Organisation: STV (United Kingdom)

Publication Date: 07/17/2014


iRef is a radically different way of consuming news about the Scottish referendum and an application that answers a problem for both journalists and users. Problem Voters complain they have “too little information”about the Scottish independence referendum. But with 47,000 #indyref tweets in the past week is it really a case of too much information? Audience We wanted to reach a younger, mobile audience, including the 16-year-olds who can vote who are often mistrustful of msm, and also tap into the new blogs/activist journalists who are driving the wider debate. Aims We wanted #iRef to make the news a much more collaborative project between user and journalist. So the CMS and user interface for both the user and journalist works in the same way. Stream Our stream comes from three sources: 1) Storyline material around the Scottish referendum. 2) Curated material from social media and from our journalists. 3) Submitted material from users (which journalist can choose to publish). For development We have used the storyline api but we would want to extend that in the future to more sources for us to add. Features: * Pin to the top - this allows you to see an easy at-a-glance digest of the ‘most important' This is mechanism same for the journalist and the user. So you see the selected material from the editors and your own selection. * Suggest your content: Here you can add your own material as a journalist or as a user send it to the stream (where a journalist can choose to publish). Content Touching on this takes you to an endpoint with the article in full. Or if it’s a third party site and we don’t have copyright then an extract with the option to click through to view full version on mobile web. You can comment or favourite this material. What’s your point of view? * The mechanism we’ve come up with is that you can declare if an allegiance are a yes/no. * We can then use a filter to show you "things that more no voters like" or "things yes voters like" * This is more elegant that a simple “is this article favouring yes/no” because, in our experience, activists try to game this kind of mechanism. With the “show me who likes”, there’s no point in gaming it. * The filter allows those people who are undecided to see what might convince them one way or the other. It also allows those who are activists who want to read something that they know like-minded people enjoy. Finally, it gives an “impartial” journalist an important sense-check if they are being even-handed. In depth We allow two options: * Focus - this a journalist-created guide - like a wikipedia page for a subject in-depth. * Related - this is a user journey created through the tags and associations in the storyline. Scale A lot of nice tools get designed for newsrooms and not built and this is because there is no potential to scale or monetise. We think we could launch a basic version inside a week and could refine it to add more features. It only requires a single journalist to run, although the more journalists you put in, the higher quality the curation and the focus material and the better the product. #iRef scales to your budget and resource. The idea is not just applicable to Scottish independence but is applicable to any project. So you could imagine a World Cup version favouriting your team. iRef is the framework where you can see what you like and like what you see.
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