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Innovative Journalism: Enhanced Creativity Tools

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INJECT (Innovative Journalism: Enhanced Creativity Tools)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-06-30

Journalism seeks to structure information for its consumption by readers and continues to be of vital importance in ensuring that the citizens of democracies have the information needed to hold governments and the powerful to account. It involves selecting, prioritising, presenting, projecting, sharing and editing raw information to make it appealing and useful to readers. However, the increasing digitalization of production and distribution, associated with the emergence of new patterns of reader behaviour and fragmentation of audiences, mean that news businesses are becoming uncompetitive. News and media organisations have been squeezed by declining circulations, rising costs and loss of advertising revenue to non-editorial search engines and social media such as Google and Facebook (Anderson 2014), resulting in cost-cutting measures and shrinking newsrooms, particularly in chain newspapers. The result is a crisis in journalism, one that requires both old and new newsrooms to operate more competitively. INJECT sought to increase this competitiveness through the diffusion of new digital services and tools to increase the creativity and the productivity of journalists, goals that if achieved could also contribute to increased good journalism in Europe.

INJECT sought to achieve the following three strategic objectives:
Objective 1: Extend and aggregate the new digital services and tools to increase the productivity and creativity of journalists in different news environments. INJECT sought to extend and aggregate research-based digital services and tools to increase the productivity and creativity of journalists in a range of diverse European news SMEs. Measurable outcomes included the production of at least four discrete and standalone INJECT digital services with high market potential.
Objective 2: Integrate and evaluate new digital services and environments in CMS environments. INJECT sought to integrate the aggregated digital services in different representative CMS environments already in use in the partner news organisations and technical integration work in services as add-on components to commercial CMSs and as third-party software services with established APIs. INJECT also evaluated, formatively then summatively, the digital services and tools integrated in each CMS environment of each partner news organisation. Measurable outcomes included the production of at least three new INJECT digital services and tools, each also with high market potential.
Objective 3: Diffuse the digital services and support offerings in news and journalism markets. INJECT sought to diffuse its new digital services, related training and consulting offerings, and new business opportunities through a new partner business of consortium members, and establish growth and support of multiple ecosystems of ICT providers and news SMEs in different segments of Europe’s news and journalism markets. Measurable outcomes included the establishment of the new INJECT business spin-off, one core ecosystem of ICT innovative technologies providers and news and journalism SMEs, and a second new ecosystems of ICT innovative technologies providers and news and journalism SMEs in target market sectors.
The work performed on the project produced the following outcomes that satisfied the project’s three strategic objectives: A core INJECT service that extend and aggregated existing digital services and tools to increase the creativity of journalists in different news environments. The service has digital capabilities that include: (a) creative search algorithms to retrieve news and related information based on the strategies that experienced journalists use to discover new angles on news stories; (b) news entity extraction algorithms, which automatically extract news content and topics to discover new angles on news stories; (c) creative recommendation algorithms that generate possible new angles on retrieved news stories, to guide journalists to discover these angles; (d) information visualization features such as word clouds, to support journalists to discover new angles on news stories; (e) automated story referencing to support journalist productivity, and (f): multi-language support for journalists working in 6 European languages: English, German, Dutch, French, Norwegian and Italian; The INJECT service is designed to operate in different CMS environments used by journalists. It is implemented as a plug-in sidebar for the GoogleDocs, Wordpress, Adobe InCopy text editors and content management systems that use the TinyMCE text editor. It can be used with the Google Chrome search web browser. To maximize access it is also available as a separate web application for any web browser that a journalist can reshape as the sidebar; A summative evaluation of INJECT use in Norway as a case study of the tool’s use revealed that INJECT increased the creativity of news stories written by journalists who used the tool, but not the productivity during use of the tool. Moreover, the evaluation revealed that INJECT provided more effective support to journalists who were writing feature stories rather than hard news stories, and support journalists not only to discover new angles on stories but also to introduce new content and material for these feature stories; INJECT training services, in the form of creativity techniques that were adapted to journalist work and tasks, a format of collaborative creativity workshop to introduce journalists to these techniques and INJECT, and a MOOC as a digital training course available to journalists to learn about INJECT’s product and services; Three business ecosystems to support sales and use of INJECT product and services composed of core technology partners who develop and support the INJECT product, local digital organisations who sell and support INJECT in their local markets, and customer news organisations who use the INJECT product and services.
The INJECT project progressed the technical state-of-the-art, which in turn has the potential to deliver different professional, economic and societal implications. The project delivered the first digital creativity support product tailored to journalism. It offers journalists and news organisations new digital capabilities that are not available through other products and services. As such, the INJECT product meets an emerging journalism need by exploiting new algorithms and news information sets for new purposes. Increased journalist creativity arising from future INJECT use is anticipated to produce more news stories that are engaging and interesting to readers, with implications for increasing readerships, associated advertising revenues and income to news organisations that employ these journalists. More widely, INJECT has the potential to contribute to the support and maintenance of both journalism and news organisations in the face of existential threats in both democratic and undemocratic societies. This support and maintenance is core to the liberal and democratic values of the European Union. In particular, INJECT harnesses artificial intelligence to support and up-skill, rather than replace professional journalists, and offers a future digital journalism model based on cooperation rather than automation.
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