TechRaking London: technology challenges the news

Why should journalists, tech-obsessed, and environmental concerned people gather together on the 25th of March at The Proud Archivist in London?
TechRaking 2015 is the reason of such a meeting.

“We are working on our future continuously”, said Joaquin Alvarado, CEO for The Center of Investigative Reporting. That is the logic why media people need continuously to be updated and to reflect upon their actions.

Photo Credit: Cristiana Ferrauti

Media & Climate Change

Inside The Proud Archivist
Photo Credit: Cristiana Ferrauti
At the centre of current debates are basically two main topics: interest to create in young people and the current digital era.

Climate change, in these terms, is a subject that doesn’t seem to fit very well for both the areas:

1)      “It gives you facts, but not really experiences,” said Jonathan Rowson, director of Social Brain Centre, during the first morning panel Communities + Communication + Climate.
We are not talking about a problem anymore, but we are facing a real situation now.
Therefore, journalists “have to move – Mr Rowson continues – from intellectual acceptance to an emotional acceptance very quickly.” The drama should now enter in such environment stories.

The dialogue with young people, indeed, has already started. However, Iris Andrews, Senior Strategist at Here Nowadds “but more needs to be done.”

2)      “Climate change is a slow-moving story – said Natalie Roper, Digital Engagement and Marketing manager at The Guardian, there isn’t a real movement every day.” Journalists are good, instead, at producing quick stories. Here comes the challenge: “Reinvent our storytelling, and think of new ways of engagement."
‘What actually means for me?’ should underlies in every single line of the articles about this topic – and we would say of every article produced, related to any topic.

Greg Pak during his afternoon presentation
Photo Credit: Cristiana Ferrauti
Robert Salladay, editorial director at Reveal and The Center for Investigative Reporting, also brought up another point. The debate now turns around individual participation: “What is your part in fixing climate change, personally?”
As life standards rose, and there is plenty of choice to spend leisure time, how to talk about climate change, about real catastrophic events, when these seem so far away from ordinary, middle class people?
However, as Greg Pak said, “Storytelling is a method to understand the world and to survive into the world.” By changing the way of narration, the journalists, with the support of tech developers and designers, can really make the difference. Mr Pak, for example, has chosen comics.


News Lab at Google, The Center for Investigative Reporting, and The Working Group worked together to plan 2015 series of conferencesTechRaking.
The aim is to bring together journalists and developers of the most cutting-edge technology to support a new way to communicate with the audience.
Work in progress during the Design Sprints
Photo Credit: Cristiana Ferrauti

The one-day events start in the morning with panel and debates. The afternoon, instead, ask to the participants to become active. Space open to ideas to become truth...or maybe just let them a proposal.

Divided into groups, the audience develop a solution to the challenge of the TechRaking.

Other themes will be the starting point for the next events in Berlin, Paris, as well as Canada and USA.

The Working Group is one of the partnership for TechRaking, as it provides 

Agenda, Panellists, and why to remember them


Welcome and Google News Lab

Joaquin Alvarado “It great time for openness”
Launch of #TechRaking
Steve Grove
The ides behind News Lab at Google is to “merge ideas into practicality”.
Why partnership with media organisations? Because a “better journalism is good for a better society.”
Daniel Sieberg
News Lab can really help journalists to “explore the next forms of journalism.”

[FIRST PANEL] Communities + Communication + Climate

Matt Cooke - moderator.
Jonathan Rowson. “The first problem with climate change is: forget the idea that the environment is a problem.”
Iris Andrews. “My very task is to find actions that are doable, meaningful, and that can really engage with people.”
David Dunkley Gyimah. “We lose this sense to how we go behind the problem. Here comes new and artistic way to deepen stories.”
Natalie Roper. “How can we humanize these issues?”

Google Tools and Resource for Journalists

Vanessa Schneider. “The only thing that seems to stand out is the tragic. Instead, there is so much positive out there.”

[SECOND PANEL] Covering the Change

Robert Salladay - moderator. “Nowadays, people want proof for everything.”
Matt Shearer. “BBC issue is always ‘How can we explain things well?’”
Helena Bengtsson. “Always bear in mind that everything over data is a place, an event, a person. There is where you find stories.”
Nathan Halverson. “The most important story that we can tell is a story that empowers people.”


GregPak“Storytelling should be emotional: that’s what makes things great, that’s why we care.”
Rob Kenedi. “Do not think about HOW you are going to do something: think like everything is going to be possible.”
Holly Knowlman. “Empathise, define, and ideate”.

Design Sprints

The challenge is to create and propose a product/service to engage the audience and make it think-understand-take action in climate change, in the most surprising, original, and innovative way.

Elements do consider:
Ø  Collaboration
Ø  Scalability
Ø  public engagement
Ø  innovation
Ø  impact

James TurnerRachel OldroydJennifer LaFleur; Hermione Taylor; Greg Pak; Rob Kenedy

App/web tools need to be intellectual, but they should also have an emotional aspect. In order to interact with the audience and to engage the audience, the project should not only be merely useful, but also attractive.

Tools explored: