On April 27 and 28 April, the Global Editors Network, in partnership with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and IJNet Arabic, and with the support of the Google News Initiative, gathered some of the best media innovators from Lebanon at Flat6Labs in Beirut to develop innovative journalism prototypes on new ways to hold powers accountable for their actions and promises.
The team from Al Jadeed TV won with their prototype Politithon.Politithon is an application meant to track and highlight the positive actions of political representatives in Lebanon. Five political representatives are picked to compete in a race through the app, in which the progression of their achievements in areas that matter most to the Lebanese population, are presented through the compelling app.
Danny Khoury, graphic designer for the winning team from Al Jadeed TV said of his experience:'I’m not a journalist. In Lebanon, I’m totally bored of news and journalism, because it’s mostly very negative. You mainly hear of corruptions, and fights between the politicians. So our idea was basically to focus on the positive more than the negative. Politithon is about highlighting the things that the politicians want to do, that would make them appear better to the population. Maybe with this approach, we could change the whole mentality of the country, and we also might create a successful initiative.'
The hackathon opened with speakers Joyce Baz, from Google, Madonna Khafaja from the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), and Evangeline de Bourgoing from the Global Editors Network, as they shared tips and insights, highlighted tools, practices, and outstanding examples of fact-checking initiatives, and journalistic projects meant to uphold a greater transparence from political powers. The teams – made of journalists, designers, and developers – spent the next two days brainstorming how to access accurate information, developing simple tools for voters to follow-up on the actions of politicians, and boost citizens engagement with politics.The jury composed of Ali Ghamloush from MBC Group, Henrik Grunnet from International Media Support (IMS), Fawzi Rahal from Flat6Labs Beirut, and Evangeline de Bourgoing from the Global Editors Network debated on the most promising prototypes at length, before awarding Al Jadeed TV for Politithon.
Jury member Fawzi Rahal said of the winning team:'I think one of the two things that we looked at when we tried to make that decision was about the team itself, and also the implementation factor within that idea. The winning team reached a level of excellence on both of these points.'Jury member Evangeline de Bourgoing added:'They came up with a very visual and entertaining way to talk about what is a serious, and sometimes very dull topic, like political accountability. I particularly like that they chose to focus on the positive, effectively pushing MPs to do their best, instead of putting an emphasis on their failures.'The team from Al Jadeed TV will get to compete in the Editors Lab Final at the GEN Summit 2018 in Lisbon, 30 May-1 June 2018, facing off with the winning teams from the sixth season of the programme.
Editors Lab is a worldwide series of hackathons hosted by the world’s leading newsrooms. The GEN Summit 2018 is set to take place in the heart of Lisbon, in the historical Pátio da Galé, along the theme 'Towards the augmented newsroom'. The three day conference will explore the role of artificial intelligence in today’s editorial ecosystem, and hold discussions on how digital publishers can adopt AI to maximise the output, and impact, of their newsrooms. Click here for more.