Hacking journalism at the MIT Media Lab

By Jon Bulava


Developers, designers and journalists recently came together for Hacking Journalism, a hackathon hosted by the MIT Media Lab. We were excited to see that numerous teams turned to the Twitter APIs as their source for real-time information and credible sources.

There were a lot of great projects delivered in the course of just 24 hours. One project in particular caught our eye, and was our pick for the winner of our Twitter Prize: News Bingo, created by @abtran, @putneydm and @mclaughlin.

News Bingo is designed to encourage user-submitted photos for news organizations through gamification. Using the Boston mass transit system as an example, here’s how it works: You tweet to @MBTABingo to get a bingo card containing a series of hashtags. Fill in a square by replying with one of the hashtags and attaching a photo related to that term (for example, reply with #graffiti and a photo of one). For your submission, you’ll get a relevant news story back. Since News Bingo is a competition to fill the card first, there’s a leaderboard that shows you the contributors you’re competing against as you work your way to the top.

The creators of News Bingo have open-sourced their code and it’s available here on GitHub. Check it out to see just how easy it is to build on the Twitter platform.

Thanks to @whichlight and @MattAtMIT for hosting this hackathon and giving us the opportunity to have an in-depth discussion of the Twitter platform with the crowd. We look forward to attending next year and seeing lots more innovative projects then.