, we are a community of journalists and technologists, who are interested in the future of news and meet monthly to discuss what happens at the intersection of journalism and tech.)

But…


“This is a complex technology and it is going to take years to discover its impact”

Last February Polis, the international journalism think-tank at the London School of Economics and Political Science, began a research project in collaboration with the Google News Initiative that aimed at investigating the intersection of journalism and artificial intelligence.

After seven months of work and collaboration with 71 news organisations currently using this technology, Journalism AI is about to publish their findings in a report that will be launched at Hacks/Hackers London on November 18.

Ahead of the event, we talk with the founding director of Polis, Charlie Beckett, to understand what AI really means for journalism.

Why this report? Why is it necessary to speak about AI now?

This report comes at…


And how it contributed to making Vogue India online readership grow by 129% in one year

Illustration by Freepik

Of all international publishers, few deserve the adjective ‘global’ as much as Condé Nast, especially the Vogue brand. Since 1892, when the first issue was published in the US, the fashion magazine has launched 26 editions all over the world, without taking into account sister publications such as Teen Vogue.

Vogue has a global web audience of 56 million people and aims to double its traffic from 2017 to 2020. But how can you develop a strategy to grow audiences in so many different markets at the same time?

Sarah Marshall, head of audience growth at Condé Nast and a…


Like ‘How many members do you need to be sustainable?’

Photo by Arun Thomas from Pexels

Last month at Hacks/Hackers London we were joined by Katie Vanneck-Smith, co-founder and publisher of Tortoise, who answered questions from our director Federica Cherubini and our community.

You can read a summary of the Q&A below or watch the full interview on our YouTube channel.

Tortoise is a slow news startup that doesn’t do breaking news but talks about what drives the news. What does it mean?

Tortoise does three things. We do slow news, so the forces driving the news rather than breaking news. We think there are great breaking news sources out there but the world probably doesn’t need another one. …


Lessons after a year of Engaged Journalism Accelerator at the European Journalism Centre

📷 by Engaged Journalism Accelerator

Platforms have reduced the meaning of engagement to a metric to value the impact of journalism, letting aside its relational and conversational aspect. But in a media industry that is too often used to relate to its audience unilaterally, producing content to be consumed, there is still room for journalism to focus on the conversational side of engagement.

“Engaged journalism is not a completely new idea but we are increasingly referring to it to identify the kinds of community-led journalism that empower communities,” Ben Whitelaw, Engagement Lead of the Engaged Journalism Accelerator, explained at last April’s Hacks/Hackers London event.

“At…


A very personal selection of panels I will (hopefully) attend

Illustration by Francesco Zaffarano

The Journalism Festival of Perugia can be as exciting as busy and it is absolutely impossible to attend all the panels you would like to go to (they overlap 🤷‍♂). For this reason, I created not one but two calendars to keep track of the panels I will or would like to join during the three days I will spend at the journalism festival in Perugia.

You can download my calendars by clicking on the links below:

  • #IJF19 (panels I am going to)
  • #IJF19 plus (additional panels to look at)

This is a very personal selection, mainly based on my…


The golden rules to nail journalism grants and fund your next project

Hazel Sheffield at Hacks/Hackers London

Hazel Sheffield was working as the business editor of the Independent when she got her first grant. “Since then, I have basically funded the last three years of my journalism through grants,” she said during the March meetup of Hacks/Hackers London, where she shared her experiences of funding journalism through grants and some tips for securing funding.

Sheffield is a freelance journalist and was recently profiled by the Financial Times for her Far Nearer project, a map of local economies in the UK. Far Nearer has been launched thanks to a £45,000 grant from the Friends Provident Foundation, an organisation…


Plus: the Cairncross Review on the (sustainable) future of UK journalism; how a Talent Lab taught Quartz the importance of wellbeing in the newsroom.

Illustration by Francesco Zaffarano based on a Pexels.com photography and Today in Focus’ logo

Daily podcast is a risky business. Podcasts are on the rise, for sure, but producing a product every day that can win readers’ attention is not easy at all. In the last few years, the internet has taught publishers that to be successful, it’s not enough to just have a big name behind you.

That’s why we asked Mythili Rao, Lead Producer of The Guardian’s Today in Focus, to share some thoughts on her work at…


Get ready to take notes! This is what media innovators at the Financial Times, CNN, The Guardian and Condé Nast International are doing to push journalism forward.

Illustration by Francesco Zaffarano based on a Freepik image

The media is changing quickly and media innovators have lots of work to do. Journalism is now facing challenges that are going to impact on its future for years, if not decades. Paywalls are on the rise but will they save journalism alone? Will they create a new divide between people who can afford to be informed and those who cannot? Can publishers expand their audiences while creating loyal communities of readers? Will…


Hacks/Hackers London community tested a method that promises to help us through the hassle of poor communication

“Are there any questions before we wrap up?” The last slide of the presentation flickers on the screen. Heads raise from behind a wall of laptops lined up around the table. Has anyone actually listened to the speaker? How many meetings have we already been through today? And this is only Monday, for God’s sake.

Every week we spend too much time like this. The meeting is the nightmare we have to live every day we go to work. And they are increasingly present in our daily work. …

Francesco Zaffarano

Journo, nerd • Social media editor at The Telegraph • Former social and engagement at The Economist, la Repubblica, La Stampa • www.francescozaffarano.com

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