Hacking for data journalism tools and data-driven storytelling in Jakarta

The latest stop for this season of our Editors Lab programme took us to Jakarta, Indonesia for a hackathon aimed at developing data journalism tools, taking a thorough look at improved data-driven storytelling.

The participants of the Jakarta Editors Lab

On 6–8 April 2017, The Global Editors Network and The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), with the support of Google News Lab, gathered some of the best Indonesian media innovators in Jakarta to develop innovative data journalism prototypes.

Special thanks to The British Council Indonesia for their partnership in this hackathon.

The Jakarta Editors Lab is part of GEN’s series of journalism hackathons which also includes events in Seoul, Taipei, Manila and Sydney.

First came knowledge

The three-day event started off with a full day of presentations by experts, giving out tips and presenting tools for the participants to use during the hackathon to develop their prototypes. They also highlighted some great data-driven journalism projects and initiatives to inspire the teams.

How to win an Editors Lab

First up was Wahyu Dhyatmika, Executive Editor of Tempo Magazine, whose team won the Editors Lab Final in 2016 at the GEN Summit in Vienna with their prototype Green Saviour: Stop the Haze. He very astutely shared his tips and tricks explained to the participating teams how to win an Editors Lab. He summed up a winning strategy with the following keywords: Teamwork, benchmark, be creative, be engaging, count on luck and, stay healthy while competing.

Open source tools for interactive reporting

Khairil Yusof from Sinar Project followed suit, focusing on great initiatives using open source technology and clever applications to build impactful interactive reporting.

Google Tools for data-driven reporting

Next, Irene Jay Liu from the Google News Lab joined over video call, to present how the different tools of the Google News Lab can help journalists, and how they can be used. She focused her presentation on data-driven journalism tools, presenting advanced uses for Google Search and Google Trends.

Open data in Indonesia

Robertus Theodore from Satu Data Indonesia took the floor to conclude the day, to talk about open data in Indonesia.

Open data can be applied freely, be used and redistributed by anyone without requirements

Let the hacking begin

Armed with new knowledge after our experts’ presentations, the thirteen teams from CNN Indonesia, Independen.id, The Jakarta Post, Kabar Makassar, KataData, Kompas, Liputan 6, Purwokertokita, Solopos, Suara.com, Tempo, Universitas Multimedia Nusantara, Viva.co.id got to work, refining their concepts and crafting their prototypes.

After two days of intense brainstorming and prototyping, teams had to pitch their final idea and prototype in front of jury members Jason Tedjasukmana from Google Indonesia, Stanley Adi Prasetyo from the Indonesian Press Council and GEN’s Sarah Toporoff.

List of prototypes presented:

  1. CNN Indonesia — ‘CigEnd’, an interactive and educational newsgame to raise awareness on how hazardous smoking is for your health.
  2. Independen.id — TrafficAccident Area, a tool compiling car accidents reports from the press, so the general public can be better informed and practice extra caution while driving.
  3. The Jakarta Post –‘Inclusive policies and development make everything possible for people with disabilities’, an interactive platform to show how to encourage inclusive development to make people with disabilities independent.
  4. Kabar Makassar Tangkasaki Flash, a interactive project for public service promoting recycling and environment-friendly practices.
  5. KataDataBagiData a newsroom tool to help journalists find topics and develop questions for their sources while reporting on data related issues.
  6. Kompas — ‘Go Home’, an app aimed at millenials providing useful information on the housing market in Jakarta and how much prospective buyers should start saving.
  7. Liputan 6 — Jakarta Rubbish Terror, an newsgame highlighting the garbage issue in Jakarta.
  8. Purwokertokita – ‘Kawal PLTP Baturraden’, an infographic to inform people around Mt.Slamet about the development of Geothermal and the effect to the surrounding nature and population.
  9. Solopos — Melawan Kekerasan Anak, an educational tool tackling the issue of sexual violence against children.
  10. Suara.com — More(with)Visual, a video infographic showing ratios of sexual violence against women in 34 provinces in Indonesia.
  11. Tempo — Pantau Polusi, a website seeking to increase awareness on the danger of PM 2.5, one of the most dangerous pollutants that can have serious effects on human health.
  12. Universitas Multimedia Nusantara — Indonesia Maju, a platform to raise awareness on education-related issues, especially school infrastructure and teacher availability in Indonesia.
  13. Viva.co.id — ‘Indonesia Unsolved Crime’, an interactive infographic revealing the hundred of thousands of regional cases unresolved by the police in 1 year alone.

And the winner was…

The team from Independen.id with their prototype Traffic Accidents Area. Independen.id is a news aggregator website brought on thanks to the collaborated effort of 15 media outlets from various provinces of Indonesia.

Their data journalism prototype compiles online news stories about individual road accidents and visualises them on a map to raise public awareness on road safety and allow journalists to do more comprehensive reporting over time.

Independen.id team members Y. Hesthi Murthi, Iyan Kusherdiansyah and Muhammadi Irham said of their win:

“We are super surprised and delighted to win first place! Wahyu Dhyatmika gave five tips on how to win the competition on first day of event — and based on that, what we really wanted to focus on was ‘Benchmark’ — we want to have a strong theme, to create something others have not thought of. But then in such a short time limit we didn’t have the time to research on what sort of things similar to ours exist in other countries. Also, we spent hours contemplating whether we should try create a game — since we notice past winners seem to succeed by creating a game. In the end, we decided to simply focus on making something that we feel can truly be useful for the public. News about accidents are always taken in a grave, serious tone — what we want is to make them more informative, so that they can have more value. We are certainly glad that this is considered a good idea.”

The jury awarded special mentions to runner-ups from Universitas Multimedia Nusantara for their prototype Indonesia Maju and to Kompas for Go Home.

Jury member Jason Tedjasukmana said of his experience at the Jakarta Editors Lab:

“This is my first opportunity as jury in a hackathon such as Jakarta Editors Lab, and I am admittedly very happy, very impressed with the ideas and moreover the presentations. What impresses me the most is how the teams, given such a short amount of time, still succeed in compiling the relevant data to support their idea, then process and use those data independently and convincingly. Well done and congratulations to all participants. It was a tough one trying to pick out the winners this time.”

Jury member Stanley Adi Prasetyo added :

“What we want to see in the results: where lies the editorial quality, the design, the development, and the implementation; these are shown clearly in a lot of the ideas presented. The winners I notice though, are the ones who really stress on their result being able to work in two ways — to give benefit for both users and developer. Also, it needs to have the factor of growth or being upgrade-friendly.”

The winning team from Independen.id will join other winning teams from the countries taking part in the fifth Editors Lab season and compete for the title at the Editors Lab Final in Vienna during the seventh annual GEN Summit, 21–23 June 2017.

Read more about the Jakarta Editors Lab — All the pictures.