The Kehrwieder Theatre in Hamburg’s Speicherstadt was filled to capacity on Wednesday (September 25, 2019) for the 2019 scoopcamp attended by some 250 journalists, decision-makers and innovators in the media industry. Keynotes and workshops focused on visual storytelling, new business models and the current crisis of confidence in journalism. Hamburg News reports on the most important lessons from this year’s Scoopcamp.
More multimedia needed
Demands for clearer news emerged as journalism of the future is visual, interdisciplinary and individual. During the opening, Dr. Carsten Brosda, Senator for Culture and Media, and Nina Klaß, Director of nextMedia.Hamburg, said values such as ”truthfulness and trust” are now more important than ever. Shazna Nessa, Head of Visuals at Wall Street Journal, was presented with this this year’s Scoop Award for her digital competence and entrepreneurial spirit.
Nessa called for more work with 3D visualizations, virtual reality and illustrations which simplify complex issues and guide users through large amounts of data. Last year, the U.S. daily Today won the “Pulitzer Prize” in the “Explanatory Reporting” category ‘ for its interdisciplinary reporting consisting of texts, podcasts and a virtual reality tour on the planned border wall to Mexico. Alan Rusbridger, Pulitzer Prize Winner, and former editor of the British daily “The Guardian”, was among this year’s keynote speakers.
Visual storytelling trends for 2020
During his keynote on visual journalism, Jeremy Caplan from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York, presented five trends on visual storytelling, which will determine 2020.
- Post-VR: “Holographic displays are the next big thing.” A first project by the Vimeo video platform and the Looking Glass Factory in New York is already underway. The potential for 360-degree videos in journalism is huge and gives users an immersive experience.
- U-Tube: “YouTube was yesterday.” Users do want to simply consume, they want to participate. Eko, a provider of interactive videos, is pioneering this trend with individualised cooking recipes. The user can choose the ingredients and the number of people for whom he/she wishes to cook.
- Long live the mobile phone: It’s all about software and machine learning. Leave the SLR camera in the cupboard. In terms of technology, today’s mobile phones are just as good.
- Visual Docs: Journalists are people who act. A multitude of programmes e.g. Airtable, Notion, Milanote can be used to organize and visualize mountains of texts and data in an instant and without a designer.
- Synthetic Media: Digitally created or modified media used to be preserve of specialists but can now be created on the internet in seconds. Faked voices of Trump and others are entertaining, but pose a serious problem for the credibility of media. Follow hypes at your peril, Caplan warned. Journalism needs more than just technological trends to evolve. Creative processes and organisational structures are likely to change journalism in the long term.
Paywalls – no solution
During his keynote, Rusbridger highlighted the crisis of confidence in journalism. At a time when Facebook reaches a good 2 billion users and U.S. President Donald Trump reaches over 65 million people on Twitter, even large newspapers such as The Times with 1 million subscribers can no longer prevail. People must be able to trust facts because there is “no justice without facts”. The coverage of Brexit in Britain is an example, Rusbridger pointed out, as too many reports tell readers what to think rather than informing them. News should become a public good to which access is not obstructed by paywalls, Rusbridger demanded.
Mobile wallets, rivalling Hollywood
The participants of nextMedia.Hamburg’s latest incubator Media Lift presented their business models for content and technology on stage. The final pitch will be held on October 23, 2019.
- Wallie: Harald and Carsten Dau as well as Marcus Müller have developed a mobile wallet featuring coupons etc. Labels get a customizable push & pull channel without apps, paper or plastic.
- Space Walk: Founded by Eike Langbehn and Dennis Briddigkeit, Space Walk focuses on “redirected walking” to enable natural movement in virtual realities without spatial boundaries and motion sickness.
- Wunderparc: Martin Jann, founder of Wunderparc, has high hopes of “making Hamburg the Hollywood of artificial intelligence.” Around 60 per cent of the Avatar movies (2009) consist of Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) and cost over USD 230 million. The start-up has designed a platform that uses AI to automatically convert 2D images into 3D scenes. This saves employees, time and money, Jann promised.
- NewsSeam: Founded by Alexander Both, Sebastian Vogt and Daniel Nikola, the business model is based on AI and targets publishers. Automatically generated timelines can be integrated into websites without losing context and giving older content refreshed relevance.
- Bottalk: Andrey Esaulov and Kirill Kholodilin have also developed a solution allowing publishers to place individual content and digital products on language assistants like Alexa, for instance.