What to prepare for Build The News this weekend


If you’re reading this, we’re really excited that you’ll probably be attending Build The News. If you’re not attending Build The News, then you’re either not a student, or you’ve had your head in the sand for the last month. Follow @BuildTheNews on Twitter to be notified in the future of our next event.

But given that I assume you’re coming, I thought I’d put together a short post on what we’ll be expecting.

The event starts Saturday at 9:30am for a 10am start. Our office is at 1 London Bridge Street, across from The Shard, and the event is on the 17th floor with great views across the city. Click here for a CityMapper link that will take you right to the office.

This, a timelapse of our office, could be an asset you use for a feature piece on London architecture (c) Matt Taylor

Telling stories

On the day we’ll be departing from the last few Build The News events where your teams have typically been putting together newsroom tools or hacky concepts on improving news content. Instead we’ll be making an exciting venture into telling stories.

In order to do this every team will need to come to the event with a story in mind. We also would expect that your story be developed, at least a bit, and you have all the resources that you could need for the day ahead.

For example, my story could be an interview with the university chancellor about the future of student housing. I would of course need to perform the entire interview beforehand (unless s/he’s coming to Build The News!), take pictures, record video and audio, anything I would need to then flesh it out later.

If my piece were a feature on retro arcades and their decline (or new beginning) then this could be one of the photos I brought along (c) Matt Taylor

Or I could be doing a story on the doctor’s strikes and how it affects my university’s medical school. So again I would have talked to a bunch of people in advance with relevance to the story, taken names, profiles, headshots; recorded video of the picket lines, taken audio of speeches, captured interviews that have been done on TV.

You’ll need to have all this stuff ahead of time because getting it over the course of the weekend might be too difficult. Katie Gibbons previously wrote on how to find a good story, and Megan Lucero wrote about how you can leverage data for your ideas, so check both of those posts out if you’re stuck for ideas, or contact us!

What to do on the weekend

Once you’ve got your story assets together, over the course of the weekend you will work on refining and defining it. Times digital journalists will be on hand to offer ideas and assistance on the best way of telling your story using digital tools. This could include doing something innovative with a third party platform like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Snapchat. Or it could be an interesting way to interweave video and text, or audio and images together, to create a compelling piece. Again, everything is heavily leaning on the assets you have collected beforehand, so don’t waste this week of opportunity.

This could be an asset for a piece on the rise of video gaming as a sport, complete with professional players in team jerseys (c) Matt Taylor

You’ll have two days from 10am to 6pm on Saturday and 10am to 3pm on Sunday to build your story out, write it up, edit your video and photos, and write any code and design any pages you need to in order to give your story life. We want to give you an opportunity at the end of the weekend to be able to hit publish on what you’ve created and make an impact with the dedication you’ve put in.

Please let us know how you’re feeling if you’re not confident with where you’ll be at by Friday. We might be able to help point you in the right direction.

Really looking forward to meeting you all!


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