On 12/13 September, German press agency dpa and Hamburg@work hosted scoopcamp 2013 in the Schmidt theatre on Hamburg’s Reeperbahn. Around 280 people attended the event which focused on topics such as the current status and future of journalism, and new forms of storytelling. A key aspect of presentations and discussions was the disruptions as well as opportunities brought about by digitisation.
Moderator Jochen Spangenberg welcomed the audience in a filled Schmidt theatre to start off a day that was packed with inspiring and enlightening talks, workshops and presentations. After an introduction to the day’s agenda and aims of the event by Meinolf Ellers (dpa) and Dr. Carsten Brosda, responsible for media policy in Hamburg, four keynote presentations followed.
The first one was by Charles Lewis, a former ABC and CBS NEWS 60 Minutes producer and investigative reporter for 30 years, who is currently Professor and Founding Executive Editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University. He spoke about the difficulties of investigative reporting these days and the fact that time and money spent on it has been in decline steadily over the past years. One way out of this dilemma, according to Lewis, is universities and non-profit organisations playing a more active role when it comes to uncovering stories that otherwise would have been untold. Another important aspect: collaboration on various levels, Lewis resumed.
Next came Nicholas White, founder and CEO of the news website „The Daily Dot“. His take: journalists do not own their products any more. A story is never finished – it lives and thrives as a result of user interaction. This happens on various platforms, which all need to be taken into consideration and catered for, according to White. Journalists as well as (old and established) media organisations need to take on board the changes brought about by digitisation. Otherwise, they will slowly fade out and certainly lose in significance, postulated White.
A rather different approach was taken by games consultant and news games developer Tomas Rawlings of Auroch Digital. His stance: if (news) journalists do not incorporate gaming aspects into their storytelling, others will do so. „Or aren’t the 200 million gamers that use the gaming platform Steam alone an interesting audience?“, Rawlings asked provocatively. One way of bringing news and games together is showcased on gamethenews.net, provided by Auroch Digital. Games provided by the company range from „Narco Guera“ (about the war on drugs) to the situation in Syria with „Endgame Syria„. Asked about the future of the industry, Rawlings stated that a gaming desk should be incorporated into every newsroom of the future.
The final presentation of the day came from Michael Maness of the Knight Foundation. Maness put forward a number of challenging propositions, among them the need to be disruptive, to promote and foster young and skilled technologists, and be brave when it comes to trying out new formula and approaches. The biggest problem of the news industry, according to Maness, is „the lack of transformational leadership that takes risks, that is not afraid of failures.“
In the afternoon, seven „hands on“ parallel workshops took place. They ranged from journalistic research in Social Networks to app development. (Details in the event programme.)
A novelty of the 2013 edition of the scoopcamp was a Hackathon. A day before the main event in Schmidt’s Theater, four teams met in various locations across the city to plan, discuss and develop ideas under the header „new storytelling“. They had 24 hours to come up with a convincing concept or prototype that would persuade the audience of its value and usefulness. Results were presented in the course of the conference in five-minute elevator pitches. Then, it was time for the audience to cast its vote. And the winner was… The DW Innovations Team & Friends. They were awarded the first ever „Scoop 2013„. Their project entitled „Know Your Data – Tell Your Story“ is the early prototype of an application that allows users to request data from the social networks they use, and then visualize this without sharing that data with other third-parties. Runners-up were audioguide.me with their project „Hyperlocal Audio Storytelling“, Thoughtworks with „Agile Journalism“ and the team of NDR Netzwelt with their idea „Reeperbahn Festival in Motion“ – all of them highly interesting projects well worth pursuing further.
After a final discussion round of Meinolf Ellers with Ulrike Langer in the St. Pauli bar Platzhirsch, it was time to chill, eat, drink and exchange thoughts and further ideas and let a successful and inspiring day come to its close.
Below, you find a selection of links about scoopcamp 2013:
Hamburger Abendblatt: „Scoopcamp“ tagt in Hamburg zur Zukunft des Journalismus (watch that paywall…)
A very well researched link list has been compiled by Tim Strehle. This is recommended as an entry point for further reading (mostly in German though).
Photos: Maria Feck / faktor3. Thanks for allowing the use of the photos here.
Videos and more photos available (soon) on the scoopcamp homepage.