A Media Innovation Hackathon From Al Jazeera

Deadline: 18 October 2014
Open to: international innovators
Venue: Doha, Qatar from 29 November to 1 December 2014


Canvas is a platform for experimentation, and it is being kicked off with an inaugural hackathon. The organizers are creating a space to explore and invent solutions to challenges that advance humanity while also pushing forward media and open source technologies. At the hackathon, you can collaborate with some of the most innovative minds in media and journalism to imagine the future of news and information. What will you create with a blank canvas? They are taking applications for designers, developers, media experts, and people with a passion for social innovation to join them for the inaugural Canvas hackathon.

Canvas is your opportunity to be a pioneer, and meet others with the same drive and spirit. Join a growing community that values innovation and knows the greatest rewards often require taking the biggest risks. Help and challenge the status quo and give a voice to the voiceless. This year, the inaugural Canvas hackathon is all about “Media in Context”. Some of the topics that are going to be disscused are:

  • What’s in the papers today, Hal?-Use voice recognition and/or natural language processing tools and APIs to build a “Smart agent” that allows users to consume and discover news through natural conversation;
  • The Numerical Analysis of News – Using the Al Jazeera news API, analyze Al Jazeera’s news from a big data perspective. Where is Al Jazeera not giving voice to the voiceless? Where is it doing so very well? What groups, topics, areas, or events should Al Jazeera focus on to ensure a balanced/holistic perspective in its news coverage?;
  • Visualizing Geography for Journalists and Readers – Using stories from the Al Jazeera archives which all rely heavily on geographic context, how do you present this in a meaningful way to the reader for easy consumption? Using a mapping API, create a system that produces a geospatial visualization of historical conflicts. How would you present this information to journalists? How would you present it to readers?;
  • Historical and Cultural Context for News Producers – How do we enable journalists to easily pull in the historical or cultural context into a story? Create a system that can intelligently produce an historical context report based on simple wizard-style prompts to media producers. Or, use Natural Language Processing  to suggest culturally-relevant data, or to recommend additional topics to research while a journalist is writing/editing a story.


The hackathon strives to include a diverse and enthusiastic group of software developers, hardware hackers, journalists, new media experts, designers, business entrepreneurs, and other smart experimenters at the inaugural Canvas Hackathon. They are looking for participants with a range of experience levels, ages, countries of origin, gender, and other aspects among the applicants.


The chosen participants will have their travel and accommodation costs covered. The organization will also give US$50,000 in prizes to the best innovators.


You can apply via the online application platform provided here. There you only need to provide the required information about yourself and upload your CV and submit you application.

You can find additional information on the official website or you can write an email at mediaincontext@secondmuse.com.

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