June 15, 2015

Guardian US plans to create an open innovation lab focused on mobile technology with $2.6 million from The Knight Foundation, the two organizations announced Monday morning.

The lab represents an attempt to help publishers navigate the mobile-centric future of news as traffic from those devices continues to climb. From the announcement:

With mobile audiences now accounting for over 50 percent of the Guardian’s daily traffic, the lab will aim to create new and more engaging ways for people to consume news on their mobile devices. Additionally, the lab will explore the challenges faced by journalists in the mobile age and experiment with new ways of bringing stories to life on smaller screens. It will also look at ways of engaging readers in storytelling in real time and at advancing citizen participation in breaking news.

The initiative will be carried out by a multidisciplinary team that includes staffers with expertise in reporting, design and Web development that will be embedded within Guardian US, according to the announcement. The team will share its data and research with other news outlets in addition to new tools or story forms it creates.

The announcement comes during a time of transition for Guardian US, the New York-based outpost of Guardian News and Media. Katharine Viner — who was formerly head of Guardian US — recently began her tenure as editor in chief of Guardian News and Media, replacing longtime editor Alan Rusbridger. Lee Glendinning, who was formerly deputy editor of Guardian US, was selected to succeed Viner in New York.

In recent weeks, at least two other news organizations have announced open-source projects for the benefit of news publishers. BuzzFeed’s San Francisco bureau in late May debuted “BuzzFeed’s Open Lab For Journalism, Technology and The Arts,” a skunkworks devoted to developing new tools in technologies for journalism. The same day, First Look Media unveiled First Look Code, an project dedicated to sharing tools for “privacy, security, data, and journalism.”

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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